Visual Basic Controls & Functions


Visual Basic controls provide developers with the tools that retrieve and prompt users for software commands. Visual Basic has several common controls seen on Web and desktop forms, such as text boxes, drop-down lists, check boxes, labels and buttons. These controls perform specific tasks within a software application.

Text Boxes

  • A text box control is one of the most common controls seen on a Web or desktop form. A text box allows a user to enter text such as a name, address or comment. Text boxes are also multiline "text areas," which allow users to enter long paragraphs of information. Visual Basic treats text boxes as a string data type. This means programmers save the user response to string variables in the code.

Drop-Down Boxes

  • Drop-down boxes—known as a "ListBox" control in the code—provide a determined set of answers. List boxes are useful when the developer wants to set a limit on the answers received from the user. For instance, a drop-down box is used when a user selects a state of residence. Since only 50 states are available, a drop-down limits user input. It also standardizes data, so reports are easier to generate.

Check Boxes

  • Check boxes create check mark controls on a user form. Check boxes allow users to choose several options and answers on a Web or desktop form. Check boxes have a "true" or "false" value, so they are easily processed in the Visual Basic code.


  • A label displays text on a form that explains an adjacent text box. For instance, a text box that requires a user to enter a name has a label on its left that says "Enter your first name." Labels aren't accessible to the user, but programmers can change the control's text in the Visual Basic code.


  • Buttons are objects that provide a trigger for form processing. A button opens a window or processes user input. Buttons are one of the more common "clickable" objects on a Web page or desktop form. The action that occurs after the button is pressed is defined in the code for your Visual Basic application.

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