Guide: Using Tree Views


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This guide shows how to use tree views which are common on most major windows in


A tree view is a common user interface control used to organize information into a manageable hierarchy. makes extensive use the tree view since it can be used to find an individual entry in a large set of information without the hit-and-miss tactics of other systems.

Most systems group objects like customers, catalog items, orders, etc. into large groups or sets of records. In the worst case, they require you to step record-by-record through the set until you find a specific record. Best case, they give you a set of search fields that you fill, before giving you a smaller set of results that you can wade through, one at a time. Typically, you must repeat the process until you narrow the results to a usable size, but not too narrow that you eliminate valuable information. The tree view and the performance of eliminate the need for such hit-and-miss search tactics.

No pun intended, but the tree view works great for organizing trees. Tree view is actually named from the tree paradigm. A tree view is a set of child nodes within parent nodes, which in turn, are parents to other child nodes. The first node, or top node, is known as the root node. By expanding a parent node, you can reveal the child nodes contained within. A parent node that is expandable is denoted by a '+' or folder symbol. Nodes without symbols, called leaf nodes, do not have any further child nodes, and ultimately are the selectable object itself. Although this can sound rather complicated, the tree view is rather intuitive and easy to use.


There are a number of features common to all tree views in

  • Sort button used to change the sort order and optional nodes
  • Click the '+' or '-' or folder icon to expand and collapse nodes
  • Double-click a node's name to expand or collapse the node
  • Make your selection by clicking on a 'leaf' node
  • Select multiple leaf nodes by holding shift or control while clicking

Changing Tree Nodes and Tree Node Order

Most tree views have a Sort Order button which is used to change the sort order of the tree and the node types. Use the following procedure to change the tree node order.

1. Click the Sort Order button.

The Change Sort Order dialog appears with a list of relevant tree node sort types.

2. To change which type of nodes appear, check or clear the respective check box.

3. To change the order, click a node type (not the check box).

4. Click the Move Up or Move Down buttons.

  • Alternately, click, drag and drop the node type up or down the list.

5. Click the OK button.

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