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Control.Invoke Method (Delegate)

Executes the specified delegate on the thread that owns the control's underlying window handle.

Namespace:  System.Windows.Forms
Assembly:  System.Windows.Forms (in System.Windows.Forms.dll)

Public Function Invoke ( _
	method As Delegate _
) As Object


Type: System.Delegate
A delegate that contains a method to be called in the control's thread context.

Return Value

Type: System.Object
The return value from the delegate being invoked, or Nothing if the delegate has no return value.

Delegates are similar to function pointers in C or C++ languages. Delegates encapsulate a reference to a method inside a delegate object. The delegate object can then be passed to code that calls the referenced method, and the method to be invoked can be unknown at compile time. Unlike function pointers in C or C++, delegates are object-oriented, type-safe, and more secure.

The Invoke method searches up the control's parent chain until it finds a control or form that has a window handle if the current control's underlying window handle does not exist yet. If no appropriate handle can be found, the Invoke method will throw an exception. Exceptions that are raised during the call will be propagated back to the caller.


In addition to the InvokeRequired property, there are four methods on a control that are thread safe: Invoke, BeginInvoke, EndInvoke, and CreateGraphics if the handle for the control has already been created. Calling CreateGraphics before the control's handle has been created on a background thread can cause illegal cross thread calls. For all other method calls, you should use one of the invoke methods to marshal the call to the control's thread.

The delegate can be an instance of EventHandler, in which case the sender parameter will contain this control, and the event parameter will contain EventArgs.Empty. The delegate can also be an instance of MethodInvoker, or any other delegate that takes a void parameter list. A call to an EventHandler or MethodInvoker delegate will be faster than a call to another type of delegate.


An exception might be thrown if the thread that should process the message is no longer active.

The following code example shows controls that contain a delegate. The delegate encapsulates a method that adds items to the list box, and this method is executed on the thread that owns the underlying handle of the form. When the user clicks on the button, Invoke runs the delegate.

' The following example demonstrates the 'Invoke(Delegate)' method of 'Control class.
' A 'ListBox' and a 'Button' control are added to a form, containing a delegate
' which encapsulates a method that adds items to the listbox.This function is executed
' on the thread that owns the underlying handle of the form. When user clicks on button
' the above delegate is executed using 'Invoke' method.

Imports System
Imports System.Drawing
Imports System.Windows.Forms
Imports System.Threading

Public Class MyFormControl
   Inherits Form

   Delegate Sub AddListItem()
   Public myDelegate As AddListItem
   Private myButton As Button
   Private myThread As Thread
   Private myListBox As ListBox

   Public Sub New()
      myButton = New Button()
      myListBox = New ListBox()
      myButton.Location = New Point(72, 160)
      myButton.Size = New Size(152, 32)
      myButton.TabIndex = 1
      myButton.Text = "Add items in list box"
      AddHandler myButton.Click, AddressOf Button_Click
      myListBox.Location = New Point(48, 32)
      myListBox.Name = "myListBox"
      myListBox.Size = New Size(200, 95)
      myListBox.TabIndex = 2
      ClientSize = New Size(292, 273)
      Controls.AddRange(New Control() {myListBox, myButton})
      Text = " 'Control_Invoke' example"
      myDelegate = New AddListItem(AddressOf AddListItemMethod)
   End Sub 'New

   Shared Sub Main()
      Dim myForm As New MyFormControl()
   End Sub 'Main

   Public Sub AddListItemMethod()
      Dim myItem As String
      Dim i As Integer
      For i = 1 To 5
         myItem = "MyListItem" + i.ToString()
      Next i
   End Sub 'AddListItemMethod

   Private Sub Button_Click(sender As Object, e As EventArgs)
      myThread = New Thread(New ThreadStart(AddressOf ThreadFunction))
   End Sub 'Button_Click

   Private Sub ThreadFunction()
      Dim myThreadClassObject As New MyThreadClass(Me)
   End Sub 'ThreadFunction
End Class 'MyFormControl

' The following code assumes a 'ListBox' and a 'Button' control are added to a form, 
' containing a delegate which encapsulates a method that adds items to the listbox.
Public Class MyThreadClass
   Private myFormControl1 As MyFormControl

   Public Sub New(myForm As MyFormControl)
      myFormControl1 = myForm
   End Sub 'New

   Public Sub Run()
      ' Execute the specified delegate on the thread that owns
      ' 'myFormControl1' control's underlying window handle.
   End Sub 'Run

End Class 'MyThreadClass

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.