How to Bind An Enum Name and Value to an ASP.NET DropDownList

I had recently written a blog post on How to Bind an ASP.NET DropDownList to an Enumeration with two lines of code. A devcurry reader mailed back asking if it was possible to bind an Enumeration Name and Value to the DropDownList. Here’s how:

<asp:DropDownList ID="DropDownList1" runat="server">


enum Speed
Low = 1,
Medium = 2,
High = 3
protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
Hashtable htSpeed = BindEnum(typeof(Speed));
DropDownList1.DataSource = htSpeed;
DropDownList1.DataValueField = "key";
DropDownList1.DataTextField = "value";
protected Hashtable BindEnum(Type speedEnum)
string[] enumNm = Enum.GetNames(speedEnum);
int[] enumVal = (int[])Enum.GetValues(speedEnum);

Hashtable htSpeed = new Hashtable();
for (int cnt = 0; cnt < enumVal.Length; cnt++)
htSpeed.Add(enumVal.GetValue(cnt), enumNm[cnt]);
return htSpeed;


    Friend Enum Speed
Low = 1
Medium = 2
High = 3
End Enum

Protected Sub
Page_Load(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As EventArgs)
Dim htSpeed As Hashtable = BindEnum(GetType(Speed))
DropDownList1.DataSource = htSpeed
DropDownList1.DataValueField = "key"
DropDownList1.DataTextField = "value"
End Sub

Protected Function
BindEnum(ByVal speedEnum As Type) As Hashtable
Dim enumNm() As String = System.Enum.GetNames(speedEnum)
Dim enumVal() As Integer = _
                  CType(System.Enum.GetValues(speedEnum), Integer())

Dim htSpeed As New Hashtable()
For cnt As Integer = 0 To enumVal.Length - 1
htSpeed.Add(enumVal.GetValue(cnt), enumNm(cnt))
Next cnt
Return htSpeed
End Function

Note 1: You need not have to explicitly create a HashTable and then bind it to a DropDownList,

as shown in this example. Instead, you can also directly (quick and dirty) use:

DropDownList1.Items.Add(new ListItem(string text, string value));

I although prefer it the HashTable way since I can refer it at multiple places and it also looks neat to keep stuff seperate in your code!

Note 2: If you want the DropDownList to be sorted based on the value, just reverse the loop.

Will you give this article a +1 ? Thanks in advance

About The Author

Suprotim Agarwal
Suprotim Agarwal, ASP.NET Architecture MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) works as an Architect Consultant and provides consultancy on how to design and develop Web applications.

Suprotim is also the founder and primary contributor to DevCurry, DotNetCurry and SQLServerCurry. He is the Editor of a Developer Magazine called DNC Magazine. He has also written two EBooks 51 Recipes using jQuery with ASP.NET Controls. and The Absolutely Awesome jQuery CookBook

Follow him on twitter @suprotimagarwal


2 Responses to "How to Bind An Enum Name and Value to an ASP.NET DropDownList"
  1. Anonymous said...
    September 17, 2009 at 12:39 AM


    Personally I would recommend using this approach instead:

    if (!Page.IsPostBack)
    this.DropDownList1.DataSource = Enum.GetValues(typeof(Speed));

    * The "if not Page.IsPostBack" check is important. Without it you will re-bind the list on every page load!

    Then in the code behind to get the value you simply use:

    Speed speed = (Speed)Enum.Parse(typeof(Speed), this.DropDownList1.SelectedValue);

    However if you do want to show the ID as the value then yours works fine but I would suggest that you change the name of the method 'BindEnum' to something like GetEnumValues as it is important that method names actually describe what the method is doing.

  2. Anonymous said...
    March 30, 2011 at 8:15 AM

    This doesn't allow sorting of the values in the dropdown.


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