TimoSoft ExplorerListView
ExplorerListView Documentation


ExplorerListView is an ActiveX control that may be used as a common listview as well as for shell-browsing. It is optimized for Visual Basic 6.0, but should also work in any other environment that supports COM controls.


The control superclasses the listview listview window class of Windows: SysListView32. Although I tried to wrap all features of this window class (status: Windows 10), some things may be missing. In these cases you usually may use the Win32 API and handle the control as a native listview window. One of my goals was it to create a listview control that may be controlled via API as well as via the classes that I implemented.
The control's contained edit and header controls are native edit respectively SysHeader32 windows of Microsoft Windows and may be controlled via API, too.


By "contained edit control" I mean the label-edit control as well as the filter-edit control.


ExplorerListView Unicode runs on the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP (SP3 or later)
  • Windows Server 2003 (SP2 or later)
  • Windows Vista (SP2 or later)
  • Windows Server 2008 (SP2 or later)
  • Windows 7 (SP1 or later)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (SP1 or later)
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows 10
  • Systems supported by Wine (Wine is a Win32 subsystem for alternative operating systems) - limited support
  • ReactOS (a free Windows XP clone) - limited support

Some features have additional requirements which are mentioned in the affected feature's documentation.
Limited support means, that I won't invest much work to support those systems. If a feature works on a system tagged with "limited support" - fine; if it does not and it's easy to fix, I'll fix it, but if it's difficult to fix, I probably won't fix it. Also I will test the control much less on those systems.


Although there's no entitlement to support, you've good chances to get help if you either post to the forums or send me a mail.
Bugs and feature requests should be entered into the bug tracking system.

ExplorerListView License

     License for use and distribution
     ExplorerListView Copyright (C) 2005-2016 Timo Kunze
     This library comes for free. You can redistribute it, but
     not modify it. If you use this library in your program,
     it would be nice (but isn't necessary) to mention its
     author Timo Kunze together with a link to his website
     http://www.timosoft-software.de in your software's
     About dialog.
     This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
     but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of


Thanks go to:

  • Wine Headquarters, because Wine helped me a lot on understanding how Windows is working.
  • Microsoft, for ATL, WTL and Visual Studio - great libraries and a great IDE
  • Geoff Chappell, for his website about undocumented Win32 API stuff.
  • Igor Tandetnik, for his great help on learning ATL and WTL
  • Dimitri van Heesch, for Doxygen
  • Nikos Bozinis, for his awesome help with the Vista drag'n'drop stuff.
  • Christian Lütgens, for his great work as beta-tester and for his help when I needed a 2nd opinion on some decisions.
  • All donators
  • For great music: Amon Amarth, Heaven Shall Burn, Arch Enemy, Deadlock, Draconian, Ensiferum, Epica, Sirenia, Tristania, Nightwish (with Tarja), Delain, Lacuna Coil, Battlelore, Volbeat, Dimmu Borgir, Guns N' Roses


1. Why is the Font property ignored?
It isn't. My controls have a property UseSystemFont which defaults to True. This property tells the control to use the system font rather than the font set by the Font property.
Why is this property's default True? Well, if I set system wide settings (like fonts) I expect all applications to follow them. Unfortunately ignoring system wide settings seems to be trendy, so see my decision as an educational measure.

2. Why is event xyz not fired?
Firing an event is relative time-consuming, even if the event isn't handled by the application at all. Therefore I implemented a DisabledEvents property which can be used to deactivate certain events.
By default many events are deactivated.

3. Why can't I compare ListViewItem objects using VB's Is operator?
The Is operator compares the objects by there memory address. To keep memory usage low and to ease internal item management, ExplorerListView creates objects, that wrap items or item collections, on the fly. Therefore you'll get different objects (with different addresses) for the same item. Because of the different addresses the Is operator handles the items as different ones.
To compare items, you should use the items' indexes or IDs.

4. The control doesn't seem to have full Unicode support if it is used in Visual Basic 6. Why?
The forms, that Visual Basic 6 is creating, are ANSI windows. Therefore they force the control's underlying native listview window class to use ANSI messages when communicating with the form. This breaks Unicode support in some situations. To work around this problem, the WM_NOTIFYFORMAT message must be reflected back to the control.
In Visual Basic, you must subclass the control's container window and send WM_NOTIFYFORMAT back to the window that it was sent for. In C++, message reflection works similar. The sample projects teach you how to reflect the message.