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The Properties Window

 
 

Introduction to the Properties Window

 

Introduction

After you have added a control to a work area or to a form, in order to perform any type of configuration on the control, we saw that you must first select it. Besides the techniques we reviewed, to select a control, if you know its name, you can click the arrow of the combo box in the top section of the Properties window and select it:

Selecting a Control Using the Properties Window

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Creating a Form

  1. Start Microsoft Excel and, on the Ribbon, click Developer
  2. In the Code section, click Visual Basic
  3. To create a form, on the main menu, click Insert -> UserForm
  4. To access its associated module, right-click the form and click View Code
  5. To return to the form, on the main menu, click Window and click the menu item that has (UserForm)
  6. In Microsoft Visual Basic, notice that a Toolbox appears next to the form
     
    Microsoft Visual Basic
  7. To return to Microsoft Excel, on the Taskbar, click Microsoft Excel
  8. To display the controls, in the Controls section of the Ribbon, click Insert
  9. To add a control to the document, Under ActiveX Controls, click the Command Button button Command Button and click a box (any box in the work area)
  10. To add another control, in the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the arrow under Insert and click the Combo Box button Combo Box and click somewhere in the work area away from the previously added button
  11. On the Taskbar, click Microsoft Visual Basic to return to it
  12. On the Toolbox, click the CommandButton and click somewhere in the top-left section of the form (no need for precision at this time)
  13. On the Toolbox, click the ComboBox and click somewhere in the middle-center section of the form (no need for precision at this time)
  14. On the Toolbox, click the CheckBox and click somewhere in the lower-right section of the form (no need for precision at this time)
  15. To return to Microsoft Excel, click the View Microsoft Excel button View Microsoft Excel
  16. Position the mouse on CommandBut that was positioned on the form and click.
    Notice that you are able to select the button
  17. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Design Mode button Design Mode
  18. In the work area, click the CommandBut button again
  19. Click the combo box. Notice that, this time, you cannot select the controls
  20. To return to controls to edit mode, in the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Design Mode button Design Mode
  21. To return to Microsoft Visual Basic, in the Code section of the Ribbon, click the Visual Basic button Visual Basic
  22. On the form, click one of the controls
  23. Press and hold Ctrl
  24. Click one of the other controls
  25. Release Ctrl
  26. To dismiss the selection, press Esc
  27. While still in Microsoft Visual Basic, press Ctrl + A to select all controls
  28. Press Delete to remove them
  29. To display them again, press Ctrl + Z
  30. To return to Microsoft Excel, click the View Microsoft Excel button View Microsoft Excel
  31. To view the properties of the button, in the work area, right-click the CommandBut button you added and click Properties
  32. On the Taskbar, click Microsoft Visual Basic
  33. To see the properties of a Visual Basic object, right-click an unoccupied area of the form and click Properties.
    Notice that the Properties window displays the characteristics of the form
  34. To see the properties of another object, on the form, click the button

The Name of a Property

After adding a control to your application, you can manipulate its characteristics. If you are working in Microsoft Excel, to put a control into edit mode, in the Controls section of the Ribbon, click the Design Mode button Design Mode.

Each field in the Properties window has two sections: the property’s name and the property's value:
 
Properties Names and Values
The name of a property is represented in the left column. This is the official name of the property. Notice that the names of properties are in one word. Based on this, our House class would have been defined as follows:

House
[
      Address
      TypeOfHouse
      NumberOfBedrooms
      NumberOfBathrooms
      HasIndoorGarage
      LivingRoomCoveredWithCarpet
      KitchenHasIslandStove
]

You can use this same name to access the property in code. 

Accessing a Control's Property

To access a property of a control using code, type the name of the control, followed by a period, followed by the name of the property. Based on this, if you have a House object named Langston, to access its TypeOfHouse property, you would write:

Langston.TypeOfHouse

The Value of a Property

The box on the right side of each property name represents the value of the property that you can set for an object. There are various kinds of fields you will use to set the properties. To know what particular kind a field is, you can click its name. To set or change a property, you use the box on the right side of the property’s name: the property's value, also referred to as the field's value.

The Default Value of a Control's Property

To programmatically change the value of a property, type the name of the control, followed by a period, followed by the name of the property, followed by =. Then, on the right side of equal, you must provide the value but this depends on the type of value.

The people who developed the controls also assigned some primary values to their properties. This is the type of value that a property either is most likely to have or can use unless you decide to change it. The primary value given to a property is referred to as its default value. Most of the time, you can use that property. In some other assignments, the default value will not be suitable.

 
 
 

Types of Properties

 

Empty Fields

Empty Field  

By default, these fields don't have a default value. Most of these properties are dependent on other settings of project.

To set the property on such a field, you can type in it or sometimes you will need to select from a list.

 

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Viewing Empty Property Fields

  1. On the form, click the CommandButton1 button
  2. In the Properties window, click ControlTipText and notice that its value is empty

Text Fields

There are fields that expect you to type a value. Most of these fields have a default value.

To change the value of the property, click the name of the property, type the desired value, and press Enter or Tab. While some properties, such as the Caption, would allow anything, some other fields expect a specific type of text, such as a numeric value.

To programmatically change the value of a text-based property, on the right side of the = sign, you can type the value in double quotes. For example, suppose you have a House object named Langston. If you want to specify its address, you would write:

Text Field
Langston.Address = "6802 Leighton Ave"

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Viewing Text Fields

  1. Click an unoccupied area of the form
  2. In the Properties window, click Caption type Application Design

Numeric Fields

Some fields expect a numeric value. In this case, you can click the name of the field and type the desired value. If you type an invalid value, you would receive a message box notifying you of the error:

Value Error

When this happens, click OK and type a valid value. If the value is supposed to be an integer, make sure you don't type it with a fractional part.

 

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Viewing Text Fields

  1. On the form, click the CommandButton1 button
  2. In the Properties window, click Left, type 32 and press Enter

Expandable Fields

Expandable Field

Some fields have a - or a + button. This indicates that the property has a set of sub-properties that actually belong to the same property and are defined together. To expand such a field, click its + button and a – button will appear.

To collapse the field, click the – button. Some of the properties are numeric based. With such a property, you can click its name and type the numeric value. Some other properties are created from a sub-list. If you expand such a field, it would display various options. With such a property, you should select from a list.

 

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Viewing Expandable Fields

  • Click an unoccupied area of the form.
    In the Properties window, click Categorized. If the Misc field has +, click it to expand

Boolean Fields

Some fields can have only a True or False value. These are Boolean fields. To change their value, you can either select from the combo box or double-click the property to switch to the other value.

To programmatically specify the value of a Boolean property, on the right side of the = symbol, type True or False. Here is an example:

Langston.HasIndoorGarage= True
 

Boolean Field

 

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Viewing Boolean Properties

  1. On the form, click the CommandButton1 button
  2. In the Properties window, click AutoSize and notice that its has a False value

Intermediary Fields

Intermediary

Some fields use a value that can be set through an intermediary action. Such fields display a browse button Browse. When you click the button, a dialog box would come up and you can set the value for the field.

 

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Viewing Intermediary Fields

  1. Click an unoccupied area of the form
  2. In the Categorized section of the Properties window, if the Font field has +, click to expand
  3. Under Font, click the Font field and notice that it has a browse button

List-Based Fields

To change the value of some of the fields, you would first click the arrow of their combo box to display the available values. After clicking the arrow, a list would display:

Property Selection

There are various types of list-based fields. Some of them display just two items. To change their value, you can just double-click the field. Some other fields have more than two values in the list. To change them, you can click their arrow and select from the list. You can also double-click a few times until the desired value is selected. Some other items would dispplay a window from where you would click the option you want:

Property Selection

To programmatically specify the value of a list-based property, you must use one from a list. For example, suppose you had defined a list of types of house as tpeSingleFamily, tpeTownHouse, and tpeCondominium. To use one of these values for a House object named Langston, you would type:

Langston.TypeOfHouse = tpeSingleFamily

In most cases, each member of such a list also uses a natural number. An example would be:

TypeOfHouse Value
0 tpeSingleFamily
1 tpeTownHouse
2 tpeCondominium

Although we used 0, 1, and 2 in this list, there are no predefined rules as to the number allocated for each member of the list. The person who created the list also decided what number, if any, each member of the list would have (if you are curious, in most programming languages or libraries, these types of properties are created using an enumeration (in C++ or in the the .NET Framework) or a set (Borland VCL)). Based on this, the above code would also be written as:

Langston.TypeOfHouse = 0

Practical LearningPractical Learning: Viewing Expandable Fields

  1. Click the CommandButton1 button on the form.
    In the Categorized section of the Properties window, if the Misc field has +, click it to expand
  2. Under Misc, click the MousePointer field and notice that it has a combo box button.
    Click the arrow of the combo box to see the list
  3. To close Microsoft Excel, click the Office Button and click Exit Excel
  4. When asked whether you want to save the changes, click No
 
 
   
 

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