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JTextArea - set specific amount of rows, or characters...

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I'm working on a Applet which handles text according to given parameters. One of these parameters sets a JTextArea to the horizontal size of, lets say: 5 rows. What i want is that once this TextArea is set to a specific number of rows no text beyond those rows can be inserted. 5 rows, or a specific amount of characters are allowed.
My problem is that the TextArea wont stop allowing text vertically. The TextArea is visibly set to 5 rows, which doesnt change. But how can i stop text from being inserted beyond row 5?
We have tried a number of different approaches, from trying to set TextArea's size with invisible scrollbars to overriding invalidate()...
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I never understand why people want to limit the number of rows in a JTextArea. Add the text area to a scroll pane and scroll bars will appear when the number of rows exceed the display area. The point of using a text area is to allow the user to enter data in a flexible format. If the format is not flexible then maybe you should be using another component or combination of combination of components.
Setting a maximum character size is valid if you intend to store the data on a database with a fixed size field. It is easy to do this by using a custom Document with you JTextArea. Read this section from the Swing tutorial on "General Rules for Using Text Components" for example code on how to do this:
http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/uiswing/components/generaltext.html
Note, if you really want to limit the text area to 5 lines then count the number of new line characters in the document and don't allow them to enter more than 4.
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