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Menu Bitmaps from Minimal Source Code

, 1 Feb 2002 CPOL
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Add bitmaps to your menus easily and with very little source code.

A menu with bitmaps


This article describes a method of adding bitmaps to your menus. The method is very easy to use, for example adding all the bitmaps on a tool bar is accomplished by a single function call. The demo project includes a class called BitmapMenu that can be used to add bitmap menus to your own projects. This class is made up of a small amount of source code, making it easy to understand and maintain.

There are two good related articles on the code project about adding bitmaps to menus. They are:

These are both excellent articles with lots of good accompanying code. Brent Corkum's code in particular produces nice looking bitmaps, and it has been extensively tested and updated. So of course you are thinking: "Why do I need to bother with your article?"

The main disadvantage of the Corkum method is the size of the code. Something as simple as placing bitmaps on menus requires a significant amount of code which must be maintained by you (or you have to hope that Mr. Corkum is nice enough to keep updating his classes). For this reason I chose to use the much more compact Denisov method. Nikolay Denisov's article addresses much more than putting bitmaps on menus, and the bitmap code is intertwined with his other code, so it is difficult to use independently. Therefore, I developed a class based on the Denisov method that is modular. The result is that both my method and the Corkum method are easy to setup, but there is a significant difference in the resulting amount of source code. The approximate lines of source code required by the two methods are:

  • Corkum method: 2,350 lines
  • This method: 250 lines

Unlike Corkum's work, this code has not been well tested. It has only been tested under Windows 98, and will not work under Windows 95/NT.

To use this code download the demo project. The demo has a second tool bar which demonstrates two of the class member functions: AddToolBar and RemoveToolBar. To add bitmap menus to your own project follow these 5 steps:

  1. Add the following files to your project:
    BitmapMenu.cpp, BitmapMenu.h, winuser2.h
  2. In MainFrm.h - Add this line to the top of the file:
    #include "BitmapMenu.h"
  3. In MainFrm.h - Inherit your main frame window from BitmapMenu rather than from CFrameWnd or CMDIFrameWnd.
    class CMainFrame : public BitmapMenu<CFrameWnd>
  4. In MainFrm.cpp - Add three message handlers between BEGIN_MESSAGE_MAP and END_MESSAGE_MAP.
  5. In MainFrm.cpp - At the end of the CMainFrame::OnCreate() function add each tool bar that you want to appear on the menu:


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Warren Gardner

United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionImage dimensions Pinmemberandrewtruckle4-Nov-09 23:02 
QuestionHow to add bitmaps for menu items without using the app resource. i.e. using external bmp file at run time. PinmemberbrijMos12-Aug-08 22:28 
GeneralThank you very much PinmemberYogesh P. Dhakad17-Jul-07 5:50 
QuestionHow to change checkmark style? PinmemberLZL101023-Aug-06 21:08 
GeneralTo show or hide the toolbar PinmemberHanney Wang13-Sep-04 17:18 
GeneralFix to solve crashes on Windows NT/95 PinmemberPEK8-Sep-04 9:59 
QuestionHelp - Context Menu? PinmemberJayant_Mukherjee8-Jul-04 19:53 
GeneralMenu Bitmaps from Hidden Toolbars Pinmembervjplusplus22-Mar-04 0:09 
GeneralRe: Menu Bitmaps from Hidden Toolbars PinmemberWarren Gardner29-Mar-04 6:24 
GeneralStudent from Poland need help with menu Pinmemberhaiaw23-May-03 0:08 
Hi, in my project, i have simle menu inserted from Microsoft Visual C++ 6 (Insert->Resource->Menu) and i would add to some positions somie icons or bitmaps (now only some small picture next to the one position in my popup menu) I am the begginer and it's too coplicated for me so if somebody could help me please??? You could add only one icon (it's important to do this in the simplest way for me) and i would learn it from the basis. I began my project, it's very simple, and even my teacher doesn't know how to put icon in menu. Our base is "Programming in Windows" - Petzold. My project need to be finished and with such icons i'll get a higher mark. I WOULD LIKE TO SEND IT TO SOMEODY, WHO COULD ADD ONLY A PIECE OF SOURCE TO MY MENU. PLEASEEEEEE
QuestionWin32 SDK Example? Pinmemberajax197124-Jan-03 5:04 
AnswerRe: Win32 SDK Example? PinmemberWarren Gardner4-Feb-03 11:41 
GeneralRe: Win32 SDK Example? PinmemberTimWallace16-Jun-03 5:13 
GeneralRe: Win32 SDK Example? PinmemberHallsoft27-Aug-04 1:12 
GeneralChange checkmarks style Pinmembercaranthol17-Jan-03 7:51 
GeneralRe: Change checkmarks style PinmemberWarren Gardner4-Feb-03 11:35 
GeneralCompile error PinmemberLinas23-May-02 23:19 
GeneralRe: Compile error PinmemberWarren Gardner28-May-02 8:54 
Generalthe BitmapMenu project doesn't work Pinmembersohi4-May-02 5:50 
GeneralRe: the BitmapMenu project doesn't work PinmemberWarren Gardner15-May-02 9:28 
GeneralRe: the BitmapMenu project doesn't work Pinmembercaranthol2-Jan-03 1:44 
GeneralWhen the toolbar can be customized... Pinmemberwuwuli4-Apr-02 20:57 
GeneralRe: When the toolbar can be customized... PinmemberWarren Gardner10-Apr-02 5:26 
GeneralRe: When the toolbar can be customized... PinmemberSiuming11-Apr-02 0:45 
GeneralRe: When the toolbar can be customized... PinmemberWarren Gardner19-Apr-02 17:43 

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