[c#] ComboBox: Adding Text and Value to an Item (no Binding Source)

9 Answers

// Bind combobox to dictionary
Dictionary<string, string>test = new Dictionary<string, string>();
        test.Add("1", "dfdfdf");
        test.Add("2", "dfdfdf");
        test.Add("3", "dfdfdf");
        comboBox1.DataSource = new BindingSource(test, null);
        comboBox1.DisplayMember = "Value";
        comboBox1.ValueMember = "Key";

// Get combobox selection (in handler)
string value = ((KeyValuePair<string, string>)comboBox1.SelectedItem).Value;

In C# WinApp, how can I add both Text and Value to the items of my ComboBox? I did a search and usually the answers are using "Binding to a source".. but in my case I do not have a binding source ready in my program... How can I do something like this:

combo1.Item[1] = "DisplayText";
combo1.Item[1].Value = "useful Value"

This is similar to some of the other answers, but is compact and avoids the conversion to dictionary if you already have a list.

Given a ComboBox "combobox" on a windows form and a class SomeClass with the string type property Name,

List<SomeClass> list = new List<SomeClass>();

combobox.DisplayMember = "Name";
combobox.DataSource = list;

Which means that the SelectedItem is a SomeClass object from list, and each item in combobox will be displayed using its name.

Further to Adam Markowitz's answer, here is a general purpose way of (relatively) simply setting the ItemSource values of a combobox to be enums, while showing the 'Description' attribute to the user. (You'd think everyone would want to do this so that it would be a .NET one liner, but it just isn't, and this is the most elegant way I've found).

First, create this simple class for converting any Enum value into a ComboBox item:

public class ComboEnumItem {
    public string Text { get; set; }
    public object Value { get; set; }

    public ComboEnumItem(Enum originalEnum)
        this.Value = originalEnum;
        this.Text = this.ToString();

    public string ToString()
        FieldInfo field = Value.GetType().GetField(Value.ToString());
        DescriptionAttribute attribute = Attribute.GetCustomAttribute(field, typeof(DescriptionAttribute)) as DescriptionAttribute;
        return attribute == null ? Value.ToString() : attribute.Description;

Secondly in your OnLoad event handler, you need to set the source of your combo box to be a list of ComboEnumItems based on every Enum in your Enum type. This can be achieved with Linq. Then just set the DisplayMemberPath:

    void OnLoad(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
        comboBoxUserReadable.ItemsSource = Enum.GetValues(typeof(EMyEnum))
                        .Select(v => new ComboEnumItem(v))

        comboBoxUserReadable.DisplayMemberPath = "Text";
        comboBoxUserReadable.SelectedValuePath= "Value";

Now the user will select from a list of your user friendly Descriptions, but what they select will be the enum value which you can use in code. To access the user's selection in code, comboBoxUserReadable.SelectedItem will be the ComboEnumItem and comboBoxUserReadable.SelectedValue will be the EMyEnum.

An example using DataTable:

DataTable dtblDataSource = new DataTable();

dtblDataSource.Rows.Add("Item 1", 1, "something useful 1");
dtblDataSource.Rows.Add("Item 2", 2, "something useful 2");
dtblDataSource.Rows.Add("Item 3", 3, "something useful 3");

combo1.DataSource = dtblDataSource;
combo1.DisplayMember = "DisplayMember";
combo1.ValueMember = "ValueMember";

   //Get additional info
   foreach (DataRowView drv in combo1.Items)
         string strAdditionalInfo = drv["AdditionalInfo"].ToString();

   //Get additional info for selected item
    string strAdditionalInfo = (combo1.SelectedItem as DataRowView)["AdditionalInfo"].ToString();

   //Get selected value
   string strSelectedValue = combo1.SelectedValue.ToString();

Class creat:

namespace WindowsFormsApplication1
    class select
        public string Text { get; set; }
        public string Value { get; set; }

Form1 Codes:

namespace WindowsFormsApplication1
    public partial class Form1 : Form
        public Form1()
            List<select> sl = new List<select>();
            sl.Add(new select() { Text = "", Value = "" });
            sl.Add(new select() { Text = "AAA", Value = "aa" });
            sl.Add(new select() { Text = "BBB", Value = "bb" });
            comboBox1.DataSource = sl;
            comboBox1.DisplayMember = "Text";

        private void comboBox1_SelectedIndexChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)

            select sl1 = comboBox1.SelectedItem as select;
            t1.Text = Convert.ToString(sl1.Value);



You should use dynamic object to resolve combobox item in run-time.

comboBox.DisplayMember = "Text";
comboBox.ValueMember = "Value";

comboBox.Items.Add(new { Text = "Text", Value = "Value" });

(comboBox.SelectedItem as dynamic).Value

comboBox1.DisplayMember = "Value"; 
//to add 
comboBox1.Items.Add(new KeyValuePair("2", "This text is displayed")); 
//to access the 'tag' property 
string tag = ((KeyValuePair< string, string >)comboBox1.SelectedItem).Key; 

Better solution here;

Dictionary<int, string> userListDictionary = new Dictionary<int, string>();
        foreach (var user in users)

        cmbUser.DataSource = new BindingSource(userListDictionary, null);
        cmbUser.DisplayMember = "Value";
        cmbUser.ValueMember = "Key";

Retreive Data


You may use a generic Type:

public class ComboBoxItem<T>
    private string Text { get; set; }
    public T Value { get; set; }

    public override string ToString()
        return Text;

    public ComboBoxItem(string text, T value)
        Text = text;
        Value = value;

Example of using a simple int-Type:

private void Fill(ComboBox comboBox)
        object[] list =
                new ComboBoxItem<int>("Architekt", 1),
                new ComboBoxItem<int>("Bauträger", 2),
                new ComboBoxItem<int>("Fachbetrieb/Installateur", 3),
                new ComboBoxItem<int>("GC-Haus", 5),
                new ComboBoxItem<int>("Ingenieur-/Planungsbüro", 9),
                new ComboBoxItem<int>("Wowi", 17),
                new ComboBoxItem<int>("Endverbraucher", 19)


Don't know if this will work for the situation given in the original post (never mind the fact that this is two years later), but this example works for me:

Hashtable htImageTypes = new Hashtable();
htImageTypes.Add("JPEG", "*.jpg");
htImageTypes.Add("GIF", "*.gif");
htImageTypes.Add("BMP", "*.bmp");

foreach (DictionaryEntry ImageType in htImageTypes)
cmbImageType.DisplayMember = "key";
cmbImageType.ValueMember = "value";

To read your value back out, you'll have to cast the SelectedItem property to a DictionaryEntry object, and you can then evaluate the Key and Value properties of that. For instance:

DictionaryEntry deImgType = (DictionaryEntry)cmbImageType.SelectedItem;
MessageBox.Show(deImgType.Key + ": " + deImgType.Value);