TreeList : Multi column tree control

Here’s the description of the classes that are used:

  • CTLFrame – derived from CWnd, this class is the frame class for the treelist control. It
    is used  to include the header control, the tree itself, and the horizontal scroll
    bar. It looks like this:

structure.gif (1528 bytes)

  • CNewHeaderCtrl – derived from CHeaderCtrl. Used as the header in the

  • CNewTreeListCtrl – derived from CTreeCtrl, used as the main tree in the

  • CTLItem – represents each item inside the tree.

  • SSortType – structure that’s used to indicate whether the sort of the
    tree is in an ascending order or descending, and which column is being sorted.

How to insert TreeList into your project?

1.Insert the following files into your project:

    • TLFrame.cpp, TLFrame.h
    • NewTreeListCtrl.cpp, NewTreeListCtrl.h
    • NewHeaderCtrl.cpp, NewHeaderCtrl.h

2. Include the file "TLFrame.h" in the app file (where the InitInstance
function is) and insert the following line in the InitInstance  function:




3. Layout a user-defined control inside the dialog into which the control is supposed
to be intserted. In the class field type: "LANTIVTREELISTCTRL"

4. Include "TLFrame.h" in the dialog’s header file, and add a member
variable: CTLFrame m_wndMyTreeList;

5. In your OnInitDialog() or OnCreate() functions subclass the control:


m_wndMyTreeList.SubclassDlgItem(IDC_TREE_LIST, this);

// IDC_TREE_LIST is the ID of the user-defined control you inserted into the dialog


That’s it !

Using the TreeListCtrl

The use of the control is simple. It’s a tree, so treat it as one (HTREEITEM etc.). In
addition, there are functions like InsertColumn, SetItemText, SetItemColor, SetItemBold,


Here’s my approach to implementing the TreeList.
First of all, I had to create a frame window, that
would include the 3 objects: header, tree, horz
scroll bar. That’s what CTLFrame is for. In addition,
this CWnd derived class helps during the scroll: the
header is clipped after it’s repositioned, so there’s a
feeling of scrolling.

The class CNewHeaderCtrl was created only to put
the 3d triangles in it. I decided to include sorting since
it’s needed in 9/10 cases, and it’s a shame every
programmer needs to insert it by himself.
Finally, CNewTreeListCtrl is the more complicated
part. Every item inside the tree, has a DWORD data
associated with it, that stores a pointer to a CTLItem
class. CTLItem stores the information about each item-
its columns’ strings, whether the item is bold, the item’s
color, and the item data that the user wishes to associate
with the item. All the functions that deal with the items, like
InsertItem, DeleteItem, SetItemText etc. were overridden
in order to use the CTLItem technique.

I had some difficulties with the scrolling part, since there
are many different conditions for the scroll bars: vertical
scroll is shown and then the horz becomes shorter, it’s
hidden so the horz should become larger again; what
happens if the users changed some column’s size… and
problems like that. I believe I handle each of these cases
so I think there won’t be any problems with this part.

Download Sample/Code( 60K).

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