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Meeting the Tools in the Visual Basic Toolbox

When you write a Visual Basic program, you first have to design the user interface. Essentially, a Visual Basic user interface consists of objects that you place on the screen and arrange in some semblance of organization so that the screen looks pretty.

The common elements of a Visual Basic user interface appear in Figure 1 and consist of the following:

  • Forms (also known as windows)

  • Buttons (such as command buttons and radio buttons)

  • Boxes (such as text boxes and check boxes)

  • Labels

  • Pictures (such as icons and graphics)


Figure 1: The elements of a typical Visual Basic user interface.

To design your user interface, follow these steps:

1. Create a form.

2. Choose the object you want to draw from the Toolbox. (See Table 1.)

3. Draw the object on the form.

Table 1: Tools in the Visual Basic Toolbox


Tool Name

What This Tool Does


Selects objects

Picture box

Draws a box to display graphics


Draws a box to display text

Text box

Draws a box that can display text and let the user type in text


Groups two or more objects together

Command button

Draws a command button

Check box

Draws a check box

Option (or radio) button

Draws a radio button

Combo box

Draws a combo box

List box

Draws a list box

Horizontal scroll bar

Draws a horizontal scroll bar

Vertical scroll bar

Draws a vertical scroll bar


Places a timer on a form

Drive list box

Draws a drive list box that displays all the disk drives available

Directory list box

Draws a directory list box that displays a directory on a particular disk drive

File list box

Draws a file list box that displays files in a specific directory


Draws a geometric shape such as a circle or a square


Draws a line

Image box

Draws a box to display graphics

Data control

Draws a control to link a program to a database file


Draws a box to insert an OLE object

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