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Token Edit Control

  • 8 minutes to read

The WinForms Token Edit Control allows users to select items from a drop-down menu. Selected items are displayed as blocks called tokens. Each block has a “Remove” button that allows users to quickly deselect this token.



Each token stores a unique value. At runtime, tokens show a description string, an optional image, and a hover background. Tokens are instances of the TokenEditToken class.


Token descriptions are stored in the TokenEditToken.Description property. You can handle the TokenEdit.CustomDrawTokenText event to replace text without changing Description property values.

private void tokenEdit1_CustomDrawTokenText(object sender, TokenEditCustomDrawTokenTextEventArgs e) {
    if (. . .) e.Info.PaintAppearance.DrawString(
        e.Cache, "Custom Text", e.Info.DescriptionBounds, e.Info.PaintAppearance.Font,
        Brushes.Black, e.Info.PaintAppearance.GetStringFormat());
    e.Handled = true;


Tokens store values in their TokenEditToken.Value properties. When a user selects a token, the control adds this token value to its BaseEdit.EditValue property. Depending on the Properties.EditValueType property value, the control’s EditValue can be a string, a BindingList, or an enumeration.


  • Every token must have a value.
  • Token values must be unique.
  • TokenEdit uses the ToString() method to compare token values. If you use objects of a custom class as token values, override the class ToString() method so that every object returns a unique value. See the following help topic for an example: How to: Use complex objects as token values.


Tokens can show images (glyphs) before or after their descriptions. When a user clicks an image, the control deselects this token.


private void CustomDrawTokenGlyph(object sender, TokenEditCustomDrawTokenGlyphEventArgs e) {
    if(. . .) {
        e.Handled = true;


The following table includes APIs that allow you to customize appearance settings of the Token Editor and tokens:

API Description
Properties.Appearance Gets the appearance settings used to paint the editor.
Properties.AppearanceDisabled Gets the appearance settings used to paint the editor when it is disabled.
Properties.AppearanceDropDown Gets the appearance settings of the dropdown.
Properties.AppearanceFocused Gets the appearance settings used to paint the editor when it is focused.
Properties.AppearanceReadOnly Gets the appearance settings used to paint the read-only editor.
CustomDrawTokenBackground Allows you to manually paint the background of tokens.
CustomDrawTokenText Allows you to paint the text area of tokens.

Add Tokens

Token Edit supports two token types:

  • unbound tokens that you add at design time or in code.
  • bound tokens that the control generates based on data source records.

Note that you cannot mix token types: if a control has a data source, unbound tokens are disabled.

Unbound Tokens

Unbound tokens are stored in the Properties.Tokens collection. To add unbound tokens, click the ellipsis button next to the Tokens property in the Visual Studio Properties window, and use the Collection Editor dialog.


To add unbound tokens in code, call Tokens collection methods between the BeginUpdate-EndUpdate method calls.

tokenEdit1.Properties.Tokens.AddToken("Description string", "value");
// ... add more tokens

Bound Tokens

Use the Properties.DataSource property to bind a control to a data source, and specify two more properties:

Data-bound properties of TokenEdit at design time

tokenEdit1.Properties.DataSource = queryBindingSource;
tokenEdit1.Properties.DisplayMember = "EmailAddress";
tokenEdit1.Properties.ValueMember = "EmailAddressID";

The drop-down window that contains tokens can be opened if the following options are enabled:

  • ShowDropDown — specifies whether the drop-down window is shown when the user starts typing into the edit box. The drop-down window contains only tokens that start with the entered text. If there are no tokens that start with this text, all tokens are shown.
  • ShowDropDownOnClick — specifies whether the drop-down window is shown when the user clicks within the edit box. The drop-down window contains all available tokens.


If the user has selected all available tokens, the drop-down window is not opened. You can also use the MaxTokenCount property to specify the maximum number of tokens that the user can select. If this value is reached, the drop-down window is not opened.

The list below enumerates drop-down menu settings.

  • In Regular mode, the drop-down menu width is always equal to the editor width.
  • In Outlook mode, the drop-down menu width is limited by the longest token. The menu is displayed under the current cursor position.

Add Tokens at Runtime

To allow users to add new tokens at runtime, switch the Properties.EditMode property to TokenEditMode.Manual. In this mode, users can type any text in the editor text box. When they type a separator character (the default separator is a comma (“,”); you can add more to the Separators collection), the editor fires an event that allows you to process the user input.

In unbound mode (when a Token Edit has no data source), the editor fires the ValidateToken event. If you set the event’s e.IsValid parameter to true, the editor accepts the entered text as a new token.

The code sample below illustrates how to accept only email addresses as tokens.

Validating email addresses in DevExpress Token Edit

using System.Text.RegularExpressions;

Regex MailRegex =
    new Regex(@"^[-a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~]+(?:\.[-a-z0-9!#$%&'*+/=?^_`{|}~]+)*" +
    "@(?:[a-z0-9]([-a-z0-9]{0,61}[a-z0-9])?\\.)*" +
    "(?:aero|arpa|asia|biz|cat|com|coop|edu|gov|" +

private void ValidateToken(object sender, TokenEditValidateTokenEventArgs e) {
    e.IsValid = MailRegex.IsMatch(e.Description);

In bound mode, the editor fires the ProcessNewValue event. Handle it to check the user input, and if you accept it as a valid token, add a corresponding new record to the data source.

void TokenEdit1_ProcessNewValue(object sender, TokenEditProcessNewValueEventArgs e) {
    if (MailRegex.IsMatch(e.Text)) {
        //use data source API to post changes
        e.Handled = true;

Select and Remove Tokens in Code

The Token Editor stores its selected tokens within the SelectedItems collection. This is a read-only collection. Use the SelectItem(Object) and RemoveItem(Object) methods to select and remove tokens.

using DevExpress.XtraEditors;

// Selects the specified token.

// Removes the specified token.

The following example shows how to remove checked tokens.

using DevExpress.XtraEditors;

// Removes the checked tokens.
List<TokenEditToken> checkedTokens = tokenEdit1.CheckedItems.ToList<TokenEditToken>();
foreach(TokenEditToken token in checkedTokens)

Peek Panel

To display a Peek Panel when a user moves the mouse pointer over a token, assign a FlyoutPanel to the Properties.PopupPanel property.

Before a panel is displayed on-screen, the editor fires the RepositoryItemTokenEdit.BeforeShowPopupPanel event.

Event arguments expose the following properties:

  • e.Token - the hovered token;
  • e.Value, e.Description - the value and description of the hovered token;
  • e.DataObject - in bound mode, returns an Object that is the data source record. In unbound mode, returns the hovered token as an Object.
  • e.DataSourceIndex - in bound mode, returns the index of a data source record. In unbound mode, returns the index of the hovered token within the RepositoryItemTokenEdit.Tokens collection.
  • e.Bounds - flyout panel bounds.

The code below populates two flyout panel labels with the token description and the value of the corresponding data source record’s “Modified Date” column.

Flyout Panel with Custom Label Text assigned on the BeforeShowPopupPanel event

void TokenEdit1_BeforeShowPopupPanel(object sender, TokenEditBeforeShowPopupPanelEventArgs e) {
    labelControl2.Text = e.Token.Description;
    labelControl4.Text = (e.DataObject as DevExpress.DataAccess.Sql.DataApi.IRow)["ModifiedDate"].ToString();

Optional Peek Panel settings: