Adding tooltips for item images


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One thing Ive never seen ( other than in my applications ) is tooltips for the item images. I am not saying that none of the commercial application use tooltips for the item images, but Ive not seen one yet. In fact, in some of the applications searching through the help file was also fruitless. I still didnt know what the images meant.

Anyway, heres what needs to be done if you want to implement tooltips for the item images and I hope you do want to implement them.

Just one more thing before we start implementing the tooltips. Like the list view control, the new tree view control creates its own tooltip control but unlike the list view control it does so in both Win95 and WinNT. Since I couldnt find any documentation for the build in tooltip, I presume that it is undocumented and susceptible to change. Anyway, in this section, we use the MFC provided mechanism.

Step 1: Enable tool tips

Enabling tooltip for a window simply requires a call to EnableToolTips(TRUE). A good place to insert this statement is in the PreSubclassWindow(). No matter how the control is created, this function is always called by MFC. The same is not true for the OnCreate() function. OnCreate() is called only if you create the control by a call to Create() or CreateEx() and is not called if the control is created from a dialog resource.
void CTreeCtrlX::PreSubclassWindow() 


Step 2: Override the OnToolHitTest() virtual function

The MFC framework calls this function to determine whether or not to display a tooltip at the given point. The document suggests that a value of 1 be returned if the point falls over a tool ( over something that we want to display a tooltip for ). This is not true however. This function should return different non zero numbers for different tools in the window.

In this funciton we are only handling the case when the mouse is over item icon or the state icon. You may wish to add tooltips for other elements of the tree control. In both the cases we compute the bounding rectangle for the icon and we set the id equal to the handle of the tree item whose icons falls under the mouse. Note that though we use the same id for the item icon and the state icon for the same item, the return values are different. The different return value forces MFC to update the tooltip.

Although, we can specify the tooltip text in this function itself, it is best not to add too much computing in this function. This function gets called each time the mouse moves so it might be a good idea if you can optimize the function.


int CTreeCtrlX::OnToolHitTest(CPoint point, TOOLINFO * pTI) const
	RECT rect;

	UINT nFlags;
	HTREEITEM hitem = HitTest( point, &nFlags );
	if( nFlags & TVHT_ONITEMICON )
		CImageList *pImg = GetImageList( TVSIL_NORMAL );
		IMAGEINFO imageinfo;
		pImg->GetImageInfo( 0, &imageinfo );

		GetItemRect( hitem, &rect, TRUE );
		rect.right = rect.left - 2;
		rect.left -= (imageinfo.rcImage.right + 2);

		pTI->hwnd = m_hWnd;
		pTI->uId = (UINT)hitem;
		pTI->rect = rect;
		return pTI->uId;
	else if( nFlags & TVHT_ONITEMSTATEICON )
		CImageList *pImg = GetImageList( TVSIL_NORMAL );
		IMAGEINFO imageinfo;
		pImg->GetImageInfo( 0, &imageinfo );

		GetItemRect( hitem, &rect, TRUE );
		rect.right = rect.left - (imageinfo.rcImage.right + 2);

		pImg = GetImageList( TVSIL_STATE );
		rect.left = rect.right - imageinfo.rcImage.right ;

		pTI->hwnd = m_hWnd;
		pTI->uId = (UINT)hitem;
		pTI->rect = rect;
		// return value should be different from that used for item icon
		return pTI->uId*2;	      
	return -1;

Step 3: Add handler for TTN_NEEDTEXT

Add a handler for the TTN_NEEDTEXT notification message. This message is sent by the tooltip control when it needs the text to display in the tooltip. Since in the previous step, we specified LPSTR_TEXTCALLBACK for the text we need to handle this notification. The class wizard does not support this notification and the entry in the message map will have to be done manually. Good thing too, since we actually have to handle both versions, e.i. TTN_NEEDTEXTA and TTN_NEEDTEXTW. Here is what the message map looks like.
And here is what the declaration looks like in the class.
	afx_msg BOOL OnToolTipText( UINT id, NMHDR * pNMHDR, LRESULT * pResult );

And now the function itself. We have to handle the ANSI version and the UNICODE version of the message somewhat differently. We also ignore the message from the built in tooltip control. We recognize the message from the built in tooltip control by the fact that the id is equal to the window handle of the tree view control and the flags has the TTF_IDISHWND flag set. Based on the mouse cursor position we determine whether we need to supply the tooltip text for the item icon or the state icon. The code below simply supplies the icon index as the tooltip text, but of course, you would supply something meaningful.

BOOL CTreeCtrlX::OnToolTipText( UINT id, NMHDR * pNMHDR, LRESULT * pResult )
	// need to handle both ANSI and UNICODE versions of the message
	CString strTipText;
	UINT nID = pNMHDR->idFrom;

	// Do not process the message from built in tooltip 
	if( nID == (UINT)m_hWnd &&
		(( pNMHDR->code == TTN_NEEDTEXTA && pTTTA->uFlags & TTF_IDISHWND ) ||
		( pNMHDR->code == TTN_NEEDTEXTW && pTTTW->uFlags & TTF_IDISHWND ) ) )
		return FALSE;

	// Get the mouse position
	const MSG* pMessage;
	CPoint pt;
	pMessage = GetCurrentMessage();
	ASSERT ( pMessage );
	pt = pMessage->pt;
	ScreenToClient( &pt );

	UINT nFlags;
	HTREEITEM hitem = HitTest( pt, &nFlags );
	if( nFlags & TVHT_ONITEMICON )
		int nImage, nSelImage;
		GetItemImage( (HTREEITEM ) nID, nImage, nSelImage );
		strTipText.Format( "Image : %d", nImage );
		strTipText.Format( "State : %d", GetItemState( (HTREEITEM ) nID, 

#ifndef _UNICODE
	if (pNMHDR->code == TTN_NEEDTEXTA)
		lstrcpyn(pTTTA->szText, strTipText, 80);
		_mbstowcsz(pTTTW->szText, strTipText, 80);
	if (pNMHDR->code == TTN_NEEDTEXTA)
		_wcstombsz(pTTTA->szText, strTipText, 80);
		lstrcpyn(pTTTW->szText, strTipText, 80);
	*pResult = 0;

	return TRUE;    // message was handled


  • This sample is completely outdated !!!!

    Posted by Legacy on 02/19/2004 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Sergey

    If you're looking for a way to add tooltips to your tree control please refer to another article:

  • Prgram always Returning false

    Posted by Legacy on 08/28/2002 12:00am

    Originally posted by: jayostu

    i have written the same code but the OnToolTipText function is always returning FALSE
    hope ur going to read this message

  • Change background color

    Posted by Legacy on 09/07/2001 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Friedrich K�bler

    Excellent work.
    I have only a little problem. Is there any possibility to change the tiptextcolor or the backgroundcolor ?

  • Forcing a new line in tooltips?

    Posted by Legacy on 01/17/2000 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Paul

    Hi, I know tooltips are meant to be brief lines of text or similar, but is there a way to force a new line when the text gets to a certain length?  I have some tooltips which are a little long and would prefer if they had a line break seperating the text onto two lines.



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