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Posted 19 Feb 2007

Creating a Glass Button using GDI+

, 26 Mar 2013
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How to create an animating glass button using only GDI+ (and not using WPF)


Sample application using a standard glass button with image.

Sample application using a standard glass button with image.

The same application, but this time it has a customized glass button.

Sample application using a customized glass button.

MFC application which hosts four glass buttons.

MFC application which hosts four glass buttons.


I bet you have already seen animated task buttons in Windows Vista. I have. I was wondering how to create a similar control. Fortunately, I found a web page which describes how to do that using the Microsoft Expression Blend (Creating a Glass Button: The Complete Tutorial). The glass button (and thus the whole application) created with the Microsoft Expression Blend requires .NET Framework 3.0 to run. Because some people cannot or do not want to use .NET Framework 3.0 yet, I have decided to rewrite that cool control using only GDI+ so it would work with .NET Framework 2.0.

"Converting" XAML to C# (GDI+)

The tutorial from the page mentioned above was easy to complete, and the generated XAML code was so understandable that there were no big issues with a "conversion."

For example, I have translated the following code:

<Border HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" 

        Margin="0,0,0,0" x:Name="shine" 

        Width="Auto" CornerRadius="4,4,0,0">

    <LinearGradientBrush EndPoint="0.494,0.889" 

      <GradientStop Color="#99FFFFFF" Offset="0" />

      <GradientStop Color="#33FFFFFF" Offset="1" />



using (GraphicsPath bh = CreateTopRoundRectangle(rect2, 4))
  int opacity = 0x99;
  if (isPressed) opacity = (int)(.4f * opacity + .5f);
  using (Brush br = new LinearGradientBrush(rect2, 
                          Color.FromArgb(opacity, shineColor),
                          Color.FromArgb(opacity / 3, shineColor),
    g.FillPath(br, bh);

(This is only a fragment of the DrawButtonBackground method.)

Even the animation of a hovered button was easily obtained by using the Timer class. Unfortunately, an animation is not quite smooth when a glass button is quite big.

How to use the GlassButton class?

The GlassButton class derives from the Button class so it can be used in the same way. Displaying an image on a glass button is also supported now. Even the guidelines work fine in the Visual Studio's form designer.


  • 1.3.2 (02.11.2008) — Important! This is the last “standalone” version of the control. The next version will be included in a new project hosted at CodePlex.
    • Fixed a bug that caused the button's image to be disposed in certain situations.
  • 1.3.1 (27.10.2008)
    • The source code is now available both in C# and VB.NET.
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.3 (19.11.2007)
    • The image is grayed when the button is disabled.
    • Added property 'FadeOnFocus'.
    • Improved performance.
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.2 (31.03.2007)
    • The 'disabled' look differs from the 'enabled' one.
    • Added some 'PropertyChange' events.
    • Improved performance.
    • Splitted source code from compiled library and demo application.
    • Added MFC demo application.
    • Added toolbox bitmap.
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.1.1 (22.02.2007)
    • Minor bugs fixed.
  • 1.1 (21.02.2007)
    • Added images support.
  • 1.0 (19.02.2007)
    • First version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Common Public License Version 1.0 (CPL)


About the Author

Lukasz Swiatkowski
Software Developer
Poland Poland
I am a graduate of Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland.

My interests: reading, programming, drawing, Japan, yoga, tai-chi.

My websites:,

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
drummerboy051124-Mar-11 10:39
memberdrummerboy051124-Mar-11 10:39 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
csrss21-Dec-10 10:02
membercsrss21-Dec-10 10:02 
GeneralBrilliant :) Pin
Ant21003-Sep-10 12:21
memberAnt21003-Sep-10 12:21 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
lastrebel2-Sep-10 14:24
memberlastrebel2-Sep-10 14:24 
GeneralThank You Pin
Tim Grindley2-Mar-10 2:27
memberTim Grindley2-Mar-10 2:27 
GeneralRounded Corners Pin
edurveda18-Nov-09 10:18
memberedurveda18-Nov-09 10:18 
Generalback color transparency Pin
Member 39534808-Jul-09 0:46
memberMember 39534808-Jul-09 0:46 
GeneralRe: back color transparency Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski8-Jul-09 4:16
memberLukasz Swiatkowski8-Jul-09 4:16 
Did you try also manually draw background in WM_ERASEBKGND message?
BOOL MyDlg::OnEraseBkgnd(CDC* pDC)
    CRect rect;
    CBrush myBrush(RGB(255, 255, 255));    // dialog background color
    CBrush *pOld = pDC->SelectObject(&myBrush);
    BOOL bRes = pDC->PatBlt(0, 0, rect.Width(), rect.Height(), PATCOPY);
    pDC->SelectObject(pOld);    // restore old brush
    return bRes;                       // CDialog::OnEraseBkgnd(pDC);


My website:

JokeThank you Pin
Mr_Coder18-Mar-09 19:50
memberMr_Coder18-Mar-09 19:50 
Generalits some how good Pin
zanzona12-Jan-09 0:07
memberzanzona12-Jan-09 0:07 
GeneralUsing a GlassButton as the appearance for a RadioButton Pin
Meestor_X28-Nov-08 11:59
memberMeestor_X28-Nov-08 11:59 
GeneralRe: Using a GlassButton as the appearance for a RadioButton Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski12-Jan-09 12:49
memberLukasz Swiatkowski12-Jan-09 12:49 
QuestionRe: Using a GlassButton as the appearance for a RadioButton Pin
himoobd14-May-09 2:39
memberhimoobd14-May-09 2:39 
QuestionImage Animation Pin
Danish Sultan9-Nov-08 21:46
memberDanish Sultan9-Nov-08 21:46 
AnswerRe: Image Animation Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski12-Jan-09 12:13
memberLukasz Swiatkowski12-Jan-09 12:13 
GeneralExcellent! Pin
grt3kl19-Aug-08 12:27
membergrt3kl19-Aug-08 12:27 
GeneralRe: Excellent! Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski2-Sep-08 9:17
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski2-Sep-08 9:17 
GeneralVB Version Pin
raing325-Jun-08 14:42
memberraing325-Jun-08 14:42 
GeneralRe: VB Version Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski26-Jun-08 0:47
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski26-Jun-08 0:47 
GeneralAwesome Button! Pin
Engr4867-Jun-08 9:22
memberEngr4867-Jun-08 9:22 
GeneralRe: Awesome Button! Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski26-Jun-08 0:37
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski26-Jun-08 0:37 
QuestionLicence Pin
Julian-w17-May-08 4:03
memberJulian-w17-May-08 4:03 
AnswerRe: Licence Pin
Lukasz Swiatkowski17-May-08 7:10
mvpLukasz Swiatkowski17-May-08 7:10 
GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Julian-w17-May-08 8:18
memberJulian-w17-May-08 8:18 
GeneralRe: Licence Pin
Julian-w18-May-08 3:50
memberJulian-w18-May-08 3:50 

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