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DataGridView in Windows Forms – Tips, Tricks and Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

DataGridView control is a Windows Forms control that gives you the ability to customize and edit tabular data. It gives you number of properties, methods and events to customize its appearance and behavior. In this article, we will discuss some frequently asked questions and their solutions. These questions have been collected from a variety of sources including some newsgroups, MSDN site and a few, answered by me at the MSDN forums.

Tip 1 – Populating a DataGridView


In this short snippet, we will populate a DataGridView using the LoadData() method. This method uses the SqlDataAdapter to populate a DataSet. The table ‘Orders’ in the DataSet is then bound to the BindingSource component which gives us the flexibility to choose/modify the data location.


public partial class Form1 : Form


        private SqlDataAdapter da;

        private SqlConnection conn;

        BindingSource bsource = new BindingSource();

        DataSet ds = null;

        string sql;


        public Form1()





        private void btnLoad_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)





        private void LoadData()


string connectionString = "Data Source=localhost;Initial Catalog=Northwind;" + "Integrated Security=SSPI;";

            conn = new SqlConnection(connectionString);

sql = "SELECT OrderID, CustomerID, EmployeeID, OrderDate, Freight," + "ShipName, ShipCountry FROM Orders";


            da = new SqlDataAdapter(sql, conn);


            ds = new DataSet();

            SqlCommandBuilder commandBuilder = new SqlCommandBuilder(da);          

            da.Fill(ds, "Orders");

            bsource.DataSource = ds.Tables["Orders"];

            dgv.DataSource = bsource;          




Public Partial Class Form1

      Inherits Form

            Private da As SqlDataAdapter

            Private conn As SqlConnection

            Private bsource As BindingSource = New BindingSource()

            Private ds As DataSet = Nothing

            Private sql As String


            Public Sub New()


            End Sub


Private Sub btnLoad_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)


            End Sub


            Private Sub LoadData()

Dim connectionString As String = "Data Source=localhost;Initial Catalog=Northwind;" & "Integrated Security=SSPI;"

                  conn = New SqlConnection(connectionString)

sql = "SELECT OrderID, CustomerID, EmployeeID, OrderDate, Freight," & "ShipName, ShipCountry FROM Orders"


                  da = New SqlDataAdapter(sql, conn)


                  ds = New DataSet()

Dim commandBuilder As SqlCommandBuilder = New SqlCommandBuilder(da)

                  da.Fill(ds, "Orders")

                  bsource.DataSource = ds.Tables("Orders")

                  dgv.DataSource = bsource

            End Sub

End Class


Tip 2 – Update the data in the DataGridView and save changes in the database


After editing the data in the cells, if you would like to update the changes permanently in the database, use the following code:


        private void btnUpdate_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


            DataTable dt = ds.Tables["Orders"];





Private Sub btnUpdate_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                  Dim dt As DataTable = ds.Tables("Orders")



      End Sub

Tip 3 – Display a confirmation box before deleting a row in the DataGridView


Handle the UserDeletingRow event to display a confirmation box to the user. If the user confirms the deletion, delete the row. If the user clicks cancel, set e.cancel = true which cancels the row deletion.


private void dgv_UserDeletingRow(object sender, DataGridViewRowCancelEventArgs e)


            if (!e.Row.IsNewRow)


                DialogResult res = MessageBox.Show("Are you sure you want to delete this row?", "Delete confirmation",

                         MessageBoxButtons.YesNo, MessageBoxIcon.Question);

                if (res == DialogResult.No)

                    e.Cancel = true;




Private Sub dgv_UserDeletingRow(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As DataGridViewRowCancelEventArgs)

                  If (Not e.Row.IsNewRow) Then

                        Dim res As DialogResult = MessageBox.Show("Are you sure you want to delete this row?", "Delete confirmation", MessageBoxButtons.YesNo, MessageBoxIcon.Question)

                        If res = DialogResult.No Then

                              e.Cancel = True

                        End If

                  End If

End Sub

Tip 4 – How to autoresize column width in the DataGridView


The snippet shown below, first auto-resizes the columns to fit its content. Then the AutoSizeColumnsMode is set to the ‘DataGridViewAutoSizeColumnsMode.AllCells’ enumeration value which automatically adjust the widths of the columns when the data changes.


private void btnResize_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)



            dgv.AutoSizeColumnsMode = DataGridViewAutoSizeColumnsMode.AllCells;




Private Sub btnResize_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)


                  dgv.AutoSizeColumnsMode = DataGridViewAutoSizeColumnsMode.AllCells


End Sub


Tip 5 - Select and Highlight an entire row in DataGridView



int rowToBeSelected = 3; // third row

if (dgv.Rows.Count >= rowToBeSelected)


       // Since index is zero based, you have to subtract 1

        dgv.Rows[rowToBeSelected - 1].Selected = true;



Dim rowToBeSelected As Integer = 3 ' third row

If dgv.Rows.Count >= rowToBeSelected Then

         ' Since index is zero based, you have to subtract 1

            dgv.Rows(rowToBeSelected - 1).Selected = True

End If

Tip 6 - How to scroll programmatically to a row in the DataGridView


The DataGridView has a property called FirstDisplayedScrollingRowIndex that can be used in order to scroll to a row programmatically.


int jumpToRow = 20;

if (dgv.Rows.Count >= jumpToRow && jumpToRow >= 1)


        dgv.FirstDisplayedScrollingRowIndex = jumpToRow;

        dgv.Rows[jumpToRow].Selected = true;




Dim jumpToRow As Integer = 20

If dgv.Rows.Count >= jumpToRow AndAlso jumpToRow >= 1 Then

            dgv.FirstDisplayedScrollingRowIndex = jumpToRow

            dgv.Rows(jumpToRow).Selected = True

End If


Tip 7 - Calculate a column total in the DataGridView and display in a textbox


A common requirement is to calculate the total of a currency field and display it in a textbox. In the snippet below, we will be calculating the total of the ‘Freight’ field. We will then display the data in a textbox by formatting the result (observe the ToString("c")) while displaying the data, which displays the culture-specific currency.


private void btnTotal_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


            if(dgv.Rows.Count > 0)

             txtTotal.Text = Total().ToString("c");



        private double Total()


            double tot = 0;

            int i = 0;

            for (i = 0; i < dgv.Rows.Count; i++)


                tot = tot + Convert.ToDouble(dgv.Rows[i].Cells["Freight"].Value);


            return tot;



Private Sub btnTotal_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                  If dgv.Rows.Count > 0 Then

                   txtTotal.Text = Total().ToString("c")

                  End If

End Sub


Private Function Total() As Double

                  Dim tot As Double = 0

                  Dim i As Integer = 0

                  For i = 0 To dgv.Rows.Count - 1

                        tot = tot + Convert.ToDouble(dgv.Rows(i).Cells("Freight").Value)

                  Next i

                  Return tot

End Function

Tip 8 - Change the Header Names in the DataGridView


If the columns being retrieved from the database do not have meaningful names, we always have the option of changing the header names as shown in this snippet:


private void btnChange_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


            dgv.Columns[0].HeaderText = "MyHeader1";

            dgv.Columns[1].HeaderText = "MyHeader2";




Private Sub btnChange_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                  dgv.Columns(0).HeaderText = "MyHeader1"

                  dgv.Columns(1).HeaderText = "MyHeader2"

End Sub


Tip 9 - Change the Color of Cells, Rows and Border in the DataGridView



private void btnCellRow_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


            // Change ForeColor of each Cell

            this.dgv.DefaultCellStyle.ForeColor = Color.Coral;

            // Change back color of each row

            this.dgv.RowsDefaultCellStyle.BackColor = Color.AliceBlue;

            // Change GridLine Color

            this.dgv.GridColor = Color.Blue;

            // Change Grid Border Style

            this.dgv.BorderStyle = BorderStyle.Fixed3D;



Private Sub btnCellRow_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                  ' Change ForeColor of each Cell

                  Me.dgv.DefaultCellStyle.ForeColor = Color.Coral

                  ' Change back color of each row

                  Me.dgv.RowsDefaultCellStyle.BackColor = Color.AliceBlue

                  ' Change GridLine Color

                  Me.dgv.GridColor = Color.Blue

                  ' Change Grid Border Style

                  Me.dgv.BorderStyle = BorderStyle.Fixed3D

End Sub

Tip 10 - Hide a Column in the DataGridView


If you would like to hide a column based on a certain condition, here’s a snippet for that.


private void btnHide_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


            this.dgv.Columns["EmployeeID"].Visible = false;



Private Sub btnHide_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                  Me.dgv.Columns("EmployeeID").Visible = False

End Sub


Tip 11 - Handle SelectedIndexChanged of a ComboBox in the DataGridView


To handle the SelectedIndexChanged event of a DataGridViewComboBox, you need to use the DataGridView.EditingControlShowing event as shown below. You can then retrieve the selected index or the selected text of the combobox.


private void dataGridView1_EditingControlShowing(object sender, DataGridViewEditingControlShowingEventArgs e)


            ComboBox editingComboBox = (ComboBox)e.Control;

            if(editingComboBox != null)

                editingComboBox.SelectedIndexChanged += new System.EventHandler(this.editingComboBox_SelectedIndexChanged);


private void editingComboBox_SelectedIndexChanged(object sender, System.EventArgs e)


            ComboBox comboBox1 = (ComboBox)sender;

            // Display index


            // Display value




Private Sub dataGridView1_EditingControlShowing(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As DataGridViewEditingControlShowingEventArgs)

                  Dim editingComboBox As ComboBox = CType(e.Control, ComboBox)

                  If Not editingComboBox Is Nothing Then

                        AddHandler editingComboBox.SelectedIndexChanged, AddressOf editingComboBox_SelectedIndexChanged

                  End If

End Sub


Private Sub editingComboBox_SelectedIndexChanged(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs)

                  Dim comboBox1 As ComboBox = CType(sender, ComboBox)

                  ' Display index


                  ' Display value


End Sub

Tip 12 - Change Color of Alternate Rows in the DataGridView



private void btnAlternate_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


            this.dgv.RowsDefaultCellStyle.BackColor = Color.White;

            this.dgv.AlternatingRowsDefaultCellStyle.BackColor = Color.Aquamarine;



Private Sub btnAlternate_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                  Me.dgv.RowsDefaultCellStyle.BackColor = Color.White

                  Me.dgv.AlternatingRowsDefaultCellStyle.BackColor = Color.Aquamarine

End Sub


Tip 13 - Formatting Data in the DataGridView


The DataGridView exposes properties that enable you to format data such as displaying a currency column in the culture specific currency or displaying nulls in a desired format and so on.


private void btnFormat_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


            // display currency in culture-specific currency for

            this.dgv.Columns["Freight"].DefaultCellStyle.Format = "c";

            // display nulls as 'NA'

            this.dgv.DefaultCellStyle.NullValue = "NA";



Private Sub btnFormat_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                  ' display currency in culture-specific currency for

                  Me.dgv.Columns("Freight").DefaultCellStyle.Format = "c"

                  ' display nulls as 'NA'

                  Me.dgv.DefaultCellStyle.NullValue = "NA"

End Sub


Tip 14 – Change the order of columns in the DataGridView


In order to change the order of columns, just set the DisplayIndex property of the DataGridView to the desired value. Remember that the index is zero based.


private void btnReorder_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


             dgv.Columns["CustomerID"].DisplayIndex = 5;

             dgv.Columns["OrderID"].DisplayIndex = 3;

             dgv.Columns["EmployeeID"].DisplayIndex = 1;

             dgv.Columns["OrderDate"].DisplayIndex = 2;

             dgv.Columns["Freight"].DisplayIndex = 6;

             dgv.Columns["ShipCountry"].DisplayIndex = 0;

             dgv.Columns["ShipName"].DisplayIndex = 4;



Private Sub btnReorder_Click(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)

                   dgv.Columns("CustomerID").DisplayIndex = 5

                   dgv.Columns("OrderID").DisplayIndex = 3

                   dgv.Columns("EmployeeID").DisplayIndex = 1

                   dgv.Columns("OrderDate").DisplayIndex = 2

                   dgv.Columns("Freight").DisplayIndex = 6

                   dgv.Columns("ShipCountry").DisplayIndex = 0

                   dgv.Columns("ShipName").DisplayIndex = 4

End Sub