Add Zoom and Scale Capabilities to CScrollView

. This article
first appeared in Windows Developers Journal, Oct 95. Brad has since enhanced the code and also
made it available at the website

Many Windows applications need the ability
to arbitrarily scale, or zoom, the contents of a window. An example
of this is print preview, where you can zoom in and out on a portion
of the printed page. Programming information on this subject
is minimal and very obfuscated. Not any more! In this article
I explain how to easily use the built it scaling capabilities
of Windows, and apply it to a C++ MFC extension class that I call

Learning To Scale

Proper scaling in Microsoft Windows requires
you to set the map mode, window extent, window origin, viewport
extent, and viewport origin for a window. Are you confused yet?
Try reading the manual entries for any corresponding API – SetWindowExt:
"Sets the x- and y-extents of the window…"
. So
it wasn’t just a clever name.

A key phrase, however, comes next: "defines
how GDI maps points in the logical coordinate system to points
in the device coordinate system." Although this information
tells you nothing on how to use it, it is the clue to how it works
— mapping from one coordinate system to another. To make scaling
easy, we want Windows to do as much of this conversion work as
possible. Luckily for us, it can be done easily if you arm yourself
with just a little bit of API knowledge..

For a drawing page to be automatically scaled
in a window, two concepts must be understood. The first is how
to draw the page, and the second is how to view the page. The
Windows operating system uses both pieces of information together
so that a user can view your drawing in a window at any arbitrary
zooming scale. As a programmer, the easiest way to understand
and implement scaling is to "divide and conquer," handling
each concept separately.

Step One: Drawing the Page

The first thing that you need to do is choose
the "logical units" for your drawing. Think of this
as the number of virtual horizontal and vertical units on a page
you will draw on. This is what Windows calls the "Window
Extent," and is set by the SetWindowExt API. A logical page
size of x by y units would simply have a window extent of {x,
y}. Keep in mind that "units" is an arbitrary amount
of measure that you pick, so do not be stuck thinking that it
has to be pixels, inches, or any other measure.

Once you choose a logical coordinate system,
all GDI drawing will be done using it. For example, lets say that
you want to draw a line from the top left corner to the bottom
right corner of a page that has a window extent of 100 by 100
logical units. Using the MoveTo and LineTo API functions, you
would pass {0, 0} as the starting logical coordinate to MoveTo,
and {100, 100} as the ending logical coordinate to LineTo. Any
other GDI function (Rectangle, Arc, CreateFont, TextOut, etc.)
will also use logical units. // ADD DRAWING ONE HERE

Using logical units allows your program display
device independence. Drawing objects coordinates can all be stored
in logical units, and you will use those coordinates when painting
your windows without needing to do any conversions for scaling,
different size screens, or different size windows. Doing any
device dependent conversions, and determining which part of the
drawing to actually scale and display to the user in a window,
will be handled automatically by Windows after you follow the
next step.

Step 2: Viewing the Page

Now that you understand logical drawing on
your page, the second part of adding automatic scaling to your
program is actually viewing it in a window. Viewing functionality
uses device coordinates, in pixel units.

With this in mind, you need to tell Windows
the viewing size, in pixels, of your entire drawing page. This
is what Windows calls the "Viewport Extent," and is
set by the SetViewportExt API. This does not confine a real window
to that size, but rather describes the mapping of your logical
units into pixels. By setting a window extent to {100, 100} and
a viewport extent of {200, 200}, you are telling Windows that
100 by 100 logical units is exactly equal to 200 by 200 pixels.
Note: to help in translating back and forth from logical to device
units, the Windows API supplies the LPtoDP function to convert
logical to device units, and the DPtoLP function to convert back.

When you set window and viewport extents you
are required to change the mapping mode, set by the SetMapMode
API. When using the SetWindowExtent and SetViewportExtent API’s,
only two mapping modes are allowed — MM_ISOTROPIC and MM_ANISOTROPIC.
The MM_ISOTROPIC mode is used when you want identical logical
units for both the x and y axes, where MM_ANISOTROPIC is used
for arbitrary logical x and y axis units. For our generic scaling
requirements, we will use the MM_ANISOTROPIC map mode.

The final puzzle piece that Windows needs
to do automatic scaling is the size of the client area of the
physical window that will display your drawing (also in pixels).
Because this information is inherent to the window, no API call
is necessary. The pixel size of the window client area is how
many pixels of the viewport will be shown. For example, setting
the viewport extent to be the same number of pixels as the client
area of the window would scale the entire logical drawing to fit
the window. Setting the viewport extent to twice the size of
the window’s client area would make the user see one forth (half
the width and half the height) of the page, and the drawing will
appear larger (or "zoomed in"). // ADD DRAWING TWO HERE

The viewport extent is where you control the
scaling factor for a window. To zoom in, increase its size.
To zoom out, decrease its size. It really is that easy! Keep
in mind that in order to maintain the original width to height
ratio of your logical drawing, always set the viewport extent
to the same ratio as the window extent, and scale it the same
in both the x and y direction.

A Quick Scrolling Primer

Once a window has the ability to scale, zooming
in shows only a portion of the entire drawing. By adding scrolling
to the window, the entire drawing can be viewed without requiring
zooming back out. If you are using the MFC C++ class library,
a scrolling class called CScrollView is supplied, which encapsulates
all the necessary Window’s scrolling code. For SDK users and
those of you that don’t want to read the 700+ lines of code in
CScrollView, I will briefly explain the scrolling concepts needed
when using automatic scaling.

To set up scrolling, you need to manipulate
the viewport origin using the SetViewportOrg Window’s API. This
is the viewport’s origin in relation to your window’s origin.
Because we are scaling by manipulating the viewport only, the
window origin, set with the SetWindowOrg API, should remain {0,

A good way to visualize origin manipulation
for scrolling is to think of your drawing as a transparency, and
the window to display it in as an overhead projector. The upper
left corner of the transparency is the viewport origin, and the
upper left corner of the projector is your window’s origin (always
{0, 0}). If the transparency is too big to see all at once (zoomed
in), you need to slide it around with your hand (scroll) to see
all of it. To see more to the right, you slide the paper to the
left. To see more down, you slide the paper up.

Applying this back to Windows, to scroll n
pixels in a given direction, change the viewport origin n pixels
in the opposite direction. For example, if you started with both
origins at {0, 0} and wanted to scroll 10 pixels to the right
and 10 pixels down, simply set the viewport origin to {-10, -10}.

Putting the Concept to Work in MFC

To demonstrate the above scaling concepts,
I have encapsulated it all in an MFC extension class that I call
CZoomView. This class is derived from the MFC class CScrollView,
allowing me to just write the code for scaling. It could of just
as easily be done using straight SDK C code, but then you would
have to write your own scrolling code that MFC provides for free.

Using the CZoomView class requires only three
things: derive your view from CZoomView, set the logical units
using the SetZoomSizes member function, and do all drawing in
your OnDraw member function (like the WM_PAINT message) in terms
of your logical units (step one, above). The class handles all
the scaling (step two, above) and scrolling for you.

How CZoomView Works

For each device context handle (HDC) you use,
you must set its map mode, window extent, viewport extent and
viewport origin. MFC handles when to do this automatically by
supplying the CView::OnPrepareDC member function. This is where
CZoomView sets up everything.

To control the scaling, CZoomView keeps track
of the window extent in the m_totalLog member variable, and the
viewport extent in the m_totalDev member variable. In the OnPrepareDC
member function, the map mode is set to MM_ANISOTROPIC and the
window and viewport extent’s are set using the appropriate member
variable. If your derived class needs to do some processing during
this function, make sure you call CZoomView::OnPrepareDC first.

Zooming is handled by keeping track of the
current zoom scale (starting at 1.0) in the m_zoomScale member
variable. To change the viewport extent for a given zoom scale,
the original viewport extent (stored in m_origTotalDev) is multiplied
by the m_zoomScale variable.

To zoom in (using the DoZoomIn member function),
the zoom scale is multiplied by a constant, defaulted to 1.25.
This increases the size of the viewport extent, making the drawing
appear larger or "zoomed in." To zoom out (using the
DoZoomOut member function), the zoom scale is divided by the same
constant. This decreases the viewport extent, making the drawing
appear smaller or "zoomed out."

Binding Zooming to the User Interface

The CZoomView class was written to be flexible!
Proper zooming requires a user interface that a user would be
comfortable using. I wrote three possible types of zooming into
CZoomView: default zooming, point zooming, and selection zooming.
Described below, all three methods are demonstrated in the sample
program supplied.

Default zooming is where the current view
is zoomed in or out by a small constant ratio, maintaining the
same center reference point. This could be triggered by a user
pressing a function key, where say F7 zooms in, and F8 zooms out,
or by toolbar buttons. To implement this from within the class,
call the DoZoomIn and DoZoomOut member functions with no arguments.

Point zooming is where the current view is
zoomed in or out, again by a small constant ratio, centering on
a given reference point. This is best applied to a mouse, where
the user selects whether to zoom in or out from a key combination
or toolbar button, then clicks on the view with the mouse where
the zoom should occur. To implement this from within the class,
call the DoZoomIn and DoZoomOut member functions with a logical
CPoint for the new center point.

Selection zooming applies to zooming in, where
a specific region of the logical drawing to made to fit within
the window. The best way to implement this is to again have the
user select zoom in from a key press or toolbar button, then drag
a box with the mouse indicating the region that should be zoomed
to fit the window. To implement this from within the class, call
the DoZoomIn member function with a logical CRect for the region
to fit into the window. Special considerations are made for this
type of zooming. Since users will most likely select an abnormally
sized region, the class forces the region to the correct window
extent ratio by shrinking either the width or height of the region
if necessary. // ADD DRAWING THREE HERE

Wrapping It All Up

Adding scaling or zooming capabilities to
a Windows program is fairly simple and straight forward if you
know which Windows API to use, and how to use them. This article
explains the needed API’s, and lays out the steps required for
you to add automatic scaling to your own program. If you use
the given C++ class it will be very easy and requires as little
as three steps, however applying this to a straight C SDK program
would be just as straight forward. Three methods of zoom interactions
with the user are implemented in an example program written in
MFC, supplied with this article. So don’t be scared by the manuals,
add automatic scaling easily to your program today!

About the Author

I am a software consultant for Visual Consulting Inc.
in Burlingame, CA, where I specialize in C++ MFC GUI programming.
My email address is [email protected]

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