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Language: VB4/32,VB5,VB6
Expertise: Intermediate
Dec 9, 2000

Use a ListBox as a poor man's grid

You can easily create columns of data in a ListBox control by setting its tab stop at appropriate positions. This way, you can use a ListBox control as a sort of grid control with (very) limited functionality, but without using third-party controls.

You can set ListBox's tab stop by sending the control a LB_SETTABSTOPS message, where wParam contains the number of desired tab stops, and lParam points to the first element of an array of Long values that contains the new tab stop positions. The following reusable routine does the trick

Private Declare Function SendMessage Lib "user32" Alias "SendMessageA" (ByVal _
    hwnd As Long, ByVal wMsg As Long, ByVal wParam As Long, _
    lParam As Any) As Long

' Set tab stops positions for a ListBox control
' Each element of the array is expressed in dialog units,
' where each dialog unit is 1/4 of the average character width.

Sub ListBoxSetTabStops(lb As ListBox, tabStops() As Long)
    Dim numEls As Long
    numEls = UBound(tabStops) - LBound(tabStops) + 1
    SendMessage lb.hwnd, LB_SETTABSTOPS, numEls, tabStops(LBound(tabStops))
End Sub
Note that the values in the array are expressed in dialog units, where the average character's width corresponds to 4 dialog units. The following code example set the tab stop position at (approximately) the 10th, 18th and 25th character:

Dim tabs(2) As Long
tabs(0) = 40   ' 10*4
tabs(1) = 72   ' 18*4
tabs(2) = 100  ' 25*4
ListBoxSetTabStops List1, tabs()
Once you have set the tab stops appropriately, you just add new items to the ListBox, where the values in each column should be separated by vbTab characters:

List1.AddItem "col 1" & vbTab & "col 2" & vbTab & "col 3" & vbTab & "col 4"
Francesco Balena
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