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Posted 1 Feb 2002
Licenced CPOL

Menu Bitmaps from Minimal Source Code

, 1 Feb 2002
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Add bitmaps to your menus easily and with very little source code.

A menu with bitmaps


This article describes a method of adding bitmaps to your menus. The method is very easy to use, for example adding all the bitmaps on a tool bar is accomplished by a single function call. The demo project includes a class called BitmapMenu that can be used to add bitmap menus to your own projects. This class is made up of a small amount of source code, making it easy to understand and maintain.

There are two good related articles on the code project about adding bitmaps to menus. They are:

These are both excellent articles with lots of good accompanying code. Brent Corkum's code in particular produces nice looking bitmaps, and it has been extensively tested and updated. So of course you are thinking: "Why do I need to bother with your article?"

The main disadvantage of the Corkum method is the size of the code. Something as simple as placing bitmaps on menus requires a significant amount of code which must be maintained by you (or you have to hope that Mr. Corkum is nice enough to keep updating his classes). For this reason I chose to use the much more compact Denisov method. Nikolay Denisov's article addresses much more than putting bitmaps on menus, and the bitmap code is intertwined with his other code, so it is difficult to use independently. Therefore, I developed a class based on the Denisov method that is modular. The result is that both my method and the Corkum method are easy to setup, but there is a significant difference in the resulting amount of source code. The approximate lines of source code required by the two methods are:

  • Corkum method: 2,350 lines
  • This method: 250 lines

Unlike Corkum's work, this code has not been well tested. It has only been tested under Windows 98, and will not work under Windows 95/NT.

To use this code download the demo project. The demo has a second tool bar which demonstrates two of the class member functions: AddToolBar and RemoveToolBar. To add bitmap menus to your own project follow these 5 steps:

  1. Add the following files to your project:
    BitmapMenu.cpp, BitmapMenu.h, winuser2.h
  2. In MainFrm.h - Add this line to the top of the file:
    #include "BitmapMenu.h"
  3. In MainFrm.h - Inherit your main frame window from BitmapMenu rather than from CFrameWnd or CMDIFrameWnd.
    class CMainFrame : public BitmapMenu<CFrameWnd>
  4. In MainFrm.cpp - Add three message handlers between BEGIN_MESSAGE_MAP and END_MESSAGE_MAP.
  5. In MainFrm.cpp - At the end of the CMainFrame::OnCreate() function add each tool bar that you want to appear on the menu:


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Warren Gardner
United States United States
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionImage dimensions Pin
andrewtruckle4-Nov-09 22:02
memberandrewtruckle4-Nov-09 22:02 

This is a great class. Small code set for simple functionality.

My problem is that my toolbar uses a larger set of images and therefore the menu now looks silly because it has expanded to accomodate the images.

What I need is a way to force the images down to the smaller usual dimensions and then it will be fine.

How can I do this?

QuestionHow to add bitmaps for menu items without using the app resource. i.e. using external bmp file at run time. Pin
Rookie_Coder12-Aug-08 21:28
memberRookie_Coder12-Aug-08 21:28 
GeneralThank you very much Pin
Yogesh Dhakad17-Jul-07 4:50
memberYogesh Dhakad17-Jul-07 4:50 
QuestionHow to change checkmark style? Pin
zhonglin.liang23-Aug-06 20:08
memberzhonglin.liang23-Aug-06 20:08 
GeneralTo show or hide the toolbar Pin
Hanney Wang13-Sep-04 16:18
memberHanney Wang13-Sep-04 16:18 
GeneralFix to solve crashes on Windows NT/95 Pin
PEK8-Sep-04 8:59
memberPEK8-Sep-04 8:59 
QuestionHelp - Context Menu? Pin
Jayant_Mukherjee8-Jul-04 18:53
memberJayant_Mukherjee8-Jul-04 18:53 
GeneralMenu Bitmaps from Hidden Toolbars Pin
vjplusplus21-Mar-04 23:09
membervjplusplus21-Mar-04 23:09 
GeneralRe: Menu Bitmaps from Hidden Toolbars Pin
Warren Gardner29-Mar-04 5:24
memberWarren Gardner29-Mar-04 5:24 
GeneralStudent from Poland need help with menu Pin
haiaw22-May-03 23:08
memberhaiaw22-May-03 23:08 
QuestionWin32 SDK Example? Pin
ajax197124-Jan-03 4:04
memberajax197124-Jan-03 4:04 
AnswerRe: Win32 SDK Example? Pin
Warren Gardner4-Feb-03 10:41
memberWarren Gardner4-Feb-03 10:41 
GeneralRe: Win32 SDK Example? Pin
TimWallace16-Jun-03 4:13
memberTimWallace16-Jun-03 4:13 
GeneralRe: Win32 SDK Example? Pin
Hallsoft27-Aug-04 0:12
memberHallsoft27-Aug-04 0:12 
GeneralChange checkmarks style Pin
caranthol17-Jan-03 6:51
membercaranthol17-Jan-03 6:51 
GeneralRe: Change checkmarks style Pin
Warren Gardner4-Feb-03 10:35
memberWarren Gardner4-Feb-03 10:35 
GeneralCompile error Pin
23-May-02 22:19
suss23-May-02 22:19 
GeneralRe: Compile error Pin
Warren Gardner28-May-02 7:54
memberWarren Gardner28-May-02 7:54 
Generalthe BitmapMenu project doesn't work Pin
4-May-02 4:50
suss4-May-02 4:50 
GeneralRe: the BitmapMenu project doesn't work Pin
Warren Gardner15-May-02 8:28
memberWarren Gardner15-May-02 8:28 
GeneralRe: the BitmapMenu project doesn't work Pin
caranthol2-Jan-03 0:44
membercaranthol2-Jan-03 0:44 
GeneralWhen the toolbar can be customized... Pin
4-Apr-02 19:57
suss4-Apr-02 19:57 
GeneralRe: When the toolbar can be customized... Pin
Warren Gardner10-Apr-02 4:26
memberWarren Gardner10-Apr-02 4:26 
GeneralRe: When the toolbar can be customized... Pin
nilaysoft10-Apr-02 23:45
membernilaysoft10-Apr-02 23:45 
GeneralRe: When the toolbar can be customized... Pin
Warren Gardner19-Apr-02 16:43
memberWarren Gardner19-Apr-02 16:43 

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