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Creating a Glass Button using GDI+

, 26 Mar 2013 CPL 690.4K 16.6K 604
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How to create an animating glass button using only GDI+ (and not using WPF)


Sample application using a standard glass button with image.

Sample application using a standard glass button with image.

The same application, but this time it has a customized glass button.

Sample application using a customized glass button.

MFC application which hosts four glass buttons.

MFC application which hosts four glass buttons.


I bet you have already seen animated task buttons in Windows Vista. I have. I was wondering how to create a similar control. Fortunately, I found a web page which describes how to do that using the Microsoft Expression Blend (Creating a Glass Button: The Complete Tutorial). The glass button (and thus the whole application) created with the Microsoft Expression Blend requires .NET Framework 3.0 to run. Because some people cannot or do not want to use .NET Framework 3.0 yet, I have decided to rewrite that cool control using only GDI+ so it would work with .NET Framework 2.0.

"Converting" XAML to C# (GDI+)

The tutorial from the page mentioned above was easy to complete, and the generated XAML code was so understandable that there were no big issues with a "conversion."

For example, I have translated the following code:

<Border HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" 
        Margin="0,0,0,0" x:Name="shine" 
        Width="Auto" CornerRadius="4,4,0,0">

    <LinearGradientBrush EndPoint="0.494,0.889" 
      <GradientStop Color="#99FFFFFF" Offset="0" />

      <GradientStop Color="#33FFFFFF" Offset="1" />



using (GraphicsPath bh = CreateTopRoundRectangle(rect2, 4))
  int opacity = 0x99;
  if (isPressed) opacity = (int)(.4f * opacity + .5f);
  using (Brush br = new LinearGradientBrush(rect2, 
                          Color.FromArgb(opacity, shineColor),
                          Color.FromArgb(opacity / 3, shineColor),
    g.FillPath(br, bh);

(This is only a fragment of the DrawButtonBackground method.)

Even the animation of a hovered button was easily obtained by using the Timer class. Unfortunately, an animation is not quite smooth when a glass button is quite big.

How to use the GlassButton class?

The GlassButton class derives from the Button class so it can be used in the same way. Displaying an image on a glass button is also supported now. Even the guidelines work fine in the Visual Studio's form designer.


  • 1.3.2 (02.11.2008) — Important! This is the last “standalone” version of the control. The next version will be included in a new project hosted at CodePlex.
    • Fixed a bug that caused the button's image to be disposed in certain situations.
  • 1.3.1 (27.10.2008)
    • The source code is now available both in C# and VB.NET.
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.3 (19.11.2007)
    • The image is grayed when the button is disabled.
    • Added property 'FadeOnFocus'.
    • Improved performance.
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.2 (31.03.2007)
    • The 'disabled' look differs from the 'enabled' one.
    • Added some 'PropertyChange' events.
    • Improved performance.
    • Splitted source code from compiled library and demo application.
    • Added MFC demo application.
    • Added toolbox bitmap.
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.1.1 (22.02.2007)
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.1 (21.02.2007)
    • Added images support.
  • 1.0 (19.02.2007)
    • First version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Common Public License Version 1.0 (CPL)


About the Author

Lukasz Swiatkowski
Software Developer
Poland Poland
I am a graduate of Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland.

My interests: reading, programming, drawing, Japan, yoga, tai-chi.

My websites:,

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Comments and Discussions

AnswerRe: Image Animation Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski12-Jan-09 11:13
memberLukasz Swiatkowski12-Jan-09 11:13 
GeneralMessage Removed Pin
Katekortez25-Oct-08 8:56
memberKatekortez25-Oct-08 8:56 
GeneralVB Version Pin
raing325-Jun-08 13:42
memberraing325-Jun-08 13:42 
GeneralRe: VB Version Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski25-Jun-08 23:47
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski25-Jun-08 23:47 
GeneralAwesome Button! Pin
Engr4867-Jun-08 8:22
memberEngr4867-Jun-08 8:22 
GeneralRe: Awesome Button! Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski25-Jun-08 23:37
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski25-Jun-08 23:37 
QuestionLicence Pin
Julian-w17-May-08 3:03
memberJulian-w17-May-08 3:03 
AnswerRe: Licence Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski17-May-08 6:10
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski17-May-08 6:10 

I repeat a post which is somewhere below:
"Basically, anyone can use my dll file or the source code. I forbid only including it in some controls/components packs and similar libraries."
So, you can if it will be only for your applications. But you cannot if you are planning to release it for everyone, sorry.


My website:

GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Julian-w17-May-08 7:18
memberJulian-w17-May-08 7:18 
GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Julian-w18-May-08 2:50
memberJulian-w18-May-08 2:50 
GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski18-May-08 2:59
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski18-May-08 2:59 
GeneralDrawToBitmap Pin
Jacob Shepherd20-Apr-08 20:41
memberJacob Shepherd20-Apr-08 20:41 
GeneralRe: DrawToBitmap Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski21-Apr-08 5:33
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski21-Apr-08 5:33 
GeneralRe: DrawToBitmap Pin
Jacob Shepherd28-Apr-08 14:11
memberJacob Shepherd28-Apr-08 14:11 
GeneralRe: DrawToBitmap Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski29-Apr-08 7:42
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski29-Apr-08 7:42 
QuestionUse in unmanaged App Pin
neoger30-Mar-08 9:38
memberneoger30-Mar-08 9:38 
GeneralRe: Use in unmanaged App Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski31-Mar-08 7:42
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski31-Mar-08 7:42 
GeneralWeb App Pin
bulljustin24-Mar-08 10:10
memberbulljustin24-Mar-08 10:10 
GeneralRe: Web App Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski28-Mar-08 6:08
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski28-Mar-08 6:08 
QuestionBug or Feature ? Pin
Stulle7-Mar-08 10:30
memberStulle7-Mar-08 10:30 
AnswerRe: Bug or Feature ? Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski9-Mar-08 7:28
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski9-Mar-08 7:28 
GeneralRe: Bug or Feature ? Pin
Stulle13-Mar-08 10:06
memberStulle13-Mar-08 10:06 
GeneralRe: Bug or Feature ? Pin
Damir116-Mar-08 21:30
memberDamir116-Mar-08 21:30 
GeneralRe: Bug or Feature ? Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski17-Mar-08 5:55
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski17-Mar-08 5:55 
GeneralRe: Bug or Feature ? Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski17-Mar-08 6:19
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski17-Mar-08 6:19 

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