TextBox justify text

Is it possible to Justify (not center) text in TextBox? I am aware of

txt.TextAlign = HorizontalAlignment.Left;

for example, but is it possible to justify it left AND right?


I think what the OP is going for is this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justification_(typesetting) then look under this heading

Justified (flush left and right)

I am afraid there is no easy way to do this. You would need to do as Damith suggested and create a custom control for it, and even that wont be easy, because every time you enter a letter, your text spacing will shrink and it will look funny. If you are wanting to do a read-only textbox, that could be done, but if you want the user to add text to it... I think you would need a real good reason to take the time to implement this.

This is a slippery slope, and as already indicated, a custom control is really needed. However, if you are like me and just want to display textbox data justified, such as in an About Box or some other dialog, this is doable by using a PictureBox and rendering it to it while keeping the actual textbox hidden. One needs to replace the spaces with special codes to indicate the pixel width for the spacing. Being a vetran of many dozens of printer drivers, this is old hat to me. I will provide the code to do this below, though I am not sure how well it will render on this web page. Maybe they can reformat it, or if they ask, I will send them the straight code. Although I am an Assembler and C/C++ developer, I have fallen in love with VB.NET and have written it in VB (I can write in tweo hours what used to take me two weeks in C++).

To use this code, which consists of a JustifyTextBox() method and a JustifyText_Paint() event, sinply place the desired TextBox and format it where you want it. Then invoke the JustifyTextBox() method by providing it with your TextBox, such as JustifyTextBox(Me.MyTextBox), and you are off to the rwaces. It takes care of all PictureBox object creation and painting chore. You can apply this to as many TextBoxes as you require. It is not tied to one object (that would defeat the object oriented pardigm, manyway).

Here are the two methods required:

' Method Name : JustifyTextBox
' Copyright (c) David Ross GOben March 10, 2013. All rights reserved.
' Purpose     : Reformat spacing in a textbox to allow for variable spacing, exactly
'             : as a printer driver will process spacing for justification.
'             : Having written many dozens of printer drivers over the years, this
'             : is old hat. By the way, though you can do this with a RichTextBox,
'             : you really should consider interpreting the RTF code to properly
'             : render everything else, otherwise, if you were to simply replace
'             : the TextBox casting to a RichTextBox, it would only process the
'             : data from its Text property, so pretty text and coloring and font
'             : typeface, size, and enhancements will not display in the PictureBox.
' Set up your code to use the JustifyTextBox() method and the JustifyText_Paint() event like this:
'    JustifyTextBox(TextBoxObjectToJustify)    'create a PictureBox control to justify the text, and hide this TextBox
'                                              'This will also link the created PictureBox's Paint() event to JustifyText_Paint
' NOTE: You can duplicate the above code for as many text boxes as you require.
'       Also, there is no need to render them ReadOnly, because the user will not
'       be able to access them through the user itnerface.
Private Sub JustifyTextBox(ByRef TxtBox As TextBox)
    Dim picImage As PictureBox = New PictureBox                             'create a PictureBox object (The textBox data will be painted to this)
    With picImage
        .Location = TxtBox.Location                                         'locate the PictureBox to the provided TextBox control
        .Size = TxtBox.Size                                                 'size it to the textbox boundaries
        .Tag = TxtBox                                                       'save a reference to the textbox for use during printing
        .Parent = TxtBox.Parent                                             'set parent so it will display when the parent is displayed
        AddHandler picImage.Paint, AddressOf JustifyText_Paint              'attach an event handler to the picture box's paint event
        TxtBox.Visible = False                                              'render the associated textbox invisible
    End With
    With TxtBox
        Dim TextSize As Size = TextRenderer.MeasureText("W y", .Font)       'get pixel width of "W y"
        Dim Yinc As Int32 = TextSize.Height                                 'get vertical spacing to increment lines
        Dim SpcSize As Int32 = TextSize.Width                               'save measurement (we will adust the Space Size variable property in a second)
        TextSize = TextRenderer.MeasureText("Wy", .Font)                    'get pixel width of "Wy", without the space
        SpcSize = SpcSize - TextSize.Width - 1                              'compute the width of a space (drop 1 more for proper rendering)
        Dim SpcInit As Int32 = 128 + SpcSize                                'initial size of space and ecoding of space codes (spacing size + 128)

        Dim CurlineIdx, NxtLineIdx, cAsc As Int32                           'used variables
        Dim LastLine As Int32 = .GetLineFromCharIndex(Len(.Text))           'get the last line index of the TextBox, offset from zero

        Dim Result As String = Nothing                                      'init encoded result
        Dim Txt As String = Nothing                                         'string to hold each line of text in the TextBox
        Dim Tmptext As String                                               'copy of Txt that is altered

        For Idx As Int32 = 0 To LastLine                                    'process each line (offset from 0)
            CurlineIdx = .GetFirstCharIndexFromLine(Idx)                    'get start of the indicated line number line
            If Idx = LastLine Then                                          'at the last line of text data in the TextBox (if so, we do not need to justify it?
                Txt = RTrim(.Text.Substring(CurlineIdx))                    'yes, so simply grab the text of the line from the start character index to the end of the text data
                Tmptext = Txt                                               'make a copy to TmpText
            Else                                                            'otherwise... grab the current line of text from the TextBox
                NxtLineIdx = .GetFirstCharIndexFromLine(Idx + 1)            'not the last line, so get the index to the start of the next line
                Txt = RTrim(.Text.Substring(CurlineIdx, NxtLineIdx - CurlineIdx)) 'grab the text of the current line. Also remove any trailing spaces
                If Len(Txt) <> 0 AndAlso VB.Right(Txt, 2) = vbCrLf Then     'does the current line end with CR/LF?
                    Tmptext = RTrim(VB.Left(Txt, Len(Txt) - 2))             'yes, so strip CR/LF and strip any spaced leading them. There is no need to justify this line
                ElseIf Len(Txt) = 0 Then                                    'otherwise, if the text notains NO data...
                    Tmptext = Nothing                                       'then simply make the line blank and do nothing else
                Else                                                        'otherwise... we have to encode the line to justify it
                    Tmptext = Txt                                           'get a copy of this string, which we will use to encode
                    TextSize = TextRenderer.MeasureText(Tmptext, .Font)     'get its current size
                    Dim SpcNeeded As Int32 = .Width - TextSize.Width        'compute number of pixels to add
                    If SpcNeeded > 0 Then                                   'do we need to add spacing? (allow for negative result)
                        Tmptext = Join(Split(Tmptext, " "), Chr(SpcInit))   'yes, so first replace spaces with special code for point-size spacing
                        Dim Idy As Int32 = 1                                'init column start index (used to skip over leading spaces)
                        Do While Asc(Mid(Tmptext, Idy, 1)) > 127
                            Idy += 1                                        'skip past leading spaces (indent)
                        Dim AddedSpacing As Boolean = False                 'set up a flag to deterct if we added any spacing to the line
                        Do While SpcNeeded <> 0                             'now loop through and add a pixel to each space in the text until there are none left to add
                            For Idz As Int32 = Idy To Len(Tmptext)          'scan through line data
                                cAsc = Asc(Mid(Tmptext, Idz, 1))            'get code
                                If cAsc > 127 Then                          'special space character?
                                    cAsc += 1                               'add 1 pixel to its size
                                    Mid(Tmptext, Idz, 1) = Chr(cAsc)        'stuff result back
                                    AddedSpacing = True
                                    SpcNeeded -= 1                          'drop 1 from count of spacing needed
                                    If SpcNeeded = 0 Then                   'have we added all the spaces we need?
                                        Exit For                            'yes, so do not add any more
                                    End If
                                End If
                            If Not AddedSpacing Then                        'if we could not add any space...
                                Exit Do                                     'then exit the loop
                            End If
                            AddedSpacing = False
                        Loop                                                'loop through the line again to add additional spacing
                    End If
                End If
            End If
            Result &= vbCrLf & Tmptext                                      'add TmpText data, manipulated or not, to the Result accumulator string
        Next                                                                'process the next line of code
        .Text = Mid(Result, 3)                                              'stuff the result back to the TextBox for storage, less the leading CR+LF
    End With
End Sub

' Method Name : JustifyText_Paint
' Purpose     : Draw text from a textbox onto a PictureBox control (created in the
'             : setup code), using special spacing codes inserted by JustifyTextBox().
'             :
' NOTE        : A reference to the associated Textbox is stored in the PictureBox's Tag property
' NOTE: You may notice that we seem to add 1 pixel to the width of the space character,
'       below, but we subtracted 1 pixel in the the JustifyTextBox() method. This is
'       originally subtracting 1. It also allows the right margin to reamin at its
'       straightest. I realize that this actually has to do something with the margins
'       applied in the TextRender.MeasureText() process, and even though I have tried to
'       set theTextFormatFlags to NoPadding and in various other ways, and even none
'       at all (as it is now), it dors not make one bit of difference, at all. However,
'       on average, with or without using the TextFormatFlags, if we subtract a pixel from
'       the space size and subtract 6 (typical margin of 3 pixels on either side) from
'       measuring each word, the alignment is about perfect. However, a side effect is
'       that some long words seem to almost butt up against a fllowing word. A hack around
'       that is to simply manually insert an extra space between these words in the textbox.
Private Sub JustifyText_Paint(sender As Object, e As PaintEventArgs)
    With DirectCast(DirectCast(sender, PictureBox).Tag, TextBox)
        Dim TextSize As Size = TextRenderer.MeasureText("X y", .Font)               'get size of sample text
        Dim Yinc As Single = CSng(TextSize.Height)                                  'keep height for adding lines in the picturebox
        Dim SpcSize As Single = CSng(TextSize.Width)                                'save the length result
        TextSize = TextRenderer.MeasureText("Xy", .Font)                            'grab the same text, but without the space (drop 1 more for proper rendering)
        SpcSize = SpcSize - CSng(TextSize.Width + 1)                                'compute space width (we are actually subtracting an addtional pixel)
        Dim txtMargin As Single = CSng(.Margin.Left + .Margin.Right)                'compute the margin allowance (MeasureText adds this to the width)
        Dim PosnX As Single = CSng(e.ClipRectangle.Left)                            'start postion to draw text in the picturebox
        Dim PosnY As Single = CSng(e.ClipRectangle.Top)

        Dim Tmptxt As String = Nothing                                              'init temporary text holder
        Dim Brsh As New SolidBrush(.ForeColor)                                      'get the brush for the text color to use from the textbox
        For Idx As Int32 = 1 To Len(.Text)                                          'scan each character in the master text
            Dim iChar As Int32 = Asc(Mid(.Text, Idx, 1))                            'grab the cascii code for the currently indexed character
            Select Case iChar
                Case Is > 127                                                       'special spacing character?
                    If Len(Tmptxt) <> 0 Then                                        'yes, so dump the temp text if it has accumulated data
                        TextSize = TextRenderer.MeasureText(Tmptxt, .Font)          'first grab the size of the text
                        e.Graphics.DrawString(Tmptxt, .Font, Brsh, PosnX, PosnY)    'then draw it
                        PosnX += CSng(TextSize.Width - txtMargin)                   'then bump the x offset, less the margin allowance
                        Tmptxt = Nothing                                            'clear the temp text buffer
                    End If
                    PosnX += CSng((iChar And 127))                                  'finally, bump the x offset by the spaceing code (pixel count + 128)
                Case 13                                                             'vbCr?
                    If Len(Tmptxt) <> 0 Then                                        'yes, so dump the temp text if it has accumulated data
                        e.Graphics.DrawString(Tmptxt, .Font, Brsh, PosnX, PosnY)    'then draw it
                        Tmptxt = Nothing                                            'clear the temp text buffer
                    End If
                    PosnX = CSng(e.ClipRectangle.Left)                              'reset the X offset to the left side
                    PosnY += Yinc                                                   'bump the line index to the next line position
                Case 32                                                             'Space?
                    If Len(Tmptxt) <> 0 Then                                        'yes, so dump the temp text if it has accumulated data
                        TextSize = TextRenderer.MeasureText(Tmptxt, .Font)          'first grab the size of the text
                        e.Graphics.DrawString(Tmptxt, .Font, Brsh, PosnX, PosnY)    'then draw it
                        PosnX += CSng(TextSize.Width - txtMargin)                   'then bump the x offset, less the margin allowance
                        Tmptxt = Nothing                                            'clear the temp text buffer
                    End If
                    PosnX += SpcSize                                                'bump index by a space size
                Case 10                                                             'vbLf? If so, ignore it
                Case Else                                                           'normal character
                    Tmptxt &= Chr(iChar)                                            'add the character to the temp text buffer
            End Select

        If Len(Tmptxt) <> 0 Then                                                    'dump the temp text if it has accumulated data
            e.Graphics.DrawString(Tmptxt, .Font, Brsh, PosnX, PosnY)                'then draw it
        End If
        Brsh.Dispose()                                                              'finally, dispose of the used brush resource
    End With
End Sub

Alignment can be given to Center as to justify in left AND right

textBox1.TextAlign = HorizontalAlignment.Center;

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