MenuStrip Control Overview (Windows Forms)

Menus expose functionality to your users by holding commands that are grouped by a common theme.

The MenuStrip control was introduced in version 2.0 of the .NET Framework. With the MenuStrip control, you can easily create menus like those found in Microsoft Office.

The MenuStrip control supports the multiple-document interface (MDI) and menu merging, tool tips, and overflow. You can enhance the usability and readability of your menus by adding access keys, shortcut keys, check marks, images, and separator bars.

The MenuStrip control replaces and adds functionality to the MainMenu control; however, the MainMenu control is retained for backward compatibility and future use if you choose.

Ways to Use the MenuStrip Control

Use the MenuStrip control to:

  • Create easily customized, commonly employed menus that support advanced user interface and layout features, such as text and image ordering and alignment, drag-and-drop operations, MDI, overflow, and alternate modes of accessing menu commands.

  • Support the typical appearance and behavior of the operating system.

  • Handle events consistently for all containers and contained items, in the same way you handle events for other controls.

The following table shows some particularly important properties of MenuStrip and associated classes.

Property Description
MdiWindowListItem Gets or sets the ToolStripMenuItem that is used to display a list of MDI child forms.
ToolStripItem.MergeAction Gets or sets how child menus are merged with parent menus in MDI applications.
ToolStripItem.MergeIndex Gets or sets the position of a merged item within a menu in MDI applications.
Form.IsMdiContainer Gets or sets a value indicating whether the form is a container for MDI child forms.
ShowItemToolTips Gets or sets a value indicating whether tool tips are shown for the MenuStrip.
CanOverflow Gets or sets a value indicating whether the MenuStrip supports overflow functionality.
ShortcutKeys Gets or sets the shortcut keys associated with the ToolStripMenuItem.
ShowShortcutKeys Gets or sets a value indicating whether the shortcut keys that are associated with the ToolStripMenuItem are displayed next to the ToolStripMenuItem.

The following table shows the important MenuStrip companion classes.

Class Description
ToolStripMenuItem Represents a selectable option displayed on a MenuStrip or ContextMenuStrip.
ContextMenuStrip Represents a shortcut menu.
ToolStripDropDown Represents a control that allows the user to select a single item from a list that is displayed when the user clicks a ToolStripDropDownButton or a higher-level menu item.
ToolStripDropDownItem Provides basic functionality for controls derived from ToolStripItem that display drop-down items when clicked.

See also