Putting a User Control in a Tool Window


This walkthrough demonstrates how to add a user control to a tool window.

A user control is a collection of Windows controls bound together in one control. To add a user control to a tool window, all you really have to do is have the user control appear in the Toolbox. The user control that is used in this walkthrough is the clock control developed in Walkthrough: Authoring a Composite Control with Visual C#.


To follow this walkthrough, you must install the Visual Studio SDK. For more information, see Visual Studio SDK.

  1. Follow the steps in Walkthrough: Authoring a Composite Control with Visual C# to create the clock control. Do not create the alarm clock control.


The following steps assume that you have named the clock control ctlClock.

  1. Create a VSIX project named MyToolWindowPackageUC that has a tool window named MyToolWindow. If you need help doing this, see Creating an Extension with a Tool Window.

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the solution MyToolWindowPackageUC, point to Add, and then click Existing Project.

  2. In the Add Existing Project dialog box, open the ctlClockLib project and select the ctlClock.lib.csproj project file. Click OK. This enables the user control that you can use in the designer.

  3. In Solution Explorer, right-click MyToolWindowControl.cs and select View Designer. This opens the forms designer that shows the generated control for the tool window.

  4. Open the Toolbox, find the section labeled ctlClockLib Components and double-click the ctlClock control in that section to add the control to the form. As soon as you hide the Toolbox, you should see a time display in your tool window form.

  5. In the designer, select the clock control that was just added and change the Anchor property to just be Top.

  6. In Solution Explorer, right-click the ctlClockLib project node and then click Properties.

  7. On the Signing tab, select Sign the assembly. In the Choose a strong name key file box, click <browse> and navigate to the key.snk file in the MyToolWindowPackageUC project folder.

  8. Compile the program and make sure there are no errors. This step registers the VSPackage and its tool window with Visual Studio.

  9. Press F5 to open an instance of Visual Studio in the experimental hive.

  10. In the experimental Visual Studio, on the View menu, point to Other Windows and then click MyToolWindow. This displays your tool window, which has a running time display.