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A Blog about Graphics Programming, Game Programming, Tips and Tricks

How to Convert a Console App into a Windows App in C# – Part Two

Posted by gregd1024 on February 9, 2008

As I promised in yesterday’s post, I’m now going to show you an even easier way to convert a C# console application into a regular Windows application. Since the steps are nearly identical, I’m just going to focus on the key points instead of writing the same thing as before.

First, perform the following steps:

  • Create a regular C# console application or open one of your own.
  • Add the following two references to your project and the corresponding “using” statements on top of the main source file:

using System.Drawing

using System.Windows.Forms

  • Remove the “args” string array parameter from the Main() function.
  • Add “Application.EnableVisualStyles();” as the first call in the Main() function.
  • Change the “Output type” of your project from “Console Application” to “Windows Application.”

Now for the fun part (the part that’s different from my last post). Do the following:

  • Change the “Program” class to derive from “System.Windows.Forms.Form.”
  • Add “Application.Run(new Program());” as the last call in the Main() function.

At this point your “Program” class should look like this:

class Program:System.Windows.Forms.Form

{

   static void Main()

   {

      Application.EnableVisualStyles();

      Application.Run(new Program());

   }

}

We’re almost done. In fact, you can run the program now and you’ll see a blank form. But you won’t be able to place any controls on it. Well, actually that’s not true – you can place controls, but the form will still be blank at runtime. The last step is:

  • Add a constructor to the “Program” class and call “InitializeComponent()” inside it:

class Program:System.Windows.Forms.Form

{

   Program() // ADD THIS CONSTRUCTOR

   {

      InitializeComponent();

   }

 

   static void Main()

   {

      Application.EnableVisualStyles();

      Application.Run(new Program());

   }

}

“InitializeComponent()” will not be defined yet. However, the Form Designer will create this function as soon as any control is placed on the form or its layout is modified. You may have noticed that the icon next to “Program.cs” (in Solution Explorer) has changed to a form instead of the one representing a code file:

console_convert_2_icon_change 

This means you can double-click on it and Visual Studio will open the Form Designer instead of going to the source. Try this:

  1. Double click on Program.cs.
  2. Change the form’s size in the Designer.
  3. Go back to the source window of Program.cs.

Now you should see the “InitializeComponent()” function defined underneath “Main().” Your “Program” class will now look like this:

class Program:System.Windows.Forms.Form
{
   Program()
   {
      InitializeComponent();
   }
     
   static void Main()
   {
      Application.EnableVisualStyles();
      Application.Run(new Program());
   }

 

   private void InitializeComponent() // DESIGNER WILL ADD THIS FUNCTION
   {
      this.SuspendLayout();
      //
      // Program
      //
      this.ClientSize = new System.Drawing.Size(367, 188);
      this.Name = “Program”;
      this.ResumeLayout(false);

 

   }
}

You’re done! šŸ™‚ Everything is contained in this one source file. The designer will keep on modifying “InitializeComponent()” whenever something changes in the form itself. It will also add the necessary member variables to the “Program” class whenever controls are placed on the form.

-Greg Dolley

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22 Responses to “How to Convert a Console App into a Windows App in C# – Part Two”

  1. Aqil Ahmed said

    Nice blog

  2. sakina said

    this thng is not workin for convertin a consle app into windows i hv a code written in console app n hv to convert it in win app n this method is not workin can u plz tell me how to convert it is it by convertin string?

  3. gregd1024 said

    Sakina, I don’t understand your question. What part isn’t working?

    -Greg

  4. steve said

    In console app, the System doesn’t have

    using System.Drawing;
    using System.Windows.Forms;

    -steve

  5. gregd1024 said

    Steve,

    Ah, I guess this part wasn’t clear. The previous tutorial shows that you have to add the dll references first, and then you can type in the “using” statements. So just click “Add Reference” when right-clicking on the references folder in Solution Explorer. Pick those two dll’s out of the list (“System.Drawing” and “System.Windows.Forms”).

    -Greg

  6. Anshuman said

    I have a console application project written in C. I have to convert it to a windows application (for windows mobile). Can you help?

  7. gregd1024 said

    Anshuman,

    I’d suggest downloading the Windows Mobile 6 Development SDK. That will give you a wizard where you can create a bare-bones C++ windows mobile app. From there you can figure out how to convert your C project.

    -Greg

  8. Abdullah said

    Man, I really do not know how to thank you. You can’t imagine how much time you saved me.

  9. Tom said

    But what do I convert Console.WriteLine() to use?

    • gregd1024 said

      Tom – Console.WriteLine() becomes ineffective in a WinForms app unless your program instantiates a console window along with the regular program form. I don’t think a lot of programmers are aware that you can have both at the same time. Having a console window in the background is helpful for printing debug messages, and is where Console.WriteLine() would write its output. But if you don’t have a console window in your WinForm app, then just delete the Console.WriteLine() lines of code – they become useless.

      -Greg Dolley

  10. Tom said

    Ultimately, what I want is a Windows version of a console program with a window that can be resized and a buffered page for writing to and reading from. Of course, it would be better if cmd.exe would allow widening that would be helpful, too.

  11. X said

    Would you just change all the Console.Writeline to a MessageBox.Show?

  12. Ryan said

    this is great, will it allow code created for form objects to access variables and functions in my original app?

    Also, in cmd you can make the window wider. Right click the title bar, properties, layout, width.

    • gregd1024 said

      Ryan, yes – you can access variables/functions in your original app through the “Program” static object or whatever you’ve named it. To access non static stuff, I’d pass in an instance of the Program object into the main Form constructor and save that instance in some class variable.

      -Greg Dolley

  13. Johann Pascher said

    For all who want to keep the original ConsloeWrite lines:

    (
    public class Win32
    {
    ///
    /// Allocates a new console for current process.
    ///
    [System.Runtime.InteropServices.DllImport(“kernel32.dll”)]
    public static extern Boolean AllocConsole();

    ///
    /// Frees the console.
    ///
    [System.Runtime.InteropServices.DllImport(“kernel32.dll”)]
    public static extern Boolean FreeConsole();
    }
    http://dotnetperls.com/textbox-appendtext

    Commandline Arguments:
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/programming/get-command-line-arguments-in-a-windows-forms-application/

  14. Johann Pascher said

    Cant edit but here is the link:
    http://www.thereforesystems.com/output-to-console-in-windows-forms-application/

  15. Shiney said

    Really Great Article :)-

  16. ravi k dake said

    hi,

    can any body tell how to convert windows 32 application to console application.

    please email to dakesun@gmail.com

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