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Simple way to create non-rectangular shaped dialogs

, 6 Dec 2003
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This article outlines a simple way to create dialogs which are not rectangular in shape


Normally Dialog Boxes are rectangular in shape. Various methods can be adopted to make them non-rectangular in shape. However, most of these methods are complicated and suited for application that uses skinning to create dialogs with the shape of a skin or image. If the required shape of the dialog is simple like a rectangle with rounded corners or an ellipse, then a much simpler method can be used. In this method multiple CRgn objects are created and then combined (union of regions) to create a compound region. The dialog is then given the shape of the compound region.

The Code

All the required code is in the OnInitDialog method of the dialog

Step 1: Set Dialog style

To change the shape of the dialog, in the OnInitDialog of the dialog the Caption and the Border of the dialog is removed.

   //  Remove caption and border
   SetWindowLong(m_hWnd, GWL_STYLE, GetWindowLong(m_hWnd, GWL_STYLE) 
        & (~(WS_CAPTION | WS_BORDER)));

Step 2: Create individual regions

Individual elliptic regions are then created using the coordinates of the dialog's window

    //  Get the rectangle
    CRect rect;
    int w = rect.Width();
    int h = rect.Height();
    CRgn rgn1;
    CRgn rgn2;

    //  Create the top ellipse 
    rgn1.CreateEllipticRgn(1, 1, w, h/2 + 30);

    //  Create the bottom ellipse 
    rgn2.CreateEllipticRgn(1, h/2 - 30, w, h);

Step 3: Combine the regions into one

The regions are combined to create a single region. The combination is actually a UNION of all the individual regions

    //  Combine the two ellipses 
    CombineRgn(rgn1, rgn1, rgn2, RGN_OR);

Step 4: Change the shape of the dialog to the region

The dialogs shape is changed using the following code

    //  Set the window region
    SetWindowRgn(static_cast<HRGN>(rgn1.GetSafeHandle()), TRUE);

Step 5: Cleaning up

The CRgn object needs to be detached from the region, or else the CRgn destructor closes the HRGN handle when rgn objects go out of scope



  • Initial version


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About the Author

Web Developer
United States United States
I just love coding. I started programming in 1995 with BASIC and then moved through Cobol, Pascal, Prolog, C, C++, VB, VC++ and now C#/.NET.
I received a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science from University of Calcutta in 2001.
I worked for some time in Texas Instruments, Adobe Systems and now in Microsoft India Development Center in the Visual Studio Team Systems.
I am from the City of Joy, Kolkata in India, but now live and code Hyderabad.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 4 Pinmemberonlybj22-Jul-10 23:24 
GeneralCreate a Non Rectangle shaped Dialog PinmemberDabara29-Jul-08 4:51 
GeneralSimple but helpful. PinmemberZhou'Liang10-Apr-08 16:23 
GeneralExcellent sample code PinmemberTigerTom21-Feb-08 0:44 
QuestionGood work, how about border? PinmemberRaj Gopal5-Dec-06 16:55 
QuestionHow to create non-rectangular shaped Buttons PinmemberPravinSingh19-May-06 2:11 
AnswerRe: How to create non-rectangular shaped Buttons Pinmemberabhinaba19-May-06 10:58 
QuestionHow to create complex shape windows? PinmemberTom42710-Mar-04 7:53 
AnswerRe: How to create complex shape windows? Pinmemberabhinaba12-Mar-04 2:27 
GeneralSomething so cool... PinmemberAndrew Lawrence2-Mar-04 9:16 
Generalvery good Pinmemberali_kh16-Dec-03 23:15 
GeneralVery Useful Pinmemberbkimble15-Dec-03 13:34 
GeneralThanks for the support Pinmemberabhinaba11-Dec-03 18:41 
GeneralWhat's new here? Useless article PinmemberClevedon_Peanut11-Dec-03 2:56 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article Pinsusskriaz27-Jul-04 23:29 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article PinmemberClevedon_Peanut28-Jul-04 0:59 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article Pinmembergmohanraj11-Feb-10 2:01 
General[Message Deleted] PinsussAnonymous9-Dec-03 6:39 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article. PinmemberTidhar9-Dec-03 21:02 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article. Pinmemberabhinaba9-Dec-03 21:06 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article. PinmemberTrollslayer5-Nov-06 6:55 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article. PinmemberForogar15-Dec-03 2:20 
GeneralRe: What's new here? Useless article. Pinmemberbinyo6630-Jun-09 1:07 

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