So you want to build a professional looking UI with Visual Studio 2005… NET 2.0 has made a big move forward in enabling developers to create a rich and customizable user interfaces. Many controls have been improved or completely rewritten, but some remained with the same look and feel. In this article, I’ll try to follow a common scenario and build a very very simple UI, featuring a SplitContainer, a TreeView, TextBox and a RichTextBox.
We’ll begin with new Windows Application and add two SplitContainers to the Form. The left-side panel with contain a TreeView, while the right-side panel will host another SplitContainer, hosting a multiline TextBox in the top, and a RichTextBox in a bottom panel.
The first layout would look like this:
Shown in a Document Outline Window:
We can see that RichTextBox has that old 3D border, while the other two controls paint accordingly to selected XP color scheme. Also, all controls are pushing into form’s border; we’d like to add some space on the inside, so our controls could breath and stand out more.
First, let’s get rid of that 3D Border (BorderStyle = None). Then, add some padding around the controls:
splitContainer1.Panel1.Padding = new System.Windows.Forms.Padding(4, 4, 0, 4);
splitContainer1.Panel2.Padding = new System.Windows.Forms.Padding(0, 4, 4, 4);
The form now looks like this:
Better… To add a border around RichTextBox, we’ll add additional, one-pixel padding to the panel that hosts RichTextBox:
splitContainer2.Panel2.Padding = new System.Windows.Forms.Padding(1);
Finally, let’s do some custom border painting:
private void splitContainer2_Panel2_Paint(object sender, PaintEventArgs e)
Rectangle rectangle = richTextBox1.DisplayRectangle;
using (Pen pen = new Pen(System.Windows.Forms.
And if grey just isn’t your color, do this:
splitContainer1.BackColor = ProfessionalColors.ToolStripContentPanelGradientEnd;
That's it. Simple, isn't it?
Default Blue Color Scheme:
Silver Color Scheme:
Olive Green Color Scheme: