Autofilter Add-on - AutoFilterManager

(iGrid.NET Control Tour, Step 7 of 9)

AutoFilterManager is an add-on component adding autofilter functionality to the 10Tec WinForms grid control. Its design and functionality were modelled on the autofilter dialog available in Microsoft Office apps to provide end users with a familiar interface. Despite this fact, the 10Tec autofilter implementation does not have restrictions of the Microsoft autofilter and gives end users a very handy tool that works great in real-world grids with a huge number of rows:

AutoFilter add-on to autofilter 10Tec WinForms grid control

The autofilter functionality is added to a grid at design time with no coding. You just drop the AutoFilterManager component onto the form and link it to the target grid through the Grid property - that's all.

Main features and benefits

  1. The filter button inside a column header indicates whether a filter is defined with a funnel icon. The effective filter criteria can be viewed in the filter button's tooltip without the need to open the autofilter dialog:

    AutoFilter filter button tooltip with filter expression
  2. The AutoFilterManager filter box is resizable and moveable. You can move it like a normal window using the title bar to a new position not to hide cell values in the filtered column and resize it to show more filter items inside the filter box:

    AutoFilter: move filter box
  3. The filter box has the Apply button one can use to adjust filter parameters and see the result of filtering in the target grid without closing and reopening the filter box over and over again.

  4. AutoFilterManager works with all basic data types like numbers, dates and strings, but can be also used to process all other data types including enumeration values and even custom objects. All iGrid cell types (normal text cells, combo box cells and check box ones) are supported. And there is no problem to apply filters to columns containing a mix of different cell types and cell values of different data types.

  5. The check list of existing items to filter displays only the items which are visible in the grid when the filters in other columns are in effect. This can save a lot of time when working with huge grids as the user will work only with the reduced list of available items but not all possible items from the grid.

  6. AutoFilterManager allows you to not only tick existing column items to filter by them, but also define a custom filter condition using major filter operators ("contains", "greater than", etc.). The custom filter can be used together with ticked items in contrast to the autofilter functionality from Microsoft Office in which you can either use the item list or custom filter criteria.

    AutoFilter custom filters

    AutoFilterManager has a simple but powerful set of custom filter operators. They are not specific to particular data types, and thus you can use string filters like "contains" to filter numeric or even date values. For more convenience, the custom operators are case-insensitive by default.

    One of the limitations of the Microsoft Office autofilter is just 2 custom filter conditions. AutoFilterManager allows you to define an unlimited number of them!

  7. AutoFilterManager provides excellent performance in huge grids with 100,000+ rows. The filter item list will never be empty like it can be in Microsoft Access if the number of unique items in a column exceeds 1,000.

  8. AutoFilterManager implements an option to apply the current filter to the target grid automatically as soon as any cell has been edited, or it can be delayed until the moment when the user issues the Reapply Filter command.

  9. The filter box allows the user to perform operations with the whole grid filter: saving to or restoring from a file, clearing filters from all columns:

    AutoFilter: save and restore filter

    All operations in the filter box can be performed from the keyboard. A column's filter box itself can be opened from the grid using a key or key combination defined by the developer.

  10. All interface strings of AutoFilterManager are customizable. You can change them or localize using the standard .NET localization technique which involves the Localizable and Language properties of the form. The colors and fonts of the filter box and filter button can be also adjusted to meet the application color scheme and style.

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