Adding Buttons to Dialog Caption

(Fabi Pantera)

Environment: Windows NT 4 SP5, Visual C++ 6 SP2

This source code demonstrates how you can add buttons to dialog caption bar
and also how you can paint the caption.

A lot of peoples asked me to show how they can add buttons to the caption. Of course,
first the question is:
Is it possible to add buttons to the non-client area?
The answer is NO.
So what is this article about? Well, this demo shows how to add buttons to the
non-client area.

As you probably now you can add controls only in the client area. To add something similar
in the non-client area, you have to draw everything by yourself and handle the mouse message
for the non-client area. For this you have just to implement WM_NCPAINT message and draw whatever
you want. I drawed a gradient caption and some buttons:

void CTemplateDlg::OnNcPaint()
 Default();//call default to let windows handle first

 CRect rc, rcwin;
 CalculateCaptionTextRect(this, &rc);

 CDC* pDC = GetWindowDC();
 CDC dcMem;
 CBitmap bitmap;
 bitmap.CreateCompatibleBitmap(pDC, rc.Width(), rc.Height());
 CBitmap* pOldBitmap = dcMem.SelectObject(&bitmap);

 CSize sizeButton(GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXSIZE),
 DoGradientFill(this, acLeft, m_startColor, m_endColor);
 rc.right -= 5; += 1;
 rc.bottom -= 3;
 CRect rcBitBlt = rc;
 for (int i = 0; i < 6; i++)
  rc.right -=;
  rc.left = rc.right -;
  switch (i)
   case 0:
     if (mPushedButton[i] == TRUE)
     //this draw button
      dcMem.DrawFrameControl(rc, DFC_BUTTON ,
      dcMem.DrawFrameControl(rc, DFC_BUTTON ,
   case 1:

After this, you should treat the WM_NCHITTEST, WM_NCLBUTTONDOWN, WM_LBUTTONUP messages and force a redraw
in the non-client area by sending a WM_NCPAINT message:


For now, that’s all for the custom drawing in the non-client area.
Anyway, this demo can be reused. The class that implements the previous behaviour is
called CTemplateDlg. This class is an abstract class which provide in its interface,
6 virtual functions: Button0, BUtt1,…,Button5. This are the “callback” functions which
handle the left button up click message on every button.
So, to use this class just derive your CDialog class from CTemplateDlg and simply implement
this functions. Of course you also have to modify the construction, but you can take a look
in the code.

If everyone need to modify this code or to create a smart control don’t hesitate
to e-mail me.


Download demo project – 24 Kb

More by Author

Must Read