How To Read and Display UNICODE String on Visual Basic Form

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Article ID: 193540 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This article demonstrates how to read a Unicode string from a Unicode text file and display the string on a Visual Basic form.

MORE INFORMATION

Visual Basic is based internally on the double-byte Unicode standard. However, most of the world outside of Visual Basic still uses the single- byte ANSI model. For this reason, Visual Basic provides two sets of form controls and uses the ANSI set as the default control. Any strings passed to the ANSI set of form controls will be converted from their internal Unicode representation to an ANSI representation and will not display the UNICODE strings correctly. To be able to display the UNICODE string on a Visual Basic form, the UNICODE (Forms 2.0) controls must be used. The following example shows how to use the Forms 2.0 controls to display UNICODE strings read from a Unicode text file. Because this behavior requires UNICODE language package support, it currently supported only in Windows NT.

NOTE: The Forms 2.0 controls used in this article were not designed for use on Visual Basic forms and have not been formally tested in the environment. This article documents their use only in this very limited context to work around a limitation to the Visual Basic Intrinsic controls. Using other features of these controls on Visual Basic forms is not supported.

Furthermore, Forms 2.0 is part of Microsoft Office and is not redistributable. Therefore, you cannot distribute Forms 2.0 (fm20.dll) with your application. It must already be on the target machines.

For additional information on distributing fm20.dll, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
224305 INFO: Usage and Redistribution of FM20.DLL [OffDev]

Step-by-Step Guide to Build Sample

  1. Install the Chinese language package on your Windows NT computer. See the REFERENCES section below for installation instructions. The MingLiu font will be installed automatically during this step. You can also install other language packages if you want to use other UNICODE language support.
  2. Create a standard EXE project. Form1 is created by default.
  3. Select Components from the Project menu and check Microsoft Forms 2.0 Object Library. Several new controls are added to the toolbox, including UNICODE versions of the text box, label, and so forth.
  4. Add a Forms 2.0 TextBox to Form1 and keep its default name: TextBox1. Set the font of the text box to be MingLiu.
  5. Add two CommandButtons to Form1.
  6. Add the following code to the code window of Form1:
          Private Sub Command1_Click()
            ' create a Unicode text file with Chinese character
            ' Dan1 and English character D.
            Dim a(0 To 5) As Byte
            a(0) = &HFF
            a(1) = &HFE
            a(2) = &H39
            a(3) = &H4E
            a(4) = &H44
            a(5) = &H0
            Open "unicode.txt" For Binary As #1
            Put #1, , a
            Close #1
          End Sub
    
          Private Sub Command2_Click()
            Dim txtline As String
    
            ' you may need to change the path of the file
            Open "unicode.txt" For Binary As #1
    
            txtline = InputB(2, #1)  ' always FF FE, skip them
            txtline = InputB(4, #1)
    
            Close #1
    
            TextBox1.Text = txtline  ' display the string
          End Sub
    Note that the UNICODE text file always begins with the Bytes FF FE, which is why you need to skip these two bytes. Also note that to read UNICODE strings from a file, the file needs to be opened as binary and read using InputB.
  7. Run the application. Click Command1 to create the Unicode text file.
  8. Click Command2. The Chinese character Dan1 and the English character D are displayed correctly in the text box. You can also check the unicode.txt file by using notepad with MingLiu font.

REFERENCES

For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
177561 How To Add and Enable Additional Languages in Windows NT
224305 INFO: Usage and Redistribution of FM20.DLL [OffDev]

Properties

Article ID: 193540 - Last Review: March 7, 2005 - Revision: 1.4
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 5.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Enterprise Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbunicode kbctrl KB193540

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