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Thumbnail Picture Control

, 23 Oct 2002
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A MFC thumbnail picture control
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Sample Image - ThumbNailCtrl.png

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Recently, I was asked to write a thumbnail control to preview a certain numbers of pictures from a database. At the beginning, I was just lazy and want to get one over the net. After a few days, unluckily, I still got nothing. With my boss pressure, I finally have to write it once. Thank you to my boss if you find this piece of code is useful.


You are suggested to know a little bit about the use of custom control. I would recommend you to try the MFC Grid Control by Chris Maunder and his great articles at beginner level about "Creating Custom Controls".

Using the code

Although I have recommended you to have basic knowledge from previous articles, I will still provide step-by-step instructions to use the control.

Step 1: Create a Dialog resource with a custom control on it.
Type "CThumbNailControl" in class and "IDC_FRAME_THUMB" in ID

Step 2: Create a class and associate it to the preivous created dialog. Go to the header file of the class. Insert a include and a variable like below:

#include "ThumbNailControl.h"

class CThumbNailDlg : public CDialog
    <code>CThumbNailControl	m_cThumbFrame</code>;

Step 3: And then go to the cpp file to add the line "DDX_Control(pDX, IDC_FRAME_THUMB, m_cThumbFrame);"

void CThumbNailDlg::DoDataExchange(CDataExchange* pDX)
  DDX_Text(pDX, IDC_MSG, m_sMsg);
  <code>DDX_Control(pDX, IDC_FRAME_THUMB, m_cThumbFrame);</code>

Step 4: Now, go to OnInitDialog. An initialization is required here. The two integers are the width and heigh of a thumbnail button. You must call the "m_cThumbFrame.InitializeVariables" once. The default size is width=100 & height=75.

BOOL CThumbNailDlg::OnInitDialog()

  // TODO: Add extra initialization here
  m_cThumbFrame.InitializeVariables( 200, 150 );

  m_cThumbFrame.Add( "fish.bmp" );
  m_cThumbFrame.Add( "pinboard.bmp" );
  m_cThumbFrame.Add( "chess.bmp" );
  m_cThumbFrame.Add( "box.bmp" );
  return TRUE;  // return TRUE  unless you set the focus to a control

That's ALL.

Callback for L/R Mouse Clicks

Now, the control is ready to use. You only have to add a few more codes to response to the left and right mouse clicks (L/R MouseDown). In the header file of your dialog, add the following lines.

  afx_msg LRESULT OnTnbLClicked( WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam );
  afx_msg LRESULT OnTnbRClicked( WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam );

In the Message Map section of the dialog cpp file, add...


Now, you can add two functions to response to the 2 events.

  LRESULT CThumbNailDlg::OnTnbLClicked( WPARAM wParam, LPARAM /* lParam  */ )
  LRESULT CThumbNailDlg::OnTnbRClicked( WPARAM wParam, LPARAM /* lParam */ )

Some Known Issues

A smart reader like you may question for the supportted image formats. I am sorry that the current version could only support the bitmap file. Perhaps in the later version, I will add the code to support other formats. Interested readers could could refer to the article "Simple class for drawing pictures (jpg, tif, gif, etc...)" by Peter Hendrix or any other to integrate the codes together. I would be grateful if you spend the efforts to help me. ^_^

Another issue is about the calling of AfxMessageBox with mouse clicked action. You have to call ResetTrackFlag immediately after the popup of message box. I don't have time to deeply resolve it. Just write one more function to reset the flag. You may refer to and try modify the CThumbNailDlg::OnTnbRClicked in demo project to see the problem.


If you would like to give me comments and any suggestions, leave me a message or an email.


2002/10/25 Version 1.0 First relese.


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

Rex Fong
Software Developer
Hong Kong Hong Kong
Software developer in realtime, hi-freq trading app.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralNot pass the Mouse Left/Right button click message to it's Parent window. Pinmembergawadepd22-Mar-11 3:04 
GeneralWant Jpg, Gif and other formats, here is the code.... PinmemberHabeeballah Hasnoddin19-Jul-08 0:36 
GeneralCustom Control, List Control and DoModal Pinmemberstanleyhxywork8-Mar-07 20:42 
Hi Rex,

Thank you for providing this thumbnail control class. It is very useful.
While I used your CThumbnailControl class and associated it with a List Control instead of Custom Control, the scroll bar (both vertical and horizontal) cannot be displayed. Can you shed some light on why it is so?

Another question is if I use a custom control on a dialog and call DoModal(), the dialog creation will fail. I have searched many forum but couldn't find a working solution. Do you have any idea how to fix this?

appreciate any help provided.



The man of tomorrow is shaped by his battles today.

GeneralRe: Custom Control, List Control and DoModal Pinmemberkp200320-Oct-07 21:17 
GeneralOnMouseWheel() not active Pinmembersafety_ruk8-Aug-06 22:54 
QuestionIs it possible to resize the preview size at runtime ? PinmemberMehta Jigar13-Apr-06 12:08 
GeneralRemove image PinmemberLarsson28-Oct-04 2:16 
GeneralRefresh PinmemberL$D12-Aug-04 7:12 
GeneralRe: Refresh Pinmemberleven31-Mar-06 9:22 
QuestionCan this code be modified to display JPEQ file? Pinmembertechguyatwork3-May-04 8:45 
AnswerRe: Can this code be modified to display JPEQ file? Pinmembertechguyatwork3-May-04 12:15 
GeneralRe: Can this code be modified to display JPEQ file? PinmemberRex Fong3-May-04 15:45 
GeneralI can't download patched source code ! Pinmembersigtrans6-Feb-04 16:41 
GeneralRe: I can't download patched source code ! PinmemberRex Fong6-Feb-04 16:56 
GeneralEndless loop PinmemberFilip Geens17-Sep-03 3:57 
GeneralRe: Endless loop PinmemberRex Fong17-Sep-03 16:02 
GeneralUse with CFormView, horizontal scrolling, PinmemberManojP11-Apr-03 0:50 
GeneralRe: Use with CFormView, horizontal scrolling, Pinmembergawadepd22-Mar-11 4:18 
GeneralSorting The Images By Drag and Drop Pinmemberpavankvk30-Mar-03 18:31 
GeneralRe: Sorting The Images By Drag and Drop PinmemberRex Fong30-Mar-03 22:41 
QuestionNeed some help ... how can i clear the control? PinmemberE310-Dec-02 4:48 
GeneralThanks goto it working PinmemberE37-Dec-02 10:33 
GeneralRe: Thanks goto it working PinmemberManojP11-Apr-03 0:46 
Questionvery nice! what about list control and thumbnails? Pinmemberhvibh7-Dec-02 3:11 
GeneralPutting into SDI or MDI project PinmemberE36-Dec-02 10:52 

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