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Showing Popup Menus

  • 5 minutes to read

Popup menus can be used in a number of ways. They can be displayed automatically as a result of end-user’s actions, or you can implement your own logic and show popup menus manually. See below to learn more.


Before customizing and using a popup menu, add a BarManager or RibbonControl to the form and ensure that the popup menu is bound to this BarManager/RibbonControl. By default, a popup menu being added to the form at design time automatically looks for a BarManager/Ribbon Control within the form, and if it’s found, binds itself to the located object via the PopupMenuBase.Manager/PopupMenuBase.Ribbon property. When creating the menu at runtime, you may need to manually bind it to a BarManager/Ribbon Control via these properties.

Automatic Display for Controls

It’s possible to associate a popup menu with a control and automatically display this menu when an end-user right-clicks the control. To assign a menu to a control, use the control’s external PopupContextMenu property. The external PopupContextMenu properties are added at design time for all controls within a form when you place a BarManager or RibbonControl component onto this form.

Add a popup menu to the form. Then, select a control and switch to the Properties window. Locate the external PopupContextMenu property and assign the popup menu to this property.


The menu assigned will be displayed at runtime when right-clicking within the control’s bounds.

Note that the external PopupContextMenu property is available only at design time. To associate a menu with a control via code, you can use the BarManager.SetPopupContextMenu method. Call BarManager.GetPopupContextMenu to retrieve the control’s popup menu.


Before you begin:

  • Drop the BarManager component onto the form.
  • Drop the SvgImageCollection component onto the form.
  • Add the following DevExpress SVG icons to the image collection: Copy, Paste, Add File, Folder.

The following example demonstrates how to create a popup menu and bind the menu to the Form. Right-click the form to invoke the menu (at runtime).

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Data;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using DevExpress.XtraBars;
using DevExpress.XtraEditors;

namespace DevExpressPopupMenu {
    public partial class Form1 : DevExpress.XtraEditors.XtraForm {
        public Form1() {
        private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e) {
            // Completes the BarManager's initialization (to allow its further customization on the form load)
            // Creates a popup menu.
            PopupMenu menu = new PopupMenu();
            menu.Manager = barManager1;
            // Specifies a collection of vector (SVG) icons.
            barManager1.Images = svgImageCollection1;
            // Creates and initializes the items.
            BarSubItem itemAdd = new BarSubItem(barManager1, "Add");
            BarButtonItem itemAddFile = new BarButtonItem(barManager1, "File", 2);
            BarButtonItem itemAddFolder = new BarButtonItem(barManager1, "Folder", 3);
            itemAdd.AddItems(new BarItem[] { itemAddFile, itemAddFolder });
            BarButtonItem itemCopy = new BarButtonItem(barManager1, "Copy", 0);
            BarButtonItem itemPaste = new BarButtonItem(barManager1, "Paste", 1);
            // Adds the items to the popup menu.
            menu.AddItems(new BarItem[] { itemAdd, itemCopy, itemPaste });
            // Creates a separator before the Copy item.
            itemCopy.Links[0].BeginGroup = true;
            // Attaches the popup menu to the form.
            barManager1.SetPopupContextMenu(this, menu);
            // Subscribes to the 'ItemClick' event handler to process item clicks.
            barManager1.ItemClick += BarManager1_ItemClick;
        void BarManager1_ItemClick(object sender, ItemClickEventArgs e) {
            XtraMessageBox.Show(string.Format("The '{0}' item was clicked.", e.Item.Caption));

The image below shows the result.

WinForms Popup Menu

Manual Display

To activate popup menus, you normally handle specific events. For instance, if you need to open a popup menu when an end-user right-clicks within a text box, you may want to handle the control’s MouseUp event. To open a menu, call PopupMenu.ShowPopup.


The following code displays a specific PopupMenu if the right mouse button is pressed:

private void Form1_MouseUp(object sender, System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs e) {
    if(e.Button == MouseButtons.Right)

Automatic Display for Bar Button Items

You can associate a dropdown control (including a PopupMenu object) with regular and large bar button items (BarButtonItem or BarLargeButtonItem). In this instance, this item displays a dropdown arrow and clicking this arrow shows the associated dropdown control below the item:


To associate a popup menu with a bar button item, use the BarButtonItem.DropDownControl property. In addition, the bar item’s BarButtonItem.ButtonStyle property must be set to BarButtonStyle.DropDown.