* VB-CODE (1)
Tip 63: Preventing List Box from Redrawing (Refreshing)
Created: April 24, 1995
In a Visual Basic® application you can update the contents of a List
Box control by using the AddItem or RemoveItem methods. However, if
you do not want the contents of the modified List Box to be updated
until all items have been added or deleted, you can use the Windows®
application programming interface (API) SendMessage function to set a
flag (WM_SETREDRAW) telling Windows not to update the control until
you specifically ask it to do so. This article explains how you can
prevent a List Box control from being updated immediately.
Using the WM_SETREDRAW Message
In a Visual Basic® application, you can use a List Box control to hold
items such as names of people. When a user clicks on an item in a List
Box control, that item is highlighted and is said to be selected. If a
List Box's MultiSelect property is set to True, multiple items can be
selected at one time. New items can be added to a List Box control by
using the AddItem method, and items can be deleted using the
RemoveItem method. However, as soon as you use AddItem or RemoveItem,
the List Box's Refresh event is triggered, which in turn updates the
contents of the control. This behavior may not be appropriate in cases
where you want to suppress the updating process while adding,
deleting, or changing a large number of entries.
You can force your Visual Basic application to update the List Box
control at a specific time by using the Windows® application
programming interface (API) SendMessage and SendMessageByString
functions. You must send the WM_SETREDRAW message to the control to
prevent the List Box from being updated. In addition, you must also
send the actual data to the List Box by using the SendMessage
function you cannot use the AddItem or RemoveItem methods, because
these methods will override the WM_SETREDRAW message.
Setting the redraw flag to TRUE turns the redraw function on, and
setting the redraw flag to FALSE turns the redraw function off.
Therefore, in a Visual Basic application that is updating a List Box,
you must send the WM_SETREDRAW message before you actually begin
manipulating the contents of the control. After you have finished
adding or removing items from the List Box control, you can send
another WM_SETREDRAW message to turn the redraw function on again.
This will cause Windows to display the modified List Box control
The program shown below displays two List Box controls on the form.
You can select items from the first List Box by clicking them. Each
selected item will be added to the second List Box control when you
click the "Show Results" command button.
1. Create a new project in Visual Basic. Form1 is created by default.
2. Add the following Constant and Declare statements to the General
Declarations section of Form1 (note that each Declare statement
should be typed as a single line of code):
Const WM_SetRedraw = &HB
Const LB_ADDSTRING = &H401
Declare Function SendMessage Lib "User" (ByVal hWnd As Integer,
ByVal wMsg As Integer, ByVal wParam As Integer, lParam As Any)
Declare Function SendMessageByString Lib "User" Alias "PostMessage"
(ByVal hWnd As Integer, ByVal wMsg As Integer, ByVal wParam
As Integer, ByVal lParam As String) As Integer
3. Add the following code to the Form_Load event for Form1:
Dim X As Integer
Dim D As Integer
Dim S As String
'Add some dummy data to List1
For X = 0 To 15
List1.AddItem "Item #" + Str$(X)
4. Add a Command Button control to Form1. Command1 is created by
default. Set its Caption property to "Show Results".
5. Add the following code to the Click event for Command1:
'Show updated list box now
X = SendMessage(List2.hWnd, WM_SetRedraw, 1, 0)
6. Add a List Box control to Form1. List1 is created by default. Set
its MultiSelect property to True.
7. Add the following code to the DblClick event for List1:
'Disable the Repaint event
X = SendMessage(List2.hWnd, WM_SetRedraw, 0, 0)
S = List1.List(List1.ListIndex)
' Must use SendMessageByString instead of
' List2.AddItem S to prevent redrawing
D = SendMessageByString(List2.hWnd, LB_ADDSTRING, 0, S)
8. Add a second List Box control to Form1. List2 is created by