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Adding tray icons and context menus

, 10 Apr 2002
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Beginner's Tutorial on adding tray icons and setting context menus

Introduction

As MFC/SDK programmers move into .NET, what surprises them most is the fact that everything is now so much more easier then ever before. Christian Graus was complaining that it was too easy and that the abominable allowance of gotos annoyed him. He might have a point there, but making coding easy is not such a bad thing after all. It's funny when you think of all the effort Chris Maunder and others put into those MFC & SDK tray icon classes that are ever so popular with copy/paste programmers. I dedicate this article to Chris M and others involved in the brilliant tray icon class project over the last few years.

Adding  the icon to your project

Ctrl-Shift-A will bring up the Add-New-Item dialog box. Select Icon File from the list of available templates. If the list is too populated to your liking select Resources from the tree control on the left. This will bring up a smaller list on the right and it will be easier for you to select Icon File. Now click open. You'll end up with the VS.NET icon editor. You may now create your icon here or copy/paste an icon from elsewhere.

Now right click on this icon from Solution Explorer. Take properties. And change the Build Action property to Embedded Resource. This will instruct the compiler to embed this icon along with your EXE file, thus saving you the annoyance of having to distribute the icon with your EXE.

Adding the NotifyIcon member to your form

Okay. Now that we have our icon ready we need to add it to our form class.

private NotifyIcon m_notifyicon;

Alright, so we have added a NotifyIcon member. Now let's initialize it and set some default properties. This should be done from the form object's constructor.

m_notifyicon = new NotifyIcon();
m_notifyicon.Text = "Hello, what's cooking?"; 
m_notifyicon.Visible = true; 
m_notifyicon.Icon = new Icon(GetType(),"Icon1.ico"); //Thanks to Hasaki for this.

Alright, now compile and run your program. You'll see the icon in your tray. That was rather simple, huh? But usually people like to add a context menu to their tray icons. A tray icon simply sitting there is not very useful.

Adding a context menu to the tray icon

The first thing we need to do is to add a ContextMenu member to our form.

private ContextMenu m_menu;  

Now we need to initialize it and add some menu items.

m_menu = new ContextMenu(); 
m_menu.MenuItems.Add(0, 
    new MenuItem("Show",new System.EventHandler(Show_Click))); 
m_menu.MenuItems.Add(1, 
    new MenuItem("Hide",new System.EventHandler(Hide_Click))); 
m_menu.MenuItems.Add(2, 
    new MenuItem("Exit",new System.EventHandler(Exit_Click)));

We have added three menu items and have also associated click event handlers for each of those menu items. I could have created an array of MenuItem objects but that's not really needed here.

Now we need to associate this ContextMenu with our tray icon. So we do this.

m_notifyicon.ContextMenu = m_menu;

Now let's fill up those event handlers.

protected void Exit_Click(Object sender, System.EventArgs e) 
{
    Close();
}
protected void Hide_Click(Object sender, System.EventArgs e) 
{
    Hide();
}
protected void Show_Click(Object sender, System.EventArgs e) 
{
    Show();
}

Okay. Compile and run it. Now right clicking on the tray icon brings up the context menu. You can hide and show the form window using the two menu options. And the "Exit" option will exit the application.

A small problem

Now you'll notice a slight annoyance. The tray icon does not vanish when you exit the program. But when you move the mouse over the tray the icon vanishes. So, what do we do to avoid that? Again as with everything else with this whole .NET thing, it's as easy as 1,2,3. Override your form object's Dispose function and put the following lines of code into it.

protected override void Dispose( bool disposing ) 
{ 
    if( disposing ) 
    { 
        this.m_notifyicon.Dispose(); //we dispose our tray icon here
    }
    base.Dispose( disposing );
}

Full Source Listing

using System;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using System.Data;

namespace TrayTest
{
    public class Form1 : System.Windows.Forms.Form
    {
        private NotifyIcon m_notifyicon;    
        private ContextMenu m_menu;        

        public Form1()
        {
            Text = "TrayIcon test program";    
        
            m_menu = new ContextMenu();                                    
            m_menu.MenuItems.Add(0,
                new MenuItem("Show",new System.EventHandler(Show_Click)));
            m_menu.MenuItems.Add(1,
                new MenuItem("Hide",new System.EventHandler(Hide_Click)));
            m_menu.MenuItems.Add(2,
                new MenuItem("Exit",new System.EventHandler(Exit_Click)));

            m_notifyicon = new NotifyIcon();
            m_notifyicon.Text = "Right click for context menu";
            m_notifyicon.Visible = true;
            m_notifyicon.Icon = new Icon(GetType(),"Icon1.ico");
            m_notifyicon.ContextMenu = m_menu;            
            
        }
        
        protected void Exit_Click(Object sender, System.EventArgs e) 
        {
            Close();
        }
        protected void Hide_Click(Object sender, System.EventArgs e) 
        {
            Hide();
        }
        protected void Show_Click(Object sender, System.EventArgs e) 
        {
            Show();
        }
        
        protected override void Dispose( bool disposing )
        {
            if( disposing )
            {
                this.m_notifyicon.Dispose();
            }
            base.Dispose( disposing );
        }
        
        [STAThread]
        static void Main() 
        {
            Application.Run(new Form1());
        }
        
    }
}

        

Conclusion

I would like to thank James Johnson for his valuable tips while I was struggling with embedding icons into my exe. Also a special thanks to Colin for keeping me cheered up with Bobs while I was burying myself in despair after my bad experiences with the new CD writer.

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

About the Author

Nish Sivakumar

United States United States
Nish is a real nice guy who has been writing code since 1990 when he first got his hands on an 8088 with 640 KB RAM. Originally from sunny Trivandrum in India, he has been living in various places over the past few years and often thinks it’s time he settled down somewhere.
 
Nish has been a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP since October, 2002 - awfully nice of Microsoft, he thinks. He maintains an MVP tips and tricks web site - www.voidnish.com where you can find a consolidated list of his articles, writings and ideas on VC++, MFC, .NET and C++/CLI. Oh, and you might want to check out his blog on C++/CLI, MFC, .NET and a lot of other stuff - blog.voidnish.com.
 
Nish loves reading Science Fiction, P G Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, and also fancies himself to be a decent writer of sorts. He has authored a romantic comedy Summer Love and Some more Cricket as well as a programming book – Extending MFC applications with the .NET Framework.
 
Nish's latest book C++/CLI in Action published by Manning Publications is now available for purchase. You can read more about the book on his blog.
 
Despite his wife's attempts to get him into cooking, his best effort so far has been a badly done omelette. Some day, he hopes to be a good cook, and to cook a tasty dinner for his wife.

Comments and Discussions

 
Questionwhat about limits in the tooltip Pinmemberabc@tempinbox.com7-Feb-08 8:56 

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