Quick Start

Table of Contents

Tutorial Prerequisites

Step-by-step tutorial

Installation Troubleshooting

Online Activation

Offline Activation

Migrating from .NET ListView

Learning Resources and Getting Support

Tutorial Prerequisites

Step-by-step Tutorial

Start with a new "Windows Forms Application" project. A designer with empty Form appears. Display the Toolbox window (View - Toolbox):

The Toolbox should contain a new tab called "ComponentOwl" containing all the installed component from ComponentOwl, including Better ListView.

If you chose not to integrate component in Visual Studio during installation or the component have not been successfully integrated, please follow the next steps.

Right-click on empty area of the Toolbox window and select "Choose Items...":

In the "Choose Toolbox Items" dialog, select the ".NET Framework Components" tab. If the comonent has been properly installed, it will be already listed here. If you find it, make sure the newest version is checked (e.g. instead of and click "OK":

If you need other than installed version (e.g. DLL to match for specific .NET Framework version) click on the "Browse..." button:

Browse for the betterlistview.dll file containing the component.

The location depends on where you installed the product. The default location is:

C:\Program Files\Component Owl\Better ListView\Redistributable

You can choose the file right within "Redistributable" folder. This is .NET 2.0 component compatible with .NET Framework 2.0 or higher. If you want binary for a specific .NET version or Client Profile, choose the file from ".NET Framework Specific" folder:

Make sure the check box next to "BetterListView" is checked and click "OK":

Now the component should appear in your Toolbox:

Select the component and place it on designer surface:

Now you can design Better ListView the same way as any other control:

Installation Troubleshooting

If the component does not appear in Toolbox, make sure that your target framework version is a full-featured .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 or 4.0. The Compact Framework is not supported.

You can also try the "Reset Toolbox" option from the Toolbox context menu, restart Visual Studio and try to add the control again.

Sometimes even the Toolbox can get corrupted (known issue on Visual Studio 2010) and its cache needs to be cleared. Simply remove all ".tbd" files from this folder:

Vista/Windows 7:


Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\<user directory>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\*.tbd

Make sure the Visual Studio is not running when removing the files. The Toolbox should reload its default items when opened.

Online Activation

By default, Better ListView runs in trial mode. The only limitations of trial version are watermark displayed on the control...

and an Activation Dialog, that appears on every application run:

There are three possible actions:

When activating Better ListView, you are asked for a serial key (obtained by pruchasing Better ListView):

Internet connection is required to activate Better ListView. If you need to activate the product off-line, please contact us.

When the Better ListView is activated, it uses the standard licensing scheme of .NET. When a form is created or opened in Windows Forms Designer, a licenses.licx file is updated in your project and the trial version notification disappears.

Offline Activation

If the activation is blocked by a firewall or proxy server, you can activate Better ListView offline.

First, call the following static method from code:


A dialog appears containing your computer ID:

Please copy this code to clipboard (Control+C) and send us the code along with your serial number you obtained when purchased the product to support@componentowl.com.

The serial number is a 16-character code the identifies your purchased product, e.g.:

The computer ID is rather longer code that is unique to your machine:

With this information, we will generate a license file and send it to back to you via e-mail.

You can find a file license-blv.dat in the e-mail attachment we send in reply. Please copy this file in the following path (and create the folder Component Owl if it does not exist):

Windows 7, 8, Vista:

c:\ProgramData\Component Owl\

Windows XP:

c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Component Owl\

Now just rebuild the project referencing Better ListView and you are done.

Please note the license works for specific product and specific computer. It won't work on other machines or with other Component Owl's products. You need to activate Better ListView for each machine on which you want to build projects.

Updating to Newer Version of Better ListView

If a new version of Better ListView is released, to update to newer version, simply download and install the new version. The installer will prompt for updating to a new version.

The DLL with the component (betterlistview.dll) is installed usually in Program Files folder, so if you use copies of the library on other locations on your disk, replace the old copies with the new version.

The licenses.licx file in your project may also point to an older version of Better ListView. To update licenses.licx open some form with Better ListView in Windows Forms Designer and compile. A new line will be added to the licenses.licx for the new version of the Better ListView. You can delete the line with the reference to older version, e.g.:

ComponentOwl.BetterListView.BetterListView, BetterListView, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=e6c91a3add447be2

should be switched to:

ComponentOwl.BetterListView.BetterListView, BetterListView, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=e6c91a3add447be2

if is the updated version of Better ListView. You can do the update of licenses.licx file with text editor within Visual Studio, if you know the new version number.

If you use Better ListView in separate project, you need to copy licenses.licx file to the main project as well.

Migrating from .NET ListView

We did our best to make Better ListView as similar to regular .NET ListView as possible while having all its extra features. Better ListView, however, is not a ListView-derived control - it is completely autonomous WinForms control. The following rules of thumb will help you to migrate from ListView to Better ListView:

To compare usage of .NET ListView and Better ListView, consider the following code using Better ListView instead the regular .NET ListView:


BetterListView listView = new BetterListView();

BetterListViewItem item = new BetterListViewItem("new item");


listView.View = BetterListViewView.List;

// ...

BetterListViewHitTestInfo hitTestInfo = listView.HitTest(new Point(0, 0));

Visual Basic

Dim listView As New BetterListView()

Dim item As New BetterListViewItem("new item")


listView.View = BetterListViewView.List

' ...

Dim hitTestInfo As BetterListViewHitTestInfo = listView.HitTest(New Point(0, 0))

Learning resources and getting support

The documentation and learning resources include:

You can find all these resources in Start Menu - ComponentOwl - Better ListView.

The C# and Visual Basic Samples are located at:

Windows 7, 8, Vista:

\Users\<user>\Documents\ComponentOwl\Better ListView Samples

Windows XP:

\Documents and Settings\<user directory>\My Documents\ComponentOwl\Better ListView Samples

Make sure the Visual Studio is not running when removing the files. The Toolbox should reload its default items when opened.

We will happily answer any of your questions and provide further assistance. Just email us at support@componentowl.com. Or, you can use the online form at www.componentowl.com/support.