Open and Save File Dialog (VB.Net)


OpenFileDialog and SaveFileDialog are both Microsoft .Net components. You can see them on the toolbox under the tab Dialogs. The main purpose of this pair of dialogs is to facilitate the programmer to add the visual interface for program user to open and save files on local disk or network.

Open File Dialog


Save File Dialog


From the above pictures the difference between the visual interfaces is very much clear, but there is not much difference in the use. The below example will show you the usage of each dialog as we can use it generally in our application.

Private IsFileReadOnly As Boolean

Here code defines the flag for file status that is file is opened in read only mode or editable mode. This flag could be used in the save or edit options to verify that whether the file is read only or editable. In the later code you will see how it is used.

  Dim OpenFile As New OpenFileDialog

        'displays the text as title of dialog
        OpenFile.Title = "Open Text File"

        'Implementing filter on open file dialog
  OpenFile.Filter = "TextFile (*.txt;*.rtf)|*.txt;*.rtf|Batch File (*.bat)|*.bat|All Files (*.*)|*.*"

  'Setting the initial directory for your datafile
  OpenFile.InitialDirectory = System.Environment.GetFolderPath(Environment.SpecialFolder.Desktop)

  'Enabling the option for readonly check box on file dialog
  OpenFile.ShowReadOnly = True

        If OpenFile.ShowDialog() = Windows.Forms.DialogResult.OK Then

  'checking the the read only option
  If OpenFile.ReadOnlyChecked = True Then
  MsgBox("You are opening the file as read only. You would not be able to save changes")
  IsFileReadOnly = OpenFile.ReadOnlyChecked 'setting global option for read only
            End If

            'procedure to read text file into text box

  'displays the file name on form title bar
  Me.Text = OpenFile.SafeFileName
        End If


The above code is the part of the application where user clicks the menu or button for opening the existing file. In code we have used some properties to set the initial behaviour of the OpenFileDialog.

The property Title sets the title text, which appears on the title bar of the dialog. You can sent any value but it is preferable to give such title that describes the type or use of file Intended for open.

The Filter is an other significant property, which is frequently used in application. It limits the user for the type of files that application can support. The filter string contains a description of the filter, followed by the vertical bar (|) and the filter pattern. The strings for different filtering options are separated by the vertical bar. You can add several filter patterns to a filter by separating the file types with semicolons.

” TextFile (*.txt;*.rtf)|*.txt;*.rtf|Batch File (*.bat)|*.bat|All Files (*.*)|*.* “

The InitialDirectory is used to initially point the location, where application is configured to store its data files, documents, pictures, etc. it is not necessary to use this property but it is a best practice to take the application user at the location which is marked by the application for storing its custom type files. Anyhow user is not bound, he/she may go to any location by navigating through the interface.

ShowReadOnly Property, enables or disable the check box on visual interface. This check box is used to get input from user to specify that the file, he is going to open is read only. The status of this check box can be retrieve through an other property ReadOnlyChecked, you can set the value in some global flag that you can use later in your application, as described above.

SafeFileName property returns the file name along with its extension without path.

Below is source for opening the text file, will be discuss in some other blog in detail.

  'Procedure to read the text file from the harddisk
  Dim fileContents As String
  fileContents = My.Computer.FileSystem.ReadAllText(FName)

        TextBox1.Text = fileContents


The usage of SaveFileDialog is almost the same except for few properties, which I explained below.

  If IsFileReadOnly = True Then
  MsgBox("The file is read only.")
            Exit Sub
        End If

  Dim SaveFile As New SaveFileDialog

        'displays the text as title of dialog
        SaveFile.Title = "Save Text File As"

  SaveFile.DefaultExt = "txt"

        'Implementing filter on open file dialog
        SaveFile.Filter = "TextFile (*.txt;*.rtf)|*.txt;*.rtf|Batch File (*.bat)|*.bat|All Files (*.*)|*.*"

  'Setting the initial directory for your datafile
        SaveFile.InitialDirectory = System.Environment.GetFolderPath(Environment.SpecialFolder.Desktop)

  SaveFile.OverwritePrompt = True

        If SaveFile.ShowDialog = Windows.Forms.DialogResult.OK Then

            'call save file procedure

  'displays the file name on form title bar
            Me.Text = System.IO.Path.GetFileName(SaveFile.FileName)

  MsgBox("File has Saved")
        End If



In the above code I have used the global Flag IsFileReadOnly, which I used here to restrict the application to save the read only file. It prompts the user that file is read only and you can not save file.

In this code I used the DefaultExt property to specify the file extension, when user is saving the file without giving the extension, this default extension is used.

OverwritePrompt  property, prompts the user that he/she is going to overwrite the existing file, with the option of yes and no. Here user can decide to overwrite or not.

The below code  is used to save the text file on the given location.

My.Computer.FileSystem.WriteAllText(FName, TextBox1.Text, False)

I hope this would be quite informative and help full to you. Please don’t forget to leave comments.

Have Fun !

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