Detecting a selection change on a JComboBox

Use an ActionListener.

Main.java:

import java.awt.image.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.*;
 
public class Main extends JFrame { 
   public Main() {
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      }); 
 
      Vector v = new Vector();
      v.add("first element");
      v.add("second element");
      v.add("third element");
      v.add("fourth element");
      v.add("fifth element");
 
      final JComboBox cb = new JComboBox(v);
      cb.addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
         public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ae) {
            System.out.println(cb.getSelectedItem());
         }
      });
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout(FlowLayout.LEFT, 10, 10));
      getContentPane().add(new JLabel("Select element:"));
      getContentPane().add(cb);
   } 
 
   public static void main(String []args) {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
      main.setSize(300, 150);
   }
}

Creating a JComboBox that doesn’t close when I click one of its JCheckBox items

Main.java:

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;
import java.util.*;
 
public class Main extends JFrame
{
   public Main() {
      setDefaultCloseOperation(JFrame.EXIT_ON_CLOSE);
       
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
       
      Vector v = new Vector();
      v.add("Europe");
      v.add(new JCheckBox("Brussels", false));
      v.add(new JCheckBox("Paris", false));
      v.add(new JCheckBox("London", false));
      v.add("United States");
      v.add(new JCheckBox("New York", false));
      v.add(new JCheckBox("Detroit", false));
      v.add(new JCheckBox("San Francisco", false));
 
      getContentPane().add(new JComboCheckBox(v));
   }
    
   public static void main(String []args) {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setSize(300, 300);
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}

JComboCheckBox.java:

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
 
import javax.swing.plaf.ComboBoxUI;
import javax.swing.plaf.basic.*;
import javax.swing.plaf.metal.MetalComboBoxUI;
 
import com.sun.java.swing.plaf.motif.MotifComboBoxUI;
import com.sun.java.swing.plaf.windows.WindowsComboBoxUI;
 
import java.awt.*;
import java.util.*;
 
public class JComboCheckBox extends JComboBox 
{
   public JComboCheckBox() { 
      init(); 
   }
    
   public JComboCheckBox(JCheckBox[] items) { 
      super(items); 
      init(); 
   }
    
   public JComboCheckBox(Vector items) { 
      super(items); 
      init(); 
   }
    
   public JComboCheckBox(ComboBoxModel aModel) { 
      super(aModel); 
      init(); 
   }
    
   public void updateUI() {
      ComboBoxUI cui = (ComboBoxUI) UIManager.getUI(this);
      if (cui instanceof MetalComboBoxUI) {
         cui = new MetalNoCloseComboBoxUI();
      } else if (cui instanceof MotifComboBoxUI) {
         cui = new MotifNoCloseComboBoxUI();       
      } else if (cui instanceof WindowsComboBoxUI) {
         cui = new WindowsNoCloseComboBoxUI();
      }
       
      setUI(cui);
   }
    
   class MetalNoCloseComboBoxUI extends MetalComboBoxUI {
      protected ComboPopup createPopup() {
         return new NoCloseBasicComboPopup(comboBox);
      }
   }
 
   class WindowsNoCloseComboBoxUI extends WindowsComboBoxUI {
      protected ComboPopup createPopup() {
         return new NoCloseBasicComboPopup(comboBox);
      }
   }
 
   class MotifNoCloseComboBoxUI extends MotifComboBoxUI {
      protected ComboPopup createPopup() {
         return new NoCloseBasicComboPopup(comboBox);
      }
   }
    
   private void init() {
      setRenderer(new ComboBoxRenderer());
      addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
         public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ae) { 
            itemSelected(); 
         }
      });
   }
 
   private void itemSelected() {
      if (getSelectedItem() instanceof JCheckBox) {
         JCheckBox jcb = (JCheckBox)getSelectedItem();
         jcb.setSelected(!jcb.isSelected());
         repaint();
      }
   }
 
   class ComboBoxRenderer implements ListCellRenderer {
      private JLabel label;
      
      public ComboBoxRenderer() { 
         setOpaque(true); 
      }
      
      public Component getListCellRendererComponent(JList list, Object value, int index, 
                                                    boolean isSelected, boolean cellHasFocus) {
         if (value instanceof JCheckBox) {
            list.repaint();
         }
         if (value instanceof Component) {
            Component c = (Component)value;
            if (isSelected) {
               c.setBackground(list.getSelectionBackground());
               c.setForeground(list.getSelectionForeground());
            } else {
               c.setBackground(list.getBackground());
               c.setForeground(list.getForeground());
            }
            
            return c;
         } else {
            if (label==null) {
               label = new JLabel(value.toString());
            }
            else {
               label.setText(value.toString()); 
            }
            
            return label;
         }
      }
   }
 
   class NoCloseBasicComboPopup extends BasicComboPopup
   {
      public NoCloseBasicComboPopup(JComboBox combo) {
         super(combo);         
      }
   
      protected MouseListener createListMouseListener() {
         return new ListMouseHandler();
      }
   
      protected class ListMouseHandler extends MouseAdapter {
         public void mousePressed(MouseEvent e) {
         }
      
         public void mouseReleased(MouseEvent anEvent) {
            comboBox.setSelectedIndex(list.getSelectedIndex());
            Object o = list.getSelectedValue();
            if (! (o instanceof JCheckBox)) {
               hide();
            }
         }
      }   
   }   
}

Putting a JButton inside a JComboBox

Here’s an example:

import javax.swing.plaf.basic.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.*;
    
public class Main extends JFrame
{ 
   public Main() {
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
      
      final JButton buttonOk = new JButton("OK");
      buttonOk.addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
         public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ae) {
            System.out.println(ae.getActionCommand() + " clicked!");
         }
      });
      final JButton buttonCancel = new JButton("Cancel");
      buttonCancel.addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
         public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ae) {
            System.out.println(ae.getActionCommand() + " clicked!");
         }
      });
 
      final JComboBox combobox = 
         new JComboBox(new Object[] {
               "Item 1",
               "Item 2",
               "Item 3",
               buttonOk,
               "Item 4",
               "Item 5",
               buttonCancel
            }
         );
 
      getContentPane().add(combobox);
      combobox.setRenderer(new ButtonComboBoxRenderer());
      combobox.addActionListener(new ButtonComboBoxListener(this, combobox));
  
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      });      
   
      setSize(new Dimension(200, 200));
   } 
 
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}
 
class ButtonComboBoxRenderer extends BasicComboBoxRenderer implements ListCellRenderer
{
   public ButtonComboBoxRenderer() {
      super();
   }
   
   public Component getListCellRendererComponent( JList list, 
           Object value, int index, boolean isSelected, boolean cellHasFocus) {
      if (isSelected) {
          setBackground(list.getSelectionBackground());
          setForeground(list.getSelectionForeground());
      }
      else {
          setBackground(list.getBackground());
          setForeground(list.getForeground());
      }
 
      setFont(list.getFont());
      if (value instanceof Icon) {
         setIcon((Icon)value);
      }
      if (value instanceof JButton) {
         return (Component) value;
      }
      else {
         setText((value == null) ? "" : value.toString());
      }
 
      return this;
  }  
}
 
class ButtonComboBoxListener implements ActionListener {
   JComboBox combobox;
   JFrame frame;
 
   ButtonComboBoxListener(JFrame frame, JComboBox combobox) {
      this.frame = frame;
      this.combobox = combobox;
      combobox.setSelectedIndex(0);
   }
     
   public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
      Object selectedItem = combobox.getSelectedItem();
      if (selectedItem instanceof JButton) {
         ((JButton) selectedItem).doClick();
      }
   }
}

Invoking a JPopupMenu from a JComboBox

Add a MouseListener:

import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.*;
    
public class Main extends JFrame
{ 
   public Main() {
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
      
      final JComboBox combobox = new JComboBox(new String[] { "Item 1", "Item 2", "Item 3" });
      final JPopupMenu popup = new JPopupMenu();
      JMenuItem mi1 = new JMenuItem("Popup Item 1");
      JMenuItem mi2 = new JMenuItem("Popup Item 2");
      popup.add(mi1);
      popup.add(mi2);
 
      ((JButton) combobox.getComponent(0)).addMouseListener(new MouseAdapter() {
         public void mousePressed(MouseEvent me) {
            if (me.isPopupTrigger()) {
               popup.show(combobox, me.getX(), me.getY());
            }
         }
 
         public void mouseReleased(MouseEvent me) {
            if (me.isPopupTrigger()) {
               popup.show(combobox, me.getX(), me.getY());
            }
         }
      });
 
      getContentPane().add(combobox);
  
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      });      
   
      setSize(new Dimension(200, 200));
   } 
 
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}

Creating an editable JComboBox

Use the method setEditable. Here’s an example:

import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;
   
public class Main extends JFrame
{ 
   public Main() {
      getContentPane().setLayout(new BorderLayout());
      final JComboBox combobox = new JComboBox();
      final JList list = new JList(new DefaultListModel());
 
      getContentPane().add(BorderLayout.NORTH, combobox);
      getContentPane().add(BorderLayout.CENTER, list); 
 
      combobox.setEditable(true);
      combobox.addItemListener(new ItemListener() {
         public void itemStateChanged(ItemEvent ie) {
            if (ie.getStateChange() == ItemEvent.SELECTED) {
               ((DefaultListModel) list.getModel()).addElement(combobox.getSelectedItem());
               combobox.insertItemAt(combobox.getSelectedItem(), 0);
            }
         }
      });
 
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      });      
   
      setSize(new Dimension(200, 200));
   } 
 
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}

Showing a different tooltip for every item in a JComboBox

Modify the behavior of the ListRenderer such that it includes the currently selected JComboBox item in determining the tooltip text. Here’s an example:

import javax.swing.plaf.basic.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.*;
    
public class Main extends JFrame
{ 
   public Main() {
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
      
      final JComboBox combobox = new JComboBox(new String[] { "Item 1", "Item 2", "Item 3" });
 
      getContentPane().add(combobox);
 
      combobox.setRenderer(new BasicComboBoxRenderer() {
         public Component getListCellRendererComponent(JList list, Object value, int index, boolean isSelected, boolean cellHasFocus) { 
            if (isSelected) { 
               setBackground(list.getSelectionBackground()); 
               setForeground(list.getSelectionForeground()); 
               if (index > -1) {
                  list.setToolTipText("Tooltip #" + new Integer(index).toString()); 
               }
            }
            else { 
               setBackground(list.getBackground()); 
               setForeground(list.getForeground()); 
            } 
            setFont(list.getFont()); 
            setText((value == null) ? "" : value.toString()); 
 
            return this; 
         }
      });
 
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      });      
   
      setSize(new Dimension(200, 200));
   } 
 
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}

Defining the size of a JComboBox

If you want to change the size of the JComboBox component itself, use:

   combobox.setPreferredSize(new Dimension(x, y));

If you want to have control over the popupwidth and popupheight, extend JComboBox and add the necessary functionality to a custom ComboBoxUI:
Main.java:

import javax.swing.plaf.metal.*;
import javax.swing.plaf.basic.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.*;
    
public class Main extends JFrame
{ 
   public Main() {
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
      
      Vector v = new Vector();
      for (int i=0; i<20; i++)
         v.addElement("ComboBox Item #" + i);
      SizedJComboBox combobox = new SizedJComboBox(v);
 
      combobox.setPopupWidth(190);
      combobox.setPopupHeight(30);
 
      getContentPane().add(combobox);
  
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      });      
   
      setSize(new Dimension(200, 200));
   } 
 
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}
 
class SizedJComboBox extends JComboBox {
   protected int popupWidth;
   protected int popupHeight;
 
   public SizedJComboBox(ComboBoxModel aModel) {
      super(aModel);
      setUI(new SizedComboBoxUI());
   }
 
   public SizedJComboBox(final Object[] items) { 
      super(items); 
      setUI(new SizedComboBoxUI());
   } 
 
   public SizedJComboBox(Vector items) { 
      super(items); 
      setUI(new SizedComboBoxUI()); 
   } 
 
   public void setPopupWidth(int width) { 
      popupWidth = width; 
   }
 
   public void setPopupHeight(int height) {
      popupHeight = height;
   } 
 
   public Dimension getPopupSize() { 
      Dimension size = getSize(); 
      if (popupWidth < 1) popupWidth = size.width; 
      return new Dimension(popupWidth, popupHeight); 
   } 
}
 
class SizedComboBoxUI extends MetalComboBoxUI {
   protected ComboPopup createPopup() { 
      BasicComboPopup popup = new BasicComboPopup(comboBox) { 
         public void show() { 
            Dimension popupSize = ((SizedJComboBox) comboBox).getPopupSize(); 
            popupSize.setSize(popupSize.width, popupSize.height < 1 ? getPopupHeightForRowCount(comboBox.getMaximumRowCount()) : popupSize.height); 
            Rectangle popupBounds = computePopupBounds( 0, 
                  comboBox.getBounds().height, popupSize.width, popupSize.height); 
            scroller.setMaximumSize(popupBounds.getSize()); 
            scroller.setPreferredSize(popupBounds.getSize()); 
            scroller.setMinimumSize(popupBounds.getSize()); 
            list.invalidate(); 
            int selectedIndex = comboBox.getSelectedIndex(); 
            if (selectedIndex == -1) { 
               list.clearSelection(); 
            } else { 
               list.setSelectedIndex( selectedIndex ); 
            } 
            list.ensureIndexIsVisible( list.getSelectedIndex() ); 
            setLightWeightPopupEnabled(comboBox.isLightWeightPopupEnabled()); 
 
            show(comboBox, popupBounds.x, popupBounds.y); 
         } 
      }; 
 
      popup.getAccessibleContext().setAccessibleParent(comboBox); 
      return popup; 
   } 
} 

Disabling some of the elements in a JComboBox

We wrap a JComboBox element in our ConditionalItem object that includes a boolean variable isEnabled. Now, in order to change the default behavior of the JComboBox, we need to handle two things: first blur out the elements that are disabled using our own renderer and second ensure the disabled elements cannot be selected by adding a ActionListener that selects the old selected element in case a disabled item was selected.

Main.java:

import javax.swing.plaf.basic.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.*;
    
public class Main extends JFrame
{ 
   public Main() {
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
      
      final JComboBox combobox = 
         new JComboBox(
            new ConditionalItem[] { 
               new ConditionalItem("Item 1"),
               new ConditionalItem("Item 2", false),
               new ConditionalItem("Item 3", false),
               new ConditionalItem("Item 4")
            }
         );
 
      getContentPane().add(combobox);
      combobox.setRenderer(new ConditionalComboBoxRenderer());
      combobox.addActionListener(new ConditionalComboBoxListener(combobox));
  
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      });      
   
      setSize(new Dimension(200, 200));
   } 
 
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}
 
class ConditionalComboBoxRenderer extends BasicComboBoxRenderer implements ListCellRenderer
{
   public Component getListCellRendererComponent(JList list, 
           Object value, int index, boolean isSelected, boolean cellHasFocus) {
      if (isSelected) {
        setBackground(list.getSelectionBackground());
        setForeground(list.getSelectionForeground());
      } else {
        setBackground(list.getBackground());
        setForeground(list.getForeground());
      } 
 
      if (!((Conditionable) value).isEnabled()) {
        setBackground(list.getBackground());
        setForeground(UIManager.getColor("Label.disabledForeground"));
      }
 
      setFont(list.getFont());
      setText((value == null) ? "" : value.toString());
      return this;
   }  
}
 
class ConditionalComboBoxListener implements ActionListener {
   JComboBox combobox;
   Object oldItem;
    
   ConditionalComboBoxListener(JComboBox combobox) {
      this.combobox = combobox;
      combobox.setSelectedIndex(0);
      oldItem = combobox.getSelectedItem();
   }
    
   public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
      Object selectedItem = combobox.getSelectedItem();
      if (!((Conditionable) selectedItem).isEnabled()) {
         combobox.setSelectedItem(oldItem);
      } else {
         oldItem = selectedItem;
      }
   }
}
 
class ConditionalItem implements Conditionable {
   Object  object;
   boolean isEnabled;
    
   ConditionalItem(Object object, boolean isEnabled) {
      this.object = object;
      this.isEnabled = isEnabled;
   }
    
   ConditionalItem(Object object) {
     this(object, true);
   }
   
   public boolean isEnabled() {
      return isEnabled;
   }
    
   public void setEnabled(boolean isEnabled) {
      this.isEnabled = isEnabled;
   }
    
   public String toString() {
      return object.toString();
   }
}
 
interface Conditionable {
   public boolean isEnabled();
   public void setEnabled(boolean enabled);
   public String toString();
}

Creating a JComboBox with a divider separator line

Create a cellRenderer that does not convert the element to a String in order to show it, but instead checks whether it is a JSeparator and returns that component instead. Then make sure the JSeparator itself cannot be selected by adding an ActionListener to the combobox.

Main.java:

import javax.swing.plaf.basic.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.*;
    
public class Main extends JFrame
{ 
   public Main() {
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout());
      
      final JComboBox combobox = 
         new JComboBox(new Object[] {
               "Item 1",
               "Item 2",
               "Item 3",
               new JSeparator(JSeparator.HORIZONTAL),
               "Item 4",
               "Item 5"
            }
         );
 
      getContentPane().add(combobox);
      combobox.setRenderer(new SeparatorComboBoxRenderer());
      combobox.addActionListener(new SeparatorComboBoxListener(combobox));
  
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      });      
   
      setSize(new Dimension(200, 200));
   } 
 
   public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
   }
}
 
class SeparatorComboBoxRenderer extends BasicComboBoxRenderer implements ListCellRenderer
{
   public SeparatorComboBoxRenderer() {
      super();
   }
   
   public Component getListCellRendererComponent( JList list, 
           Object value, int index, boolean isSelected, boolean cellHasFocus) {
      if (isSelected) {
          setBackground(list.getSelectionBackground());
          setForeground(list.getSelectionForeground());
      }
      else {
          setBackground(list.getBackground());
          setForeground(list.getForeground());
      }
 
      setFont(list.getFont());
      if (value instanceof Icon) {
         setIcon((Icon)value);
      }
      if (value instanceof JSeparator) {
         return (Component) value;
      }
      else {
         setText((value == null) ? "" : value.toString());
      }
 
      return this;
  }  
}
 
class SeparatorComboBoxListener implements ActionListener {
   JComboBox combobox;
   Object oldItem;
    
   SeparatorComboBoxListener(JComboBox combobox) {
      this.combobox = combobox;
      combobox.setSelectedIndex(0);
      oldItem = combobox.getSelectedItem();
   }
     
   public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
      Object selectedItem = combobox.getSelectedItem();
      if (selectedItem instanceof JSeparator) {
         combobox.setSelectedItem(oldItem);
      } else {
         oldItem = selectedItem;
      }
   }
}

Trapping a drop-down event on a JComboBox

Since JDK1.4, you can add a PopupMenuListener to your JComboBox and receive the events.

Main.java:

import javax.swing.event.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import javax.swing.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.awt.*;
 
public class Main extends JFrame { 
   public Main() {
      addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() {
         public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) {
            System.exit(1);
         }
      }); 
 
      Vector v = new Vector();
      v.add("first element");
      v.add("second element");
      v.add("third element");
      v.add("fourth element");
      v.add("fifth element");
 
      final JComboBox cb = new JComboBox(v);
      cb.addActionListener(new ActionListener() {
         public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ae) {
            System.out.println(cb.getSelectedItem());
         }
      });
 
      cb.addPopupMenuListener(new PopupMenuListener() {
         public void popupMenuCanceled(PopupMenuEvent e) {
            System.out.println("PopupMenuCancel Event");
         }
 
         public void popupMenuWillBecomeVisible(PopupMenuEvent e) {
            System.out.println("popupMenuWillBecomeVisible");
         }
 
         public void popupMenuWillBecomeInvisible(PopupMenuEvent e) {
            System.out.println("popupMenuWillBecomeInvisible");
         }
      });
      getContentPane().setLayout(new FlowLayout(FlowLayout.LEFT, 10, 10));
      getContentPane().add(new JLabel("Select element:"));
      getContentPane().add(cb);
   } 
 
   public static void main(String []args) {
      Main main = new Main();
      main.setVisible(true);
      main.setSize(300, 150);
   }
}