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User Interface Essentials

Visual Studio provides standard tool windows to help you write applications and keep you informed of the state of the integrated development environment (IDE). These include the Toolbox, Task List, and Output window. You can change the content of all of them, and alter the appearance of most of them, programmatically. For more information, see Tool Window Essentials.

Here are some of the standard tool windows:

  • Toolbox contains .NET Framework objects, derived from Component, or ActiveX controls, derived from IDataObject, that provide functionality to designers through the IDE's drag-and-drop mechanism. For example, dragging a button onto a form can cause your application to write code into a source file. You can add new objects and ActiveX controls to the Toolbox, and support its drag-and-drop operations. For more information, see Toolbox (Visual Studio SDK).

  • Output window displays status messages for various features in the IDE. You can create Output window panes and write messages to them under program control. For more information, see Output Window (Visual Studio SDK).

  • Task List window helps you create and manage a list of programming tasks. You can create custom views and manage task entries programmatically. For more information, see Creating Custom Task List Views.

  • Properties window tracks selected objects and displays and manages their public properties. You can create categories, specify display names, and add descriptions by using attributes (C#) or the system registry (C++). For more information, see Support for the Property Browser.

In addition, the status bar is a user interface element that tracks the current state of the IDE. The status bar is not a tool window, and cannot be repositioned in the IDE.

  • Status bar appears at the bottom edge of the Visual Studio 2008 IDE and provides a convenient way to convey information about the current state of the IDE, including feedback text and a progress bar. It can be programmed through the SVsStatusbar service. For more information, see Status Bar.