Creating Dynamic Checkbox Using C# In ASP.NET Web Forms

Creating dynamic elements means that a user can generate checkboxes on demand based on their input. In this short tutorial, we will learn how to create various functions to generate a checkbox.

We will use four types of objects: Checkbox list, text box, label, and button. All related objects will run at server.

First Scenario: User inputs number of checkbox that needs to be generated

In the ASP.NET web forms structure, there are two main parts: the front end part, which houses our HTML, CSS, and JS; and also the back end part, which run our code in server. There are also several web structures such as Single Page Application, MVP, etc. However, we first will use the traditional web forms (1 interface, 1 code behind) to keep our learning simple.

1. Accepting Input

To accept user input, we need a textbox object. Because the textbox will be loaded together with the page load, then we can directly write our object in the interface (.aspx), or, using the drag and drop toolbox (to activate it you can use Ctrl+Alt+X).

Inside the asp:Content, insert the textbox object. An object needs ID. We also tell our aspx that this textbox will be runat=”server”. Thus, we can gain control over it from our C# code. We also tell the aspx that our textbox has the AutoPostBack behavior which means that whenever the content is changed, the page will undergo a PostBack or “Reload”.

<p>Enter Number of Checkbox:<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" AutoPostBack="true"></asp:TextBox><asp:Panel ID="PnlControl" runat="server">


Searching the textbox object using toolbox (Ctrl+Alt+X):

The interface design after drag and drops:

We also need to put a Panel Control as a place to render our generated CheckBoxList.

2. Processing Input: (1) Page_Load and PostBack

After we set up the textbox, now the user can input the number. If there are any changes to the textbox, our code will request a postback. And nothing will happen!

In order to do something after the user inputs the number, we need to create a function that generates our checkboxlist every time the page is loaded.

As a rule of thumbs, Dynamically generated object needs to be regenerated every postback.

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e) {
    if (Page.IsPostBack) {

A void can be translated as “a function”. Hence, the code above is a function that runs every time a page is loaded due to user action, such as a postback request.

Inside this pageload function, we are going to check whether the page is postback or not using the isPostBack method. The page is our object here. The isPostBack method is a boolean method that will return a true or false value. If it is true, then we will execute the function that will recreate our dynamic object - in this case, our checkboxlist.

The reason we need to check whether the page is postback or not is that we want to generate the dynamic object (checkboxlist) only after the user changes any value in the input textbox. Therefore, when the user loads the page for the first time, the user can see only the default object that we have in the aspx interface (our HTML).

3. Processing Input: (2) Recreate dynamic objects

In order to create or recreate our dynamically generated checkbox, we will utilize checkboxlist as our object. Because we want to generate it dynamically, we cannot use the drag and drop method. Therefore inside the function that we already call in the page load, we need to manually instruct how to generate the checkbox inside our checkboxlist.


This function will be able to accept a string input from our textbox by calling the .Text method.

Overview: Recreate checkbox list Object

The first step is to create and define a new object using the CheckBoxList class. We give our new CheckBoxList variable name as genCBL and an ID of genCBL. Both things do not necessarily need to be the same. The variable names are used internally in the backend code, while the ID is the global identifier of our chechboxlist in the ASPX.

CheckBoxList genCBL = new CheckBoxList {ID = "genCBL"};

Every object needs to have its own properties and related behavior, the same way a textbox does. In this case, we set the AutoPostBack behavior to be true.

genCBL.AutoPostBack = true;

Because Checkbox List is a collection of individual checkboxes, in order to produce the checkbox dynamically, we need to DataSource property. DataSource can accept list-type data. So, we need to create a function that can supply a sorted list of keys and values.

Flowchart of Generating the Data Source (list) for CheckBoxList:

Convert Numerical String to Int: Convert.ToInt32(int)

Convert Int to String: .ToString()

We named the function above addCB, and return the value as SortedList<TKey: int, TValue: string>. Now, we instruct our CheckBoxList generator to take this value. The databind method forces our control to read the datasource (More about databinding).

genCBL.DataValueField = "Key";
genCBL.DataTextField = "Value";
genCBL.DataSource = addCB(inputNumCB);
//keep selected item

After we attribute all the neccessary properties and behaviour, we instruct the PanelControl to render it inside.


4. Result: After the first PostBack

HTML output after running the code:

HTML source from the rendered ASPX:

Code Overview

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e) {
    if (Page.IsPostBack) {
private SortedList < int, string > addCB(string inputNumCB) {
    SortedList < int, string > addCB_data = new SortedList < int, string > ();
    for (int index = 0; index < Convert.ToInt32(inputNumCB); index++) addCB_data.Add(index, "CheckBox -" + index.ToString());
    return addCB_data;
private void RecreateControls(string inputNumCB) {
    CheckBoxList genCBL = new CheckBoxList {
        ID = "genCBL"
    genCBL.AutoPostBack = true;
    genCBL.DataTextField = "Value";
    genCBL.DataValueField = "Key";
    genCBL.DataSource = addCB(inputNumCB);

Second Scenario: Shows selected checkbox after user click

In this scenario, we want to know which checkbox has already been clicked or selected by the user. Thus, we need a way to check whether each checkbox is selected, so then we show the results. We will utilize label object to show the results. We also set the label to runat server, so we can manipulate it from the code behind.

<p>Enter Number of Checkbox:
<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" AutoPostBack="true"></asp:TextBox>
<asp:Label ID="Label1" runat="server" Text="Active: "></asp:Label>

We want it so that each time a user does something with our previous CheckBoxList, the results auto-update. We can create new handler to implement this scheme by calling the .SelectedIndexChange method. Inside the Recreate CheckBoxList function, we must instruct our object to recognize a new handler. In this case, I've named it genCBL_SelectedIndexChange.

genCBL.SelectedIndexChanged += new EventHandler(genCBL_SelectedIndexChanged);

Our new SelectedIndexChanged Handler

After adding the new handler, we need to declare our handling function, or what it needs to do when the CBL changes.

Create function to update the label based on CBL changes (user click):

Flowchart of the SelectedIndexChanged handler:

The already-selected checkbox will be shown in the label’s text.

Third Scenario: Adding default selected/checked checkbox

The last scenario will involve cases like default preferences from previous data, or those when you want to make it stay selected despite its changes. Therefore, we need input or a previous state that can tell our function to auto-select the checkbox. To facilitate this, we can extract value from the database or provide another textbox as an input method.

<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox2" runat="server" AutoPostBack="true" Font-Italic="True"></asp:TextBox>

Adding new input for taking default selected textbox

Next, we can insert new instructions in our previous updateCBL function. We must check whether each checkbox is a member of the supplied default value. If true, then we will make the checkbox status "selected" and add the text field to our label.

If the index is the same as any default value, then make it selected.

The problem now is how to check whether the current index checkbox is contained within any default value. Thus, we need a function that returns a boolean value.

A function that takes our index as a parameter and checks whether it “exists” within the default value.

This function mainly utilizes two major tools: Parser and Array. First, we extract the string text from our textbox. Then, we split the string using the comma separator. Therefore, we need to make sure that the user also understands what kind of format they should input. After splitting, we try to parse the string number into an int. If it succeeds, we put it in the list. We change the list into an array type so that we can easily use the .Exist method to compare the int from parameter and the int on the default array. We then return it as true or false.

Flowchart for the default checkbox function

Next, don’t forget to make this function run when the textbox changes. We can create a new handler to find our CheckBoxList by its ID, then do updates on it.

<asp:TextBox ID="TextBox2" runat="server" AutoPostBack="true" Font-Italic="True" OnTextChanged="TextBox2_TextChanged"></asp:TextBox>

Updating whenever the checkbox is clicked, or the text box value changes:

Final Rendered Result on browser:

Rendered aspx in HTML.


In this tutorial, we successfully create a dynamic checkbox in three different scenarios. We utilized several C# tools, such as array, parser, covert, etc. We also learned how to generate objects, and what kind of properties or behavior we can attribute to them. In the future, this simple tutorial can become a starting point for coding web apps using C#, and also can be a nice and simple gateway to understanding related structure and functionality around C# web forms. Thank you and enjoy learning!