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Delphi/VB/VS.NET-style ObjectInspector Control

, 4 Aug 2001
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A Delphi-Style Object Inspector
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Sample Image #1 Sample Image #2


This control is an implementation of a Delphi/VB/VS.NET - Style Object-Inspector. I use this control in many of my applications' property pages to let the user quickly change application settings. I've tried to keep things as simple as possible, although usage of this control may look a bit strange at first sight - the interfaces of the control doesn't resemble the interfaces of other MFC controls, since it's intended to be special purpose control for changing properties only.

The documentation is sparse, because I do not have much time to write documentation. However, the included demo is hopefully a help in understanding how to use the features of the control.


The control supports many build-in property types (although adding your own propery-types should be no problem) :

  • bool
  • short
  • int
  • float
  • double
  • CString
  • CStringList
  • COleDateTime


To use this control in your own application, add CObjectInspector.cpp, CColorButton.cpp and CColourPopup.cpp to your project file. Open the resource editor and place a custom control on your dialog. In the control's properties enter "ObjectInspectorCtrl" as window-classname. Add a CObjectInspector variable to your dialog class :

CObjectInspector m_OI;

Add a DDX_Control handler to your DoDataExchange function :

void CMyDlg::DoDataExchange(CDataExchange* pDX)
	DDX_Control(pDX, IDC_OI, m_OI);

Override OnInitDialog to customize the Object-Inspector and to add groups and properties :

BOOL CMyDialog::OnInitDialog()

	CObjectInspector::CProperty *pGroup;
	// Create new property group
	m_OI.AddProperty (pProp = new CObjectInspector::CProperty("Group"));

	// Add properties to the group
	pProp->AddProperty (new CObjectInspector::CProperty("Integer-Value", &m_nIntValue));
	pProp->AddProperty (new CObjectInspector::CProperty("Bool Value", &m_bBoolVal));

Override OnNotify to receive notification messages from the control :

BOOL CMyDialog::OnNotify(WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam, LRESULT* pResult) 
    if (wParam == IDC_OI)

       CObjectInspector::NM_OIVIEW *nmHdr = (CObjectInspector::NM_OIVIEW*) lParam;

       // OIVN_ITEMCHANGED is sent after the user has changed a property
       if (nmHdr->hdr.code == OIVN_ITEMCHANGED)
           // Do some stuff (use nmHdr->pProperty to access the altered property)

       // OIVN_ITEMCHANGING is sent when the user is currently editing a property
       if (nmHdr->hdr.code == OIVN_ITEMCHANGING)
           // Do some stuff (use nmHdr->pProperty to access the currently edited property)
    return CDialog::OnNotify(wParam, lParam, pResult);

Known issues

Navigation with the cursor keys is quite unsatisfactorily.


  • Chris Maunder for his color picker
  • Keith Rule for his Memory DC class


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

Gunnar Bolle
Web Developer
Germany Germany
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRemaining Errors that Need to be Fixed.... Pin
chris17529-Apr-06 7:09
memberchris17529-Apr-06 7:09 
GeneralFix: Entering in negative values for Shorts and Integers Pin
chris17521-Apr-06 7:24
memberchris17521-Apr-06 7:24 
GeneralFix: Entering in negative values for Floats and Doubles Pin
chris17521-Apr-06 7:07
memberchris17521-Apr-06 7:07 
QuestionHow to change the Scroll Amount Pin
chris17521-Apr-06 7:02
memberchris17521-Apr-06 7:02 
GeneralColor Popup Flaw... Pin
chris17521-Apr-06 6:59
memberchris17521-Apr-06 6:59 
GeneralChange This to Fix Check Button Pin
chris17519-Apr-06 4:39
memberchris17519-Apr-06 4:39 
GeneralUse this to update data after closing control Pin
chris17519-Apr-06 2:51
memberchris17519-Apr-06 2:51 
GeneralBug in CalculateScrollRange Pin
Einstand16-Aug-05 0:13
memberEinstand16-Aug-05 0:13 
GeneralBug reports part 2. - The Fixes Pin
Yogurt11-Aug-03 4:37
memberYogurt11-Aug-03 4:37 
GeneralBug reports (even if the author doesn't update this article...) Pin
Yogurt11-Aug-03 3:24
memberYogurt11-Aug-03 3:24 
1. Radio buttons are basically ill.
a.) It might be my mistake but I haven't found any way to tell which control belongs to which value of the attached variable.
b.) Select "Normal" style in the demo project. Now the appearance switches to the "W2K" style, though the radio buttons still indicate the "Normal" style. If you select another row, the look reverts to the correct style.

2. The selected boolean control moves 2 pixels to the left, making it looking unaligned. I found the place where 2 is added though I don't understand why the selected line is drawn incorrectly.

3. When a new boolean line is selected, its state is changed. In my taste it should happen only if the user clicks in the value column.

4. In the beginning of the InitInstance function, the whole Enable3dControls stuff must be enclosed as
#if _MFC_VER < 0x0700
because they are obsolete in MFC 7.0.

5. If the control is set to smaller width than that of the first column, a horizontal scroll bar should have been displayed.

6. Mouse wheel should scroll the list one row at a time instead of one pixel.

7. There is some 1-or-2-pixel size miscalculation: the top of the first row below the header is overdrawn with gray.

I'll try to fix the above problems.

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