Tutorial: Create a WinForms app with Visual Basic

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

In this tutorial, you'll create a Visual Basic application that has a Windows Forms user interface. The Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) includes all the tools you need to create a Windows Forms app.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

  • Create a project
  • Add a button to the form
  • Add a label and code
  • Run the application

Prerequisites

You need Visual Studio to complete this tutorial. Visit the Visual Studio downloads page for a free version.

You need Visual Studio to complete this tutorial. Visit the Visual Studio downloads page for a free version.

Create a project

Create a Visual Basic application project. The project type comes with all the template files you'll need, before you've even added anything.

  1. Open Visual Studio.

  2. On the start window, choose Create a new project.

    Screenshot shows the Visual Studio 2019 start window with Create a new project selected.

  3. On the Create a new project window, select the Windows Forms App (.NET Framework) template for Visual Basic.

    You can refine your search to quickly get to the template you want. For example, enter Windows Forms App in the search box. Next, select Visual Basic from the Language list, and then Windows from the Platform list.

    Screenshot shows the Create a new project window with Windows Forms App (.NET Framework) selected.

    Note

    If you don't see the Windows Forms App (.NET Framework) template, you can install it from the Create a new project window. In the Not finding what you're looking for? message, choose the Install more tools and features link.

    Screenshot shows the 'Install more tools and features' link from the 'Not finding what you're looking for' message.

    Next, in the Visual Studio Installer, choose the .NET desktop development workload.

    Screenshot shows the .NET Core workload selected in the Visual Studio Installer.

    After that, select Modify in the Visual Studio Installer. You might be prompted to save your work.

  4. In the Configure your new project window, enter HelloWorld as the Project name. Then, select Create.

    Screenshot shows the Configure your new project window with the name HelloWorld entered.

    Visual Studio opens your new project.

  1. Open Visual Studio.

  2. On the start window, choose Create a new project.

    Screenshot shows the Visual Studio 2022 start window with Create a new project selected.

  3. On the Create a new project window, select the Windows Forms App (.NET Framework) template for Visual Basic.

    You can refine your search to quickly get to the template you want. For example, enter Windows Forms App in the search box. Next, select Visual Basic from the Language list, and then Windows from the Platform list.

    Screenshot shows the Create a new project window with Windows Forms App (.NET Framework) selected.

    Note

    If you don't see the Windows Forms App (.NET Framework) template, you can install it from the Create a new project window. In the Not finding what you're looking for? message, choose the Install more tools and features link.

    Screenshot shows the 'Install more tools and features' link from the 'Not finding what you're looking for' message.

    Next, in the Visual Studio Installer, choose the .NET desktop development workload.

    Screenshot shows the .NET Core workload selected in the Visual Studio Installer.

    After that, select Modify in the Visual Studio Installer. You might be prompted to save your work.

  4. In the Configure your new project window, enter HelloWorld as the Project name. Then, select Create.

    Screenshot shows the Configure your new project window with the name HelloWorld entered.

    Visual Studio opens your new project.

Add a button to the form

After you select your Visual Basic project template and name your file, Visual Studio opens a form for you. A form is a Windows user interface. You'll create a "Hello World" application by adding controls to the form.

  1. On the left side of the Visual Studio IDE, select the Toolbox tab. If you don't see it, select View > Toolbox from the menu bar or Ctrl+Alt+X.

    Screenshot shows the Toolbox tab that opens Toolbox window.

    If you want, select the Pin icon to dock the Toolbox window.

  2. Select the Button control and then drag it onto the form.

    Screenshot shows the Button control added to the form.

  3. In the Appearance section of the Properties window, for Text, type Click this, and then press Enter.

    Screenshot shows the Text property with the value Click this.

    If you don't see the Properties window, you can open it from the menu bar. Select View > Properties Window or press F4.

  4. In the Design section of the Properties window, change the name from Button1 to btnClickThis, and then press Enter.

    Screenshot shows the Name property with a value of b t n click this.

    Note

    If you've alphabetized the list in the Properties window, Button1 appears in the (DataBindings) section, instead.

Add a label and code

Now that you've added a button control to create an action, add a label control to send text to.

  1. Select the Label control in the Toolbox window, and then drag it onto the form. Place it beneath the Click this button.

  2. In either the Design section or the (DataBindings) section of the Properties window, change the name Label1 to lblHelloWorld, and then press Enter.

  3. In the Form1.vb [Design] window, double-click the Click this button to open the Form1.vb window.

    Another option is to expand Form1.vb in Solution Explorer, and then select Form1.

  4. In the Form1.vb window, between the Private Sub and End Sub lines, enter lblHelloWorld.Text = "Hello World!" as shown in the following screenshot:

    Screenshot shows the a class in the Form1.vs tab where you can add Visual Basic code.

Run the application

Your application is ready to build and run.

  1. Select Start to run the application.

    Screenshot shows the Start button that runs your app.

    Several things happen. In the Visual Studio IDE, the Diagnostics Tools window opens, and an Output window opens. Outside of the IDE, a Form1 dialog box appears. It includes your Click this button and text that says Label1.

  2. Select the Click this button in the Form1 dialog box.

    Screenshot shows dialog box titled Form 1 that displays the text Hello World!

    The Label1 text changes to Hello World!.

  3. Close the Form1 dialog box to stop running the app.

Next steps

To learn more about Windows Forms, continue with the following tutorial:

See also