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Office 97 style Colour Picker control

, 8 Dec 2007 CPOL
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A simple drop in color chooser control

Colour Picker image

In an effort to have the latest and greatest wizz-bang features in my programs I unashamedly ripped of the colour picker from Office 97.

Initially I tried to modify an owner drawn combo box and combine that with a multicolumn combobox, but current multicolumn combo boxes are really just a single column with dividing lines drawn in. I then decided to write the whole thing from scratch based on a button, since it would at least give me a BN_CLICKED notification to get things started.

The colour picker is in two parts: an owner drawn button that reflects the currently selected colour, and a popup colour chooser window to select this colour. When the user clicks on the button the popup window appears and all mouse messages are captured until the left mouse button is clicked, or until the Enter or Escape keys are pressed. The popup window can be navigated using the mouse or the keyboard and includes tooltips explaining what each colour is.

The control can be incorporated into a project like any other CButton derived control. Either Create the control manually, subclass an existing CButton or DDX_control it. The control also comes with a DDX_ColourPicker routine to get/set the colour of the control using a variable of type COLORREF.

The Colour Picker is contained in the class CColourPicker. It uses the class CColourPopup for the popup window. These classes are contained in the file, and a sample project is contained in

CColourPicker only has the following public member functions:

void     SetColour(COLORREF crColour);
COLORREF GetColour();

void     SetDefaultText(LPCTSTR szDefaultText);
void     SetCustomText(LPCTSTR szCustomText);

void     SetSelectionMode(UINT nMode); // Either CP_MODE_TEXT or CP_MODE_BK

UINT     GetSelectionMode();

void     SetBkColour(COLORREF crColourBk);
COLORREF GetBkColour();
void     SetTextColour(COLORREF crColourText);
COLORREF GetTextColour();

SetDefaultText allows you to set the text that will appear in the "Default" area of the colour chooser. If you pass NULL, then the Default area will not be available to the user. If this area is availble and the user selects it, the value CLR_DEFAULT will be returned.

SetCustomText allows you to set the text that will appear in the "Custom" area of the colour chooser. If you pass NULL, then the Custom area will not be available to the user. The Custom area allows the user to select a custom colour using the standard windows colour selection dialog.

You can choose whether the colour chosen using the dropdown colour chooser will affect the text or the background colour using the function SetSelectionMode(int nMode). Possible values for nMode are CP_MODE_TEXT to make colour changes affect the text colour, and CP_MODE_BK to make changes affect the background (default).

SetColour, GetColour and the the DDX-function will set and get the colour according to the current selection mode. To access the text colour and the background colour directly use the Set/GetTextColour and Set/GetBkColour functions.

There are also a number of user messages that may be handled to get more information from the control. These are:

Message Description
CPN_SELCHANGE Colour Picker Selection change
CPN_DROPDOWN Colour Picker drop down
CPN_CLOSEUP Colour Picker close up
CPN_SELENDOK Colour Picker end OK
CPN_SELENDCANCEL Colour Picker end (cancelled)

These messages can be handled using ON_MESSAGE(< MESSAGE>, MessageFn) in you message map entries, where MessageFn is of the form

afx_msg LONG MessageFn(UINT lParam, LONG wParam);

The demo program gives an example of how to do this.


Alexander Bischofberger kindly supplied the Selection mode modifications, as well as the background and text color methods. Paul Wilkerson fixed a focus related bug, and Geir Arne Trillhus also helped fix a few bugs.


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


About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.
His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.
He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.
Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.
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Comments and Discussions

QuestionOh nice. It's just what i need right now! PinmemberJOhn Blacky23-Jan-15 17:39 
QuestionControl behavior PinmemberDavidCrow22-Mar-12 4:31 
GeneralNice ! Thank you ! PinmemberKoma Wang22-Nov-10 22:02 
GeneralVery long text in the Custom or Default Text Area PinmemberMember 243931322-Aug-09 11:00 
GeneralRe: Very long text in the Custom or Default Text Area PinadminChris Maunder23-Oct-09 19:16 
GeneralProblem with Colour Picker control PinmemberBobInNJ1-Mar-09 7:14 
GeneralRe: Problem with Colour Picker control PinadminChris Maunder1-Mar-09 16:59 
GeneralRe: Problem with Colour Picker control PinmemberSteve Palm4-Mar-09 11:41 
GeneralRe: Problem with Colour Picker control Pinmemberrbid8-Mar-09 2:55 
GeneralThanks! Pinmemberhwfmoon9-Oct-08 6:03 
GeneralXP Style PinmemberJimmyO9-Aug-08 23:20 
GeneralAs of VC++2008 (VC9) Pinmemberalcbz4-Jun-08 1:52 
GeneralRe: As of VC++2008 (VC9) PinmemberMember 9063139-Jan-09 14:38 
GeneralOffice 2007 style Color Picker control PinmemberOwfAdmin14-Jul-07 22:31 
GeneralRe: Office 2007 style Color Picker control PinmemberKuryn29-Nov-07 14:42 
Generalnot compiling with VC7+ Pinmembertoxcct5-May-06 1:12 
GeneralRe: not compiling with VC7+ [now fixed] Pinmembertoxcct10-May-06 3:43 
GeneralRe: not compiling with VC7+ [now fixed] Pinmember Dr.Luiji 20-Dec-07 0:51 
QuestionNon-MFC Version? Pinmemberjobe37747-Feb-06 0:31 
GeneralCOLORREF Value PinmemberDody_DK1-Dec-05 2:47 
Generalputting custom color palette Pinsusslaiju13-Jun-05 22:57 
GeneralRe: putting custom color palette Pinmemberlaiju13-Jun-05 23:05 
QuestionHow do I add this to MFC Grid Control. PinmemberT Turner8-Nov-04 5:30 
GeneralWPARAM and LPARAM casting PinsussArthg20-Aug-04 9:39 
QuestionHow to handle MSG in Toolbar? PinsussTony Lee6-Jul-04 23:28 
GeneralBug on multi-monitor system PinmemberPaul S. Vickery26-May-04 0:31 
GeneralKeyboard Navigation Pinmembergjr25-Mar-04 20:08 
GeneralOffice 2000, 2003 colors PinmemberAdrian Bacaianu16-Nov-03 6:34 
GeneralColor Picker License Pinmembernarm gadiraju10-Nov-03 22:36 
GeneralInstallation Pinmembergentle28-Oct-03 11:48 
GeneralSome addon :) PinmemberNicolay Ch29-Jun-03 0:53 
Generalcasting COLORREF to another type PinsussMathew Smith25-May-03 17:57 
GeneralRe: casting COLORREF to another type PinmemberJohn M. Drescher25-May-03 19:02 
GeneralAt last ! PinmemberTrollslayer18-May-03 4:24 
GeneralRe: At last ! PinadminChris Maunder18-May-03 7:04 
GeneralRe: At last ! PinmemberAndrewVos25-May-06 2:31 
GeneralColors in Colour Picker PinsussLast Walrus18-Mar-03 23:47 
GeneralRe: Colors in Colour Picker PinmemberBrad Bruce27-Mar-03 9:43 
GeneralRe: Colors in Colour Picker PinmemberEugene Karankow28-Mar-03 0:25 
GeneralHelp me!! I get confused by the skill of genius..... Pinmembereslea30-Nov-02 1:18 
GeneralWIndows CE Version PinmemberJoao Paulo Figueira12-Nov-02 2:30 
GeneralRe: WIndows CE Version PinadminChris Maunder12-Nov-02 8:44 
GeneralRe: WIndows CE Version PinmembershritiParashars7-Dec-06 21:03 
QuestionCan I attatch in toolbar? Pinsussende3-Nov-02 20:29 
AnswerRe: Can I attatch in toolbar? Pinmemberjefrusse28-Jan-03 8:19 
GeneralRe: Can I attatch in toolbar? PinmemberGao Qingzhong31-Jan-04 9:50 
GeneralRe: Can I attatch in toolbar? Pinmemberjefrusse3-Feb-04 5:19 
GeneralRe: Can I attatch in toolbar? Pinmemberduanjin5-Apr-10 23:00 
GeneralNeed to write code for BN_CLICKED in dialog class PinmemberDeelip Menezes27-Jul-01 22:21 
QuestionHow to handle On_SelChange PinsussReyes16-May-00 19:41 

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