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Posted 6 May 2002


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Screen and Form capture with Managed C++

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4.92/5 (39 votes)
3 Jul 2002CPOL2 min read
This is further demonstration of MC++ IJW capabilities

Image 1


I was continuing to play around with IJW. And when I realized that there was no direct Screen Capture method in .NET, I thought I might as well try to make a simple Screen Capturing program. Of course since I knew as much about GDI programming as some of these Canadians seem to know about Cricket, you might as well have guessed that I found things more than a little difficult. Luckily Tom Archer, James Johnson and Neil Van Note promptly answered my questions.

The sample program allows you to capture the entire screen or only the current form and also allows you to save the image, though here I have hard coded the filename and path, as I was too lazy to show a save dialog. If you repeatedly click on the capture buttons, you get a weird effect of cascading screen captures, one on top of the other as shown in the screenshot of the sample program.

Quick Rundown

Using GetDC or GetWindowDC depending on whether we are capturing the screen or the current window, we get our HDC using which we call CreateCompatibleDC to create our memory DC. Using a call to GetSystemMetrics we get the size of the screen and then call CreateCompatibleBitmap to create a bitmap. Then we select this bitmap into the memory DC using a call to SelectObject and save the old bitmap. Using BitBlt we copy the screen or window contents into this bitmap which is now selected into the memory DC. Then we select the original bitmap back into the DC, delete the memory DC, release the DC, and delete the bitmap. To be frank, there is not much .NET stuff involved in the code, but imagine if you had to write all this using C#. Think of all the P/Invoke stuff you'd have to do and the ugly declarations you'd have had to write for the API calls. With MC++ you are saved all that bother.

Full Source Listing

The source code is self-explanatory. Notice how I have written my WinMain. This is because I am including windows.h where WinMain is already prototyped in that fashion.

#include "stdafx.h"

#using <mscorlib.dll>
#using <System.dll>
#using <System.Drawing.dll>
#using <System.Windows.Forms.dll>

#include <tchar.h>
#include <windows.h>

using namespace System;
using namespace System::ComponentModel;
using namespace System::Drawing;
using namespace System::Windows::Forms;

public __gc class NForm : public Form
    Button *btn;
    Button *btn2;
    Button *btn3;
    PictureBox *pbox;
    void btn_Click(Object *sender, System::EventArgs* e); 
    void CaptureScreen(bool FullScreen);

        this->StartPosition = FormStartPosition::CenterScreen;
        this->Text = "Capture screen - Nish for CodeProject -IJW";
        this->Size = Drawing::Size(750,550);
        this->FormBorderStyle = System::Windows::Forms::FormBorderStyle::FixedDialog; 

        btn=new Button();
        btn->Text="Capture Screen";
        btn->add_Click(new EventHandler(this,&NForm::btn_Click)); 

        btn2=new Button();
        btn2->Text="Capture Form";
        btn2->add_Click(new EventHandler(this,&NForm::btn_Click)); 

        btn3=new Button();
        btn3->Text="Save C:\\Z.Jpg";
        btn3->add_Click(new EventHandler(this,&NForm::btn_Click)); 

        pbox = new PictureBox();
        pbox->BorderStyle = BorderStyle::Fixed3D;
        pbox->SizeMode = PictureBoxSizeMode::StretchImage;


int __stdcall WinMain(HINSTANCE,HINSTANCE,LPSTR,int)
    Application::Run(new NForm());
    return 0;

void NForm::btn_Click(Object *sender, System::EventArgs *e)

void NForm::CaptureScreen(bool FullScreen)
    HDC hDC;
        hDC = GetDC(NULL); //Get full screen
        HWND hWnd=(HWND)this->Handle.ToInt32(); //Get HWND of form
        hDC = GetWindowDC(hWnd); //Now get it's DC handle 
    HDC hMemDC = CreateCompatibleDC(hDC);
    RECT r;
    GetWindowRect((HWND)this->Handle.ToInt32(),&r); //need this for Form
    SIZE size;
    { = GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXSCREEN); = GetSystemMetrics(SM_CYSCREEN);
    { = r.right-r.left; =;

    //most of the remaining code is normal GDI stuff

    HBITMAP hBitmap = CreateCompatibleBitmap(hDC,,;
    if (hBitmap)
        HBITMAP hOld = (HBITMAP) SelectObject(hMemDC, hBitmap);
        BitBlt(hMemDC, 0, 0,,, hDC, 0, 0, SRCCOPY);
        SelectObject(hMemDC, hOld);
        ReleaseDC(NULL, hDC);
        pbox->Image = Image::FromHbitmap(hBitmap); 


  • May 7 02 - Posted the article
  • Jul 4 02 - Added sample VC++ project


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


About the Author

Nish Nishant
United States United States
Nish Nishant is a Principal Software Architect based out of Columbus, Ohio. He has over 17 years of software industry experience in various roles including Lead Software Architect, Principal Software Engineer, and Product Manager. Nish was a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP between 2002 and 2015.

Nish is an industry acknowledged expert in the Microsoft technology stack. He authored C++/CLI in Action for Manning Publications in 2005, and had previously co-authored Extending MFC Applications with the .NET Framework for Addison Wesley in 2003. In addition, he has over 140 published technology articles on and another 250+ blog articles on his WordPress blog. Nish is vastly experienced in team management, mentoring teams, and directing all stages of software development.

Contact Nish : If you are interested in hiring Nish as a consultant, you can reach him via his google email id voidnish.

Company Website :

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Aziz Yosofi6-Feb-13 22:25
MemberAziz Yosofi6-Feb-13 22:25 
Questionexcuse me, i have a problem in capturing when i play the video Pin
zhmx_love21-Aug-12 22:47
Memberzhmx_love21-Aug-12 22:47 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Member 923867912-Jul-12 22:27
MemberMember 923867912-Jul-12 22:27 
QuestionQuestions regarding your article Pin
Olariu Bogdan25-May-10 1:23
MemberOlariu Bogdan25-May-10 1:23 
AnswerRe: Questions regarding your article Pin
Nish Nishant25-May-10 1:29
sitebuilderNish Nishant25-May-10 1:29 
GeneralRe: Questions regarding your article Pin
Olariu Bogdan25-May-10 23:39
MemberOlariu Bogdan25-May-10 23:39 
Questionhow to get the image containing total content of entire form in .net windows application Pin
m.raghu18-Jun-07 19:13
Memberm.raghu18-Jun-07 19:13 
QuestionHow CreateDIBSection Work??? Pin
javad_200524-Sep-06 9:32
Memberjavad_200524-Sep-06 9:32 
QuestionC++/CLI Image::FromHBitmap Pin
Coder2k25-Jun-06 8:35
MemberCoder2k25-Jun-06 8:35 
QuestionRe: C++/CLI Image::FromHBitmap Pin
Coder2k25-Jun-06 10:01
MemberCoder2k25-Jun-06 10:01 
AnswerRe: C++/CLI Image::FromHBitmap Pin
Coder2k25-Jun-06 10:15
MemberCoder2k25-Jun-06 10:15 
Generalproblem Pin
mr_ander5on6-Jun-05 10:58
Membermr_ander5on6-Jun-05 10:58 
Questionhow SetDIBitsToDevice work??? Pin
Jagdish Vasani17-Mar-05 18:23
MemberJagdish Vasani17-Mar-05 18:23 
GeneralBlack Screen Pin
someone3214824-Apr-04 14:10
Membersomeone3214824-Apr-04 14:10 
AnswerRe: Black Screen [modified] Pin
damn_tiby27-Apr-07 6:39
Memberdamn_tiby27-Apr-07 6:39 
Generala question Pin
yediyildiz1-Aug-02 23:02
Memberyediyildiz1-Aug-02 23:02 
GeneralRe: a question Pin
Nish Nishant1-Aug-02 23:11
sitebuilderNish Nishant1-Aug-02 23:11 
GeneralRe: a question Pin
yediyildiz2-Aug-02 1:24
Memberyediyildiz2-Aug-02 1:24 
Generaldoh Pin
Maurizio Pisano4-Jul-02 15:07
MemberMaurizio Pisano4-Jul-02 15:07 
GeneralGood work but.. Pin
Rama Krishna Vavilala8-May-02 4:09
MemberRama Krishna Vavilala8-May-02 4:09 
GeneralRe: Good work but.. Pin
Nish Nishant8-May-02 8:56
sitebuilderNish Nishant8-May-02 8:56 
GeneralRe: Good work but.. Pin
Rama Krishna Vavilala8-May-02 8:57
MemberRama Krishna Vavilala8-May-02 8:57 
GeneralRe: Good work but.. Pin
Nish Nishant8-May-02 9:08
sitebuilderNish Nishant8-May-02 9:08 
GeneralRe: Good work but.. Pin
James T. Johnson8-May-02 9:38
MemberJames T. Johnson8-May-02 9:38 
GeneralRe: Good work but.. Pin
Nish Nishant8-May-02 9:42
sitebuilderNish Nishant8-May-02 9:42 

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