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How to draw Listbox items with alternative background colors

Some people find it easier to read large amount of data when the rows have an alternative background color instead of always the same. This is called Zebra Striping.

For this example we will look into implementing this technique for our ListBox control so it will look similar to this:
Listbox zebra striping

First we need to ensure that the ListBox.DrawMode property is set to DrawMode.OwnerDrawFixed. This can be accomplished by either changing the property in the properties window or by placing listBox1.DrawMode = DrawMode.OwnerDrawFixed; in your form’s constructor or any of the load events.

Then we need to handle the ListBox’s DrawItem event so we can change the colors as we like.

And we are done ! Feel free to modify the example to suit your needs.

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3 Responses to How to draw Listbox items with alternative background colors

  1. Mukesh Kumar says:

    One thing I would like to add – My List box stopped showing the elements when I set ListBox.DrawMode property to DrawMode.OwnerDrawFixed. When I reset to DrawMode.OwnerDrawVariable, it started working correctly.Didn’t understand why it happened.

  2. Mukesh Kumar says:

    A very helpful article. This is what I was looking for and it offered me a great help and proved to be my savior. Thank you so much.

  3. I spent a lot of time with a broken DisplayMember. says:

    Instead of

    I suggest

    This way, DisplayMember doesn’t get broken.

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