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Visual Basic Concepts

Object Naming Conventions

Objects should be named with a consistent prefix that makes it easy to identify the type of object. Recommended conventions for some of the objects supported by Visual Basic are listed below.

Suggested Prefixes for Controls

Control type prefix Example
3D Panel pnl pnlGroup
ADO Data ado adoBiblio
Animated button ani aniMailBox
Check box chk chkReadOnly
Combo box, drop-down list box cbo cboEnglish
Command button cmd cmdExit
Common dialog dlg dlgFileOpen
Communications com comFax
Control (used within procedures when the specific type is unknown) ctr ctrCurrent
Data dat datBiblio
Data-bound combo box dbcbo dbcboLanguage
Data-bound grid dbgrd dbgrdQueryResult
Data-bound list box dblst dblstJobType
Data combo dbc dbcAuthor
Data grid dgd dgdTitles
Data list dbl dblPublisher
Data repeater drp drpLocation
Date picker dtp dtpPublished
Directory list box dir dirSource
Drive list box drv drvTarget
File list box fil filSource
Flat scroll bar fsb fsbMove
Form frm frmEntry
Frame fra fraLanguage
Gauge gau gauStatus
Graph gra graRevenue
Grid grd grdPrices
Hierarchical flexgrid flex flexOrders
Horizontal scroll bar hsb hsbVolume
Image img imgIcon
Image combo imgcbo imgcboProduct
ImageList ils ilsAllIcons
Label lbl lblHelpMessage
Lightweight check box lwchk lwchkArchive
Lightweight combo box lwcbo lwcboGerman
Lightweight command button lwcmd lwcmdRemove
Lightweight frame lwfra lwfraSaveOptions
Lightweight horizontal scroll bar lwhsb lwhsbVolume
Lightweight list box lwlst lwlstCostCenters
Lightweight option button lwopt lwoptIncomeLevel
Lightweight text box lwtxt lwoptStreet
Lightweight vertical scroll bar lwvsb lwvsbYear
Line lin linVertical
List box lst lstPolicyCodes
ListView lvw lvwHeadings
MAPI message mpm mpmSentMessage
MAPI session mps mpsSession
MCI mci mciVideo
Menu mnu mnuFileOpen
Month view mvw mvwPeriod
MS Chart ch chSalesbyRegion
MS Flex grid msg msgClients
MS Tab mst mstFirst
OLE container ole oleWorksheet
Option button opt optGender
Picture box pic picVGA
Picture clip clp clpToolbar
ProgressBar prg prgLoadFile
Remote Data rd rdTitles
RichTextBox rtf rtfReport
Shape shp shpCircle
Slider sld sldScale
Spin spn spnPages
StatusBar sta staDateTime
SysInfo sys sysMonitor
TabStrip tab tabOptions
Text box txt txtLastName
Timer tmr tmrAlarm
Toolbar tlb tlbActions
TreeView tre treOrganization
UpDown upd updDirection
Vertical scroll bar vsb vsbRate

Suggested Prefixes for Data Access Objects (DAO)

Use the following prefixes to indicate Data Access Objects.

Database object Prefix Example
Container con conReports
Database db dbAccounts
DBEngine dbe dbeJet
Document doc docSalesReport
Field fld fldAddress
Group grp grpFinance
Index ix idxAge
Parameter prm prmJobCode
QueryDef qry qrySalesByRegion
Recordset rec recForecast
Relation rel relEmployeeDept
TableDef tbd tbdCustomers
User usr usrNew
Workspace wsp wspMine

Some examples:

Dim dbBiblio As Database
Dim recPubsInNY As Recordset, strSQLStmt As String
Const DB_READONLY = 4            ' Set constant.
'Open database.
Set dbBiblio = OpenDatabase("BIBLIO.MDB")
' Set text for the SQL statement.
strSQLStmt = "SELECT * FROM Publishers WHERE & _
   State = 'NY'"
' Create the new Recordset object.
Set recPubsInNY = db.OpenRecordset(strSQLStmt, _

Suggested Prefixes for Menus

Applications frequently use many menu controls, making it useful to have a unique set of naming conventions for these controls. Menu control prefixes should be extended beyond the initial "mnu" label by adding an additional prefix for each level of nesting, with the final menu caption at the end of the name string. The following table lists some examples.

Menu caption sequence Menu handler name
File Open mnuFileOpen
File Send Email mnuFileSendEmail
File Send Fax mnuFileSendFax
Format Character mnuFormatCharacter
Help Contents mnuHelpContents

When this naming convention is used, all members of a particular menu group are listed next to each other in Visual Basic’s Properties window. In addition, the menu control names clearly document the menu items to which they are attached.

Choosing Prefixes for Other Controls

For controls not listed above, you should try to standardize on a unique two or three character prefix for consistency. Use more than three characters only if needed for clarity.

For derived or modified controls, for example, extend the prefixes above so that there is no confusion over which control is really being used. For third-party controls, a lower-case abbreviation for the manufacturer could be added to the prefix. For example, a control instance created from the Visual Basic Professional 3D frame could uses a prefix of fra3d to avoid confusion over which control is really being used.