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A TComboBox tcombobox.png is a combination of an edit box and a (drop-down) list allowing one of several options to be chosen.


To use a TComboBox on a form, you can simply select it on the Standard tab of the Component Palette and place it by clicking on the form.

In the ComboBox, the stored strings are stored in the property Items, that is of type TStrings. Thus you can assign or remove strings in the ComboBox, as in a TStringList or its parent TStrings.

Here are a few examples to use a combobox ComboBox1 on a form Form1:

Fill ComboBox

by the Object Inspector

  • Select the ComboBox on your form with one click.
  • Go in the Object Inspector in the Properties tab on the property Items.
  • Click on the button with the three dots. The String Editor opens.
  • Enter your text and confirm your work with OK.

by code when you create the form

  • Create the OnCreate event handler for the form, by clicking on your form, use the Object Inspector, the tab events, select the OnCreate event and click the button [...] or double click the button in the form.
  • In the source editor, you now insert the desired selection texts, for our example, you write as follows:
procedure TForm1.FormCreate(Sender: TObject);  
  ComboBox1.Items.Clear;             //Delete all existing choices
  ComboBox1.Items.Add('Red');        //Add an choice
  ComboBox1.Items.Add('Random Color');  

Make that something happens after the selection

Like all components, even the TComboBox provides various events, that are called when the user use the combobox. To respond to a change of the selection in the ComboBox, you can use the OnChange event:

  • Doubleclick the ComboBox on the form or choose the OnChange event in the Object Inspector and click on the button [...].
  • The event handler is created, now you can insert your desired source, in our example we want to change the background color of the form:
procedure TForm1.ComboBox1Change(Sender: TObject);
  case ComboBox1.ItemIndex of  //what entry (which item) has currently been chosen
    0: Color:=clRed;
    1: Color:=clGreen;
    2: Color:=clBlue;
    3: Color:=Random($1000000);
  • Start your application, the selection changes the background color of the form.

Owner drawn ComboBox

In general, it is advantageous to let the ComboBox show in the theme the user has chosen in his settings. In some cases (for example, to program a game with a colorful surface), you can deviate from this standard and draw it according to your own choice. This is how this works:


Note: Parameters of ComboBoxDrawItem:

If multiple controls (e.g. multiple ComboBoxes) access this event handle, you know which control caused the event. In our example, instead of ComboBox1.Canvas.FillRect(ARect) you could also write TComboBox(Control).Canvas.FillRect(ARect). However, you should still check in advance, whether it is a TComboBox:

  if Control is TComboBox then

Index: Specifies the item location, so you have access to the string <ComboBox>.Items[Index].
ARect: Describes the rectangle, which is necessary for drawing the background.
State: Status of the items, whether normal, focused, selected etc.

Draw a filled rectangle

  • You can modify the example Fill ComboBox by code when you create the form.
  • Change from ComboBox1 in the Object Inspector the property Style to csOwnerDrawFixed.
  • Create in the Object Inspector the event handler for the event OnDrawItem, by clicking on the button [...].
  • Add the following code to the handler:
procedure TForm1.ComboBox1DrawItem(Control: TWinControl; Index: Integer;
  ARect: TRect; State: TOwnerDrawState);
  ltRect: TRect;
  procedure FillColorfulRect(aCanvas: TCanvas; myRect: TRect);              //paint random color
  // Fills the rectangle with random colours
    y: Integer;
    for y:=myRect.Top to myRect.Bottom - 1 do begin
      aCanvas.Line(myRect.Left, y, myRect.Right, y);
  ComboBox1.Canvas.FillRect(ARect);                                         //first paint normal background
  ComboBox1.Canvas.TextRect(ARect, 22, ARect.Top, ComboBox1.Items[Index]);  //paint item text 
  ltRect.Left   := ARect.Left   + 2;                                        //rectangle for color
  ltRect.Right  := ARect.Left   + 20;
  ltRect.Top    := ARect.Top    + 1;
  ltRect.Bottom := ARect.Bottom - 1;
  ComboBox1.Canvas.Rectangle(ltRect);                                       //draw a border 
  if InflateRect(ltRect, -1, -1) then                                       //resize rectangle by one pixel
    if Index = 3 then
      FillColorfulRect(ComboBox1.Canvas, ltRect)                            //paint random color
    else begin
      case Index of
        0: ComboBox1.Canvas.Brush.Color := clRed;
        1: ComboBox1.Canvas.Brush.Color := clGreen;
        2: ComboBox1.Canvas.Brush.Color := clBlue;
      ComboBox1.Canvas.FillRect(ltRect);                                    //paint colors according to selection
  • Your example might look like:

ComboBoxBsp1.png -> ComboBoxBsp2.png

Preceded image

In this example, we load a few images in a TImageList and draw them in front of the items in the combobox. It is a simple example which only generally show what you can do. I don't run explicitly details, such as checking, whether the corresponding image exists etc. in this example. This should be done by you depending on the need.

  • Create an application analogous example Fill ComboBox by code when you create the form.
  • Change from ComboBox1 in the Object Inspector the property Style to csOwnerDrawFixed.
  • Add a TImageList from the component palette Common controls on your form.
  • The Height and Width of 16 pixels is preset in ImageList1. We allow this. To fit neatly the images into our combo box, we make the property ItemHeight from ComboBox1 to 18 in the Object Inspector.
  • Add four images in the ImageList:
    • Doubleclick ImageList1 or leftclick ImageList1 and select ImageList Editor....
    • Click on Add and select an image (see <Lazarus directory>/images/... there are various images or icons in 16x16px size).
    • Have you added four images, confirm your work with [OK].
  • Create in the Object Inspector the event handler for the event OnDrawItem, by clicking on the button [...].
  • Add the following code to the handler:
procedure TForm1.ComboBox1DrawItem(Control: TWinControl; Index: Integer;
  ARect: TRect; State: TOwnerDrawState);
  ComboBox1.Canvas.FillRect(ARect);                                         //first paint normal background
  ComboBox1.Canvas.TextRect(ARect, 20, ARect.Top, ComboBox1.Items[Index]);  //paint item text 
  ImageList1.Draw(ComboBox1.Canvas, ARect.Left + 1, ARect.Top + 1, Index);  //draw image according to index on canvas
  • Your example might look like:

ComboBoxBsp1.png -> ComboBoxBsp3.png

See also

LCL Components
Component Tab Components
Standard TMainMenu • TPopupMenu • TButton • TLabel • TEdit • TMemo • TToggleBox • TCheckBox • TRadioButton • TListBox • TComboBox • TScrollBar • TGroupBox • TRadioGroup • TCheckGroup • TPanel • TFrame • TActionList
Additional TBitBtn • TSpeedButton • TStaticText • TImage • TShape • TBevel • TPaintBox • TNotebook • TLabeledEdit • TSplitter • TTrayIcon • TControlBar • TFlowPanel • TMaskEdit • TCheckListBox • TScrollBox • TApplicationProperties • TStringGrid • TDrawGrid • TPairSplitter • TColorBox • TColorListBox • TValueListEditor
Common Controls TTrackBar • TProgressBar • TTreeView • TListView • TStatusBar • TToolBar • TCoolBar • TUpDown • TPageControl • TTabControl • THeaderControl • TImageList • TPopupNotifier • TDateTimePicker
Dialogs TOpenDialog • TSaveDialog • TSelectDirectoryDialog • TColorDialog • TFontDialog • TFindDialog • TReplaceDialog • TOpenPictureDialog • TSavePictureDialog • TCalendarDialog • TCalculatorDialog • TPrinterSetupDialog • TPrintDialog • TPageSetupDialog • TTaskDialog
Data Controls TDBNavigator • TDBText • TDBEdit • TDBMemo • TDBImage • TDBListBox • TDBLookupListBox • TDBComboBox • TDBLookupComboBox • TDBCheckBox • TDBRadioGroup • TDBCalendar • TDBGroupBox • TDBGrid • TDBDateTimePicker
Data Access TDataSource • TBufDataset • TMemDataset • TSdfDataSet • TFixedFormatDataSet • TDbf
System TTimer • TIdleTimer • TLazComponentQueue • THTMLHelpDatabase • THTMLBrowserHelpViewer • TAsyncProcess • TProcessUTF8 • TProcess • TSimpleIPCClient • TSimpleIPCServer • TXMLConfig • TEventLog • TServiceManager • TCHMHelpDatabase • TLHelpConnector
Misc TColorButton • TSpinEdit • TFloatSpinEdit • TArrow • TCalendar • TEditButton • TFileNameEdit • TDirectoryEdit • TDateEdit • TTimeEdit • TCalcEdit • TFileListBox • TFilterComboBox • TComboBoxEx • TCheckComboBox • TButtonPanel • TShellTreeView • TShellListView • TXMLPropStorage • TINIPropStorage • TIDEDialogLayoutStorage • TMRUManager • TStrHolder
LazControls TCheckBoxThemed • TDividerBevel • TExtendedNotebook • TListFilterEdit • TListViewFilterEdit • TTreeFilterEdit • TShortPathEdit • TLvlGraphControl
RTTI TTIEdit • TTIComboBox • TTIButton • TTICheckBox • TTILabel • TTIGroupBox • TTIRadioGroup • TTICheckGroup • TTICheckListBox • TTIListBox • TTIMemo • TTICalendar • TTIImage • TTIFloatSpinEdit • TTISpinEdit • TTITrackBar • TTIProgressBar • TTIMaskEdit • TTIColorButton • TMultiPropertyLink • TTIPropertyGrid • TTIGrid
SQLdb TSQLQuery • TSQLTransaction • TSQLScript • TSQLConnector • TMSSQLConnection • TSybaseConnection • TPQConnection • TPQTEventMonitor • TOracleConnection • TODBCConnection • TMySQL40Connection • TMySQL41Connection • TMySQL50Connection • TMySQL51Connection • TMySQL55Connection • TMySQL56Connection • TSQLite3Connection • TIBConnection • TFBAdmin • TFBEventMonitor • TSQLDBLibraryLoader
Pascal Script TPSScript • TPSScriptDebugger • TPSDllPlugin • TPSImport_Classes • TPSImport_DateUtils • TPSImport_ComObj • TPSImport_DB • TPSImport_Forms • TPSImport_Controls • TPSImport_StdCtrls • TPSCustomPlugin
SynEdit TSynEdit • TSynCompletion • TSynAutoComplete • TSynMacroRecorder • TSynExporterHTML • TSynPluginSyncroEdit • TSynPasSyn • TSynFreePascalSyn • TSynCppSyn • TSynJavaSyn • TSynPerlSyn • TSynHTMLSyn • TSynXMLSyn • TSynLFMSyn • TSynDiffSyn • TSynUNIXShellScriptSyn • TSynCssSyn • TSynPHPSyn • TSynTeXSyn • TSynSQLSyn • TSynPythonSyn • TSynVBSyn • TSynAnySyn • TSynMultiSyn • TSynBatSyn • TSynIniSyn • TSynPoSyn
Chart TChart • TListChartSource • TRandomChartSource • TUserDefinedChartSource • TCalculatedChartSource • TDbChartSource • TChartToolset • TChartAxisTransformations • TChartStyles • TChartLegendPanel • TChartNavScrollBar • TChartNavPanel • TIntervalChartSource • TDateTimeIntervalChartSource • TChartListBox • TChartExtentLink • TChartImageList
IPro TIpFileDataProvider • TIpHttpDataProvider • TIpHtmlPanel