Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Working with the Properties window


Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

Video: Working with the Properties window

A frequently used tool window in Visual Studio 2010 is the Properties window. This window is typically docked to the right side of the IDE. The hotkey for this window is F4. I'm inside Visual Studio, and I have this solution called PropertiesWindow open. There is one project inside this solution called WpfApp. This is really a mixed application. It has a Windows form and an HTML page and also a XAML page in here. I am going to start by looking at the MainWindow.xaml page. I'll double-click on this icon, and that loads the designer.
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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Watch the Online Video Course Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
8h 9m Intermediate Nov 16, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training, author Walt Ritscher demonstrates how to use Visual Studio 2010 Professional to develop full-featured applications targeting a variety of platforms. Starting with an overview of the integrated developer environment, the course covers working with code editors, navigating and formatting code, and deploying applications. Also included are tutorials on running performance and load tests, and debugging code. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating a Visual Studio project
  • Building the user interface
  • Binding to an RSS feed
  • Coding with IntelliSense
  • Creating rich Internet applications with Silverlight
  • Building Windows applications with Windows Forms
  • Integrating with SQL Server
  • Working with Microsoft Office applications
  • Understanding extensibility in Visual Studio
  • Working with data, ADO.NET and datasets
  • Using source control
ASP.NET Silverlight Visual Studio
Walt Ritscher

Working with the Properties window

A frequently used tool window in Visual Studio 2010 is the Properties window. This window is typically docked to the right side of the IDE. The hotkey for this window is F4. I'm inside Visual Studio, and I have this solution called PropertiesWindow open. There is one project inside this solution called WpfApp. This is really a mixed application. It has a Windows form and an HTML page and also a XAML page in here. I am going to start by looking at the MainWindow.xaml page. I'll double-click on this icon, and that loads the designer.

Now I'm going to add a couple of controls to this designer, by going to my Toolbox and dragging the Button to the designer surface, and then I am going to drag the TextBox to the Designer surface. Next, I am going to the show you how the Property window works. The Property window is over here in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. To make it easier to see, I am going to detach it by dragging it out and moving it into the main part of the window.

You may need to size it to fit on your screen. Then I am going to sort alphabetically. By default, when you first start Visual Studio, the property grid is sorted by Category view, which means it stores the different property settings in these categories, like Layout. I don't like this view. I prefer the alphabetical view, so I am going to switch to the alphabetical view. Then I am going to show you that when you select an item in the designer, the property grid automatically monitors that control and loads the property grid with the settings from that control.

So I'm seeing the properties of this button. When I click on the text box, I'm seeing the properties of the text box. You can verify that by looking up here and seeing that I'm working with a text box, and the name of the text box is textBox1. There are a lot of properties on the button class. Let me select it again. If I want, I can filter the property grid to only show me a subset of the properties. I do that by clicking in the Search and typing in the first letters of the item I am looking for.

For instance, I want to look for the Width property, so I am going to type in "wid". I see the Width property down here at the bottom, but I also see that there was a MinWidth and a MaxWidth property that also contain those three letters. When I'm done filtering, I can click on this X button to go back to the entire view. Each property is listed here in alphabetical order. One of the cool things about the property grid is that when you select a property, like this Background property, it loads a custom editor in this section over here.

Because the background uses a brush, it's loading the brush editor. So when I click on this dropdown, I get a color editor for changing the color value of the Button. When I click on the Clickmode property, I get a different editor. Let's see what I have over here. This is an enumerated value, so I get in the list of the three possible enumerated values for this property. This is very handy. If you like to edit your items visually, this is super-easy to use.

There is an indicator down the center of the property grid that shows whether I'm using the default value or not. This diamond here signifies I'm no longer using the default value for the background color of the button. I can reset it at any point by right-clicking on this icon and choosing Reset Value. Now this only works in Silverlight and WPF applications. ASP.NET, the HTML editors, and other designers use a different metaphor for this reset. For instance, like the ASP.NET editor, it shows if I'm using a non-default value by bolding the text in this column.

Not only are there properties in this button, but this button also contains events. The property grid shows me the events when I click on this tab here. This lists every event that this button is capable of listening for. So if want to write some code for a click event, I would go to this section, and I would type in the name of the function that I want here. Or let's say I want to work with the mouse event, so I'll go down to the Ms and find something called MouseLeftButtonUp.

Now the way I can write code is I can double-click on this event, and Visual Studio will pick a name for me and write the code. Let me show you. I'll double-click. Visual Studio switches me over to the Code Behind window and shows that it wrote a function called button1_MouseLeftButtonUp. We'll learn more about these in the Coding chapter. I'm going to switch back to the designer. Now I can see that this event has the name of the event procedure listed here. If I don't like that name, I can change it here or I can suggest my own name.

Let me go to MouseEnter and type in my own function name, like that. I will press enter. Visual Studio switches over to the Code view and writes in this piece of code. Notice how the name is the one that I selected in the property grid. When I switch back to the Designer view, if I want to undo the event wiring, I can come here and delete the word "myCode".

Now when that event fires, myCode will no longer run, however, Visual Studio does not remove the code from the Code Behind window. You see it's still here. Let me put this property grid back in its normal position. To do that, you'd hold down the Ctrl key and double-click on the header. Now, it's back in its original position. Then I'll switch back to the designer, and let's review. The property grid contains two sections: Properties and the Events. In the Events section, you can see the names of the events, you can write code, you can rename the code, and you can remove the code.

If you're in the Property view, you can monitor the properties of the selected object and change them. One thing I didn't mention earlier is that you can select more than one item. If I drag a second button over here, and select the two of them, then the property grid, when I make changes over here, it's changing common properties that are shared among both of these controls. So if you are a visual person, you are going to love using the Property window to edit your UI items. If you're not a visual person, you can always hand-edit the HTML, the XAML, or the C# code instead.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training .

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Q: Which edition of Visual Studio 2010 do I need to follow along in this course?
A: The course is taught with Visual Studio 2010 Professional, but can also be used with the Premium or Ultimate editions. The Express editions of Visual Studio, including Visual Basic 2010 Express, Visual C# 2010 Express, and Visual C++ Express, are not covered in this course.
Q: I'm attempting to download the exercise files for this course, and my virus protection is blocking me from unzipping the downloaded file. Are the files corrupted?
A: The alert is a false-positive message. Your antivirus software is detecting the active code included in the exercise files, which in some ways resembles viral code. There is nothing to be alarmed about and you can ignore the warning. This is common among coding courses and environments.
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