Displaying and editing MEMO fiels in Delphi’s TDBGrid

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Here’s how to show the contents of a MEMO (textual BLOB) field in a
TDBGrid. Plus: how to enable editing of a TMemoField’s contents using a
separate window.

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 Related Resources
• Using the TDBGrid component (tutorials, tips and tricks)
• Database development with Delphi

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If you are developing database applications with tables containing MEMO
fields, you’ll notice that, by default, the TDBGrid component does not
show the contents of a MEMO field inside a DBGrid cell.

This article provides an idea of how to solve this TMemoField’s issue
(with a few more tricks)…


Memo fields are used to represent lengthy text or combinations of text
and numbers. When building database applications using Delphi, the
TMemoField object is used to represent a memo field in a dataset.
TMemoField encapsulates the fundamental behavior common to fields that
contain text data or arbitrary length. In most databases, the size of
the Memo field is limited by the size of the database.

While you can display the contents of a MEMO field in a TDBMemo
component, by design the TDBGrid will only display “(Memo)” for the
contents of such fields.

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In order to actually display some text (from the MEMO field) in the
appropriate DBGrid cell, you’ll only need to add a simple line of code

For the purpose of the next discussion, let’s say you have a database
table named “TestTable” with at least one MEMO field named “Data”.


To show the contents of a MEMO field in the DBGrid, you need to attach a
simple line of code in the field’s OnGetText event. The easiest way to
create the OnGetText event handler is to use the Fields editor at design
time to create a persistent field component for the memo field:

  1. Connect your TDataset descendant component (TTable, TQuery,
    TADOTable, TADOQuery ….) to the “TestTable” database table.
  2. Double click the dataset component to open the Fields editor
  3. Add the MEMO field to the list of persistent fields
  4. Select the MEMO field in the Fields editor
  5. Activate the Events tab in the Object Inspector
  6. Double click the OnGetText event to create the event handler

Add the next line of code (marked red):

procedure TForm1.DBTableDataGetText(
  Sender: TField;
  var Text: String;
  DisplayText: Boolean);
  Text := Copy(DBTableData.AsString, 1, 50);

Note: the dataset object is called “DBTable”, the MEMO field is called
“DATA”, and therefore, by default, the TMemoField connected to the MEMO
database field is called “DBTableData”. By assigning
DBTableData.AsString to the Text parameter of the OnGetText event,
we tell Delphi to display ALL the text from the MEMO field in a DBGrid
You can also adapt the
DisplayWidth of
the memo field to a more appropriate value.

Note: since MEMO fields can be quite BIG, it is a good idea to show only
a part of it. In the above code, only the first 50 characters are

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Editing on a separate form

By default, the TDBGrid does not allow editing of MEMO fields. If you
want to enable “in place” editing, you could add some code to react on a
user action that shows a separate window that allows editing using a
TMemo component.
For the sake of simplicity we’ll open an editing window when ENTER is
pressed “on” a MEMO field in a DBGrid.
Let’s use the KeyDown event of a DBGrid component:

procedure TForm1.DBGrid1KeyDown(
  Sender: TObject; 
  var Key: Word;
  Shift: TShiftState);
  if Key = VK_RETURN then
    if DBGrid1.SelectedField = DBTableData then
    with TMemoEditorForm.Create(nil) do
      DBMemoEditor.Text := DBTableData.AsString;
      DBTableData.AsString := DBMemoEditor.Text;

Note 1: the “TMemoEditorForm” is a secondary form containing only one
component: “DBMemoEditor” (TMemo).
Note 2: the “TMemoEditorForm” was removed from the “Auto-create forms”
list in the Project Options dialog window.

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Let’s see what happens in the DBGrid1’s KeyDown event handler:

  1. When a user presses the ENTER key (we are comparing the Key
    parameter to the VK_RETURN virtual key
    code) [Key
    = VK_RETURN],
  2. If the currently selected field in the DBGrid is our MEMO field
    (DBGrid1.SelectedField = DBTableData),
  3. We create the TMemoEditorForm [TMemoEditorForm.Create(nil)],
  4. Send the value of the MEMO field to the TMemo component
    [DBMemoEditor.Text := DBTableData.AsString],
  5. Display the form modally [ShowModal],
  6. When a user finishes with editing and closes the form, we need to
    put the dataste into the Edit mode [DBTable.Edit],
  7. In order to be able to assign the edited value back to our MEMO
    field [DBTableData.AsString := DBMemoEditor.Text].

Note: if you are looking for more TDBGrid related articles and usage
tips, be sure to visit: “TDBGrid to the
MAX” tips