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Posted 1 Jan 2002

CPropTree v1.0 - Property Tree Control

, 1 Jan 2002
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Custom MFC tree control that support dynamic editable items

Sample Image Sample Image Sample Image


The CPropTree class implements a tree control that is similar to the property view seen in Visual Studio .Net. The source project compiles to a DLL so you can easily incorporate it into your project. You can check my web page for more information on the control.

The control has two window areas:

  • Tree Control
  • Descriptive area

The tree control section functions just a like a normal tree control with an addition of a splitter bar separating the tree item properties. Tree item properties are inherited from the CPropTreeItem class. These items can be edit controls, static text, dropdown combo list, or any type of control you wish to create. Items on the root level of the tree control do not have editable properties. They are used as section headers.

Tree items can contain checkboxes. By default properties that are editable (non-readonly), are displayed in bold lettering. Read only or non-editable items are displayed in a normal font.

The descriptive area displays the selected item's text and any informational text. This section can be displayed or hidden by calling CPropTree::ShowInfoText().


To use the control, create an instance of the class in your dialog or view class header. In the OnInitDialog() or OnCreate() initialize the control:

DWORD dwStyle;
CRect rc;

// PTS_NOTIFY - CPropTree will send notification messages to the parent window

// Init the control's size to cover the entire client area

// Create CPropTree control
m_Tree.Create(dwStyle, rc, this, IDC_PROPERTYTREE);

To add items to the control, dynamically create objects inherited by the CPropTreeItem class and call the CPropTree::InsertItem() method.

CPropTreeItem* pItem1;

pItem1 = m_Tree.InsertItem(new CPropTreeItem());
pItem1->SetInfoText(_T("This is a root level item"));

CPropTreeItem* pItem2;

pItem2 = m_Tree.InsertItem(new CPropTreeItemEdit(), pItem1);
pItem2->SetInfoText(_T("This is a child item of Properties, with an edit control"));

pItem2->SetItemValue((LPARAM)_T("This is some default text for the edit control"));

Advanced Features

Notification Messages

The control uses WM_NOTIFY notification messages to signal events. Add a ON_NOTIFY message handler to the parent window to process notifications. The control supports most of the common NM_ codes with addition of the following CPropTree specific WM_NOTIFY codes.

  • PTN_INSERTITEM when an item is inserted
  • PTN_DELETEITEM when an item is about to be deleted
  • PTN_DELETEALLITEMS when a call is made to delete all items
  • PTN_ITEMCHANGED when an item's property has been modified
  • PTN_SELCHANGE when the current selection changed
  • PTN_ITEMEXPANDING when an item is about to expand or close
  • PTN_COLUMNCLICK when the mouse clicks on the splitter bar
  • PTN_PROPCLICK when the mouse clicks on an item's property area
  • PTN_CHECKCLICK when the mouse clicks on an item's checkbox

notification messages returns the NMPROPTREE structure. You can use this structure along with the CPropTreeItem::SetCtrlID() method to determine the tree item that sent an event.


void CMyDialog::OnItemChanged(NMHDR* pNotifyStruct, LRESULT* plResult)

	if (pNMPropTree->pItem)
		// retrieve pItem's changed data

	*plResult = 0;

Custom Property Items

The library already has some default derived CPropTreeItem classes ready to use. Such as an edit control CPropTreeItemEdit, color picker CPropTreeItemColor, dropdown combobox CPropTreeItemCombo and static text CPropTreeItemStatic. To create your own custom property items:

  • Create your own class inherited by CPropTreeItem. This class usually will have multiple inheritance depending on what type of item you want to create.
    class CMyCustomEditPropItem : public CEdit, public CPropTreeItem
    	virtual ~CMyCustomEditPropItem();
    class CMyCustomComboBoxPropItem : public CComboBox, public CPropTreeItem
    	virtual ~CMyCustomComboBoxPropItem();
  • Override the CPropTreeItem virtual methods to implement your property item.
  • Dynamically create an instance of your class and insert it into a CPropTree control.

The methods most often overriden from CPropTreeItem are:

  • CPropTreeItem::OnActivate(). Called when the property area is clicked by the mouse or the enter key has been pressed on the selected item. The OnActivate() method is where you show the property item's window if it has one (such as an edit control or a popup menu).
  • CPropTreeItem::OnCommit(). Called when data has been commited. In this method you would extract the changed data and hide the property's item's window. OnCommit() gets called when CommitChanges() is called. A derived CPropTreeItem class would call CommitChanges() during a loss of the input focus or if the "Enter" key is press as in a edit control.
  • CPropTreeItem::DrawAttribute(). CPropTree calls DrawAttribute() when the property item needs to be displayed. Drawing is done directly on the display context of the PropTree control.


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


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Comments and Discussions

GeneralScrollbar stops drawing itself Pin
Zuka15-Jan-04 13:23
memberZuka15-Jan-04 13:23 
GeneralRe: Scrollbar stops drawing itself Pin
MHillary14-Jul-04 3:08
memberMHillary14-Jul-04 3:08 
GeneralProblems adding CPropTree to my project Pin
IGx894-Dec-03 15:40
memberIGx894-Dec-03 15:40 
Questionhow to add columns ? Pin
Broken-Sword9-Nov-03 20:22
memberBroken-Sword9-Nov-03 20:22 
GeneralUsing in Visual Basic Pin
ledi21-Aug-03 4:27
memberledi21-Aug-03 4:27 
QuestionCheckboxes? Pin
ihaml28-Jul-03 6:54
memberihaml28-Jul-03 6:54 
Generalexcellent!but... Pin
Pole15-Jun-03 21:24
memberPole15-Jun-03 21:24 
QuestionHow to add this control in a window? Pin
tasos milix11-Mar-03 23:40
membertasos milix11-Mar-03 23:40 
Does anybody knows how to add this control in a window (non-dialog)? I try it but only the information is displayed. (I also convert it to be statically linked).
AnswerRe: How to add this control in a window? Pin
Devil for ever22-Feb-06 7:07
memberDevil for ever22-Feb-06 7:07 
Generalall control get hidden Pin
New227-Jan-03 3:17
sussNew227-Jan-03 3:17 
GeneralException OnSetCursor Pin
Anonymous11-Nov-02 15:38
sussAnonymous11-Nov-02 15:38 
Generalclearing items Pin
Anonymous11-Nov-02 3:35
sussAnonymous11-Nov-02 3:35 
GeneralRe: clearing items Pin
Alweit13-Dec-02 4:33
memberAlweit13-Dec-02 4:33 
GeneralRe: clearing items Pin
sdepasquale29-Oct-04 4:44
membersdepasquale29-Oct-04 4:44 
GeneralRe: clearing items Pin
alex k20-Apr-05 11:03
memberalex k20-Apr-05 11:03 
GeneralRe: clearing items Pin
Ronaldo in Chinese3-Feb-06 2:13
memberRonaldo in Chinese3-Feb-06 2:13 
GeneralRe: clearing items Pin
Ronaldo in Chinese3-Feb-06 2:15
memberRonaldo in Chinese3-Feb-06 2:15 
GeneralRe: clearing items Pin
Ronaldo in Chinese3-Feb-06 2:16
memberRonaldo in Chinese3-Feb-06 2:16 
GeneralPossible bug. Pin
Anonymous31-Oct-02 20:11
sussAnonymous31-Oct-02 20:11 
GeneralBug Pin
Joel Holdsworth26-Aug-02 9:03
memberJoel Holdsworth26-Aug-02 9:03 
GeneralRe: Bug Pin
d00_ape10-Feb-05 22:56
memberd00_ape10-Feb-05 22:56 
GeneralRe: Bug Pin
d00_ape10-Feb-05 23:22
memberd00_ape10-Feb-05 23:22 
GeneralScrolling vertically become slow if too many items added... Pin
seawind21-Aug-02 18:49
memberseawind21-Aug-02 18:49 
QuestionHow to add horizontal scroll bar in your control??? Pin
seawind5-Aug-02 22:06
memberseawind5-Aug-02 22:06 
Questionrelease version paint problem? Pin
Anonymous28-Jul-02 21:34
sussAnonymous28-Jul-02 21:34 

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