Keep Menu Items in Sync With Enabled Property

How many times have you had to control the same processes with both command buttons and corresponding menus? I expect you’d say “many,” which means you’ve had to set the Enabled property of both the buttons and the menus, depending on the availability of certain features, and you’ve had to keep the status of the buttons and menus in sync in many places in your code. This job can be tedious if conditions dictating the Enabled status continuously change in your application. I’ll show you how to cut your code in half.

You’ve probably noticed that if a main menu has submenus, the user can use the main menu only to open a list of menu items. However, the main menu’s Click event procedure is available to you, the programmer. This procedure fires every time the user opens the main menu, always before the user has a chance to select a menu item. Use this event to check your Command buttons’ Enabled property that you set in other procedures of your application, then set the Enabled property of the corresponding menu items to the same value. This way, by the time the user sees the menu item list, all menu items’ Enabled property is set to the appropriate value.

For example, if you have a menu structure similar to this, you can code your Edit menu Click event procedure:

 Edit	Undo	Cut	Copy	Paste	Delete

Use this code in your Edit menu Click event procedure:

 Private Sub mnuEdit_Click 	mnuEditUndo.Enabled = cmdUndo.Enabled	mnuEditCut.Enabled = cmdCut.Enabled	mnuEditCopy.Enabled = cmdCopy.Enabled	mnuEditPaste.Enabled = cmdPaste.Enabled	mnuEditDelete.Enabled = cmdDelete.EnabledEnd Sub

No matter how many times you change the Enabled property of buttons, menu items will always be kept in sync.

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