How To Add a Horizontal Scroll Bar to a Visual Basic ListBox

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The normal ListBox that comes with Visual Basic for Windows does not have a horizontal scroll bar. This can be a problem when the item in a ListBox extends past the boundaries of the ListBox. To add a horizontal scroll bar to the control, you can call the Windows API SendMessage function with the LB_SETHORIZONTALEXTENT constant.


This message sets the width in pixels by which a ListBox can scroll horizontally. If the width of the ListBox is smaller than this value, a horizontal scroll bar will be added to allow horizontally scrolling items in the ListBox.

Step-by-Step Example

  1. Create a new Standard EXE project in Visual Basic. Form1 is created by default.
  2. Add a CommandButton and a ListBox to Form1.
  3. Paste the following code into the general declaration section of Form1:
          Option Explicit
          Private Declare Function SendMessageByNum Lib "user32" _
            Alias "SendMessageA" (ByVal hwnd As Long, ByVal _
            wMsg As Long, ByVal wParam As Long, ByVal lParam As Long) As Long
          Const LB_SETHORIZONTALEXTENT = &H194
          Private Sub Command1_Click()
             Dim s As String
             Static x As Long
             s = InputBox("Please enter any text", "List scroll", _
               "this is a simple scrollbar sample for demonstration purposes")
             List1.AddItem s
             If x < TextWidth(s & "  ") Then
                x = TextWidth(s & "  ")
               If ScaleMode = vbTwips Then _
                   x = x / Screen.TwipsPerPixelX  ' if twips change to pixels
               SendMessageByNum List1.hwnd, LB_SETHORIZONTALEXTENT, x, 0
             End If
          End Sub
  4. Run the project and click on Command1. You will be prompted to enter a text string to be added to the ListBox. Each time you enter a string, the code checks to see if it is longer than the previous longest string and will adjust the scroll bar as necessary.


For information on performing this task in 16-bit versions of Visual Basic, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
80190 : How To Add a Horizontal Scroll Bar to Visual Basic ListBox


Article ID: 192184 - Last Review: July 15, 2004 - Revision: 3.2
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Learning Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Learning Edition
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  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Enterprise Edition
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