Adding Menus to Windows Forms in C#

 

In this section, we'll show how to add menus to your forms. You'll add File, Edit, and View menus, with items on each menu, and even sub menus. Here's what you will create:

The menus you will create

So start a new project by clicking File > New Project from the menu at the top of Visual C#. Create a new Windows Application project. Call it anything you like. When your new form appears, you can add a menu bar quite easily.

Have a look at the Toolbox on the left of Visual C#. As well as the Common Control tools, there is a section for Menus and Toolbars. Click the plus symbol next to this to see the following:

The menustrip in the C# toolbox

The one you want is MenuStrip, which is highlighted in the image above. Double click MenuStrip and you'll see a menu bar appear at the top of your form:

A MenuStrip at the top of the form

But notice what has appeared at the bottom of your Visual C# window:

The MenuStrip Object

This is the MenuStrip object itself. The default Name for the MenuStrip is menuStrip1. If your MenuStrip is not selected, you can click on this icon at the bottom. When you do, you'll see all the Properties for the MenuStrip appear in the Properties Window on the right hand side of Visual C#.

Adding items to your menus is quite simple. Click inside of the area at the top, where it says "Type Here". Now type the word File.

Type File

Hit the Enter key on your keyboard and your menu will look like this:

A File item has been added

What you have done is to create the main menu item. To add items to your File menu, click inside of the second "Type Here" area pictured above. Now type the word New. Hit the Enter key on your keyboard to add the menu item:

A New item added to the menu

Click back on the word New after you have hit the enter key. This will select just this menu item, and no other. Once you create a menu item it has its own Properties that you can change. With the New item selected, have a look at the Properties Window on the right hand side of Visual C#:

Properties for the New menu item

The Property we're interested in is the Name. It's a bit too long at the moment. So change it to mnuNew, as in the image below:

Change the Name property 

If you scroll down, you'll also see a Text property. It will say New, at the moment. It says New because that's what you typed in the menu bar when you created this item. You could change this here, if you wanted to. But leave the Text property on New.

Click back on your menu at the top of your form, and then into the "Type here" area just below New. Type the word Open:

An Open item on the menu

Hit the Enter key on your keyboard to create the Open menu item. Change its Name property, just like you did for the New item. Change the name to mnuOpen.

Create a Save menu item, underneath Open. Change its Name property to mnuSave. Your File menu will then look like ours below:

Add a Save item to your menu

We'll now create just two more menu items, a dividing line, and a Quit item. To create a dividing line, click inside of the "Type Here" area below Save. Now type a hyphen (just to the right of the zero key on UK keyboard). When you press the Enter key, C# will turn the hyphen into a dividing line. It should look like this:

A Dividing Line

Add the Quit item below your dividing line. Change the Name property to mnuQuit. Your File menu is now complete. To see what it looks like, run your programme. You should have a blue toolbar running across the top with a File menu. Click your File menu:

The complete File menu

Of course, none of the menus work, because you haven't written any code for them yet. We'll do that soon.

 

In the next part, you'll learn how to add sub menus.