How do I update the GUI from another thread?


What is the simplest way to update a Label from another thread?

I have a Form on thread1, and from that I'm starting another thread (thread2). While thread2 is processing some files I would like to update a Label on the Form with the current status of thread2's work.

How can I do that?

2/18/2018 12:05:29 PM

Accepted Answer

For .NET 2.0, here's a nice bit of code I wrote that does exactly what you want, and works for any property on a Control:

private delegate void SetControlPropertyThreadSafeDelegate(
    Control control, 
    string propertyName, 
    object propertyValue);

public static void SetControlPropertyThreadSafe(
    Control control, 
    string propertyName, 
    object propertyValue)
  if (control.InvokeRequired)
    control.Invoke(new SetControlPropertyThreadSafeDelegate               
    new object[] { control, propertyName, propertyValue });
        new object[] { propertyValue });

Call it like this:

// thread-safe equivalent of
// myLabel.Text = status;
SetControlPropertyThreadSafe(myLabel, "Text", status);

If you're using .NET 3.0 or above, you could rewrite the above method as an extension method of the Control class, which would then simplify the call to:

myLabel.SetPropertyThreadSafe("Text", status);

UPDATE 05/10/2010:

For .NET 3.0 you should use this code:

private delegate void SetPropertyThreadSafeDelegate<TResult>(
    Control @this, 
    Expression<Func<TResult>> property, 
    TResult value);

public static void SetPropertyThreadSafe<TResult>(
    this Control @this, 
    Expression<Func<TResult>> property, 
    TResult value)
  var propertyInfo = (property.Body as MemberExpression).Member 
      as PropertyInfo;

  if (propertyInfo == null ||
      !@this.GetType().IsSubclassOf(propertyInfo.ReflectedType) ||
          propertyInfo.PropertyType) == null)
    throw new ArgumentException("The lambda expression 'property' must reference a valid property on this Control.");

  if (@this.InvokeRequired)
      @this.Invoke(new SetPropertyThreadSafeDelegate<TResult> 
      new object[] { @this, property, value });
          new object[] { value });

which uses LINQ and lambda expressions to allow much cleaner, simpler and safer syntax:

myLabel.SetPropertyThreadSafe(() => myLabel.Text, status); // status has to be a string or this will fail to compile

Not only is the property name now checked at compile time, the property's type is as well, so it's impossible to (for example) assign a string value to a boolean property, and hence cause a runtime exception.

Unfortunately this doesn't stop anyone from doing stupid things such as passing in another Control's property and value, so the following will happily compile:

myLabel.SetPropertyThreadSafe(() => aForm.ShowIcon, false);

Hence I added the runtime checks to ensure that the passed-in property does actually belong to the Control that the method's being called on. Not perfect, but still a lot better than the .NET 2.0 version.

If anyone has any further suggestions on how to improve this code for compile-time safety, please comment!

3/3/2015 12:52:09 AM

Exper Answer

The simplest way is an anonymous method passed into Label.Invoke:

// Running on the worker thread
string newText = "abc";
form.Label.Invoke((MethodInvoker)delegate {
    // Running on the UI thread
    form.Label.Text = newText;
// Back on the worker thread

Notice that Invoke blocks execution until it completes--this is synchronous code. The question doesn't ask about asynchronous code, but there is lots of content on Stack Overflow about writing asynchronous code when you want to learn about it.

9/16/2017 9:20:29 AM

Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with: Stack Overflow