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Posted 20 Nov 1999


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Flicker Free Drawing In MFC

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4.96 (168 votes)
25 Mar 2002CPOL
A simple animation example which is used to show CMemDC in several modes

Sample Image

A simple animation example which is used to show CMemDC in several mode


Removing flicker from an MFC application is well-covered territory. You can find the topic addressed in books, and on-line. However, the techniques presented are somewhat complicated and are usually difficult to add to an existing application. One often-presented technique is called double buffering. Double buffering allows the new screen to be drawn in off-screen memory, and then the completed screen is bit-blited back onto the physical screen.

This article presents a class called CMemDC that encapsulates most of the issues associated with writing to off-screen buffers. Adding CMemDC to an existing application or MFC Active X control is nearly trivial.

Modifying an MFC Application to Use CMemDC

  • Add the file memdc.h in your project.
  • Add the line #include "memdc.h" to stdafx.h.
  • Add a windows message handler for WM_ERASEBKGND.
  • Change the code in the message handler as follows:
    // Change this code
    BOOL CExampleView::OnEraseBkgnd(CDC* pDC) 
          // TODO: Add your message handler code here and/or call default
          return CView::OnEraseBkgnd(pDC);
    // To this code
    BOOL CExampleView::OnEraseBkgnd(CDC* pDC) 
          return FALSE;
  • Change your OnDraw code to the following:
    void CExampleView::OnDraw(CDC* dc)
        CMemDC pDC(dc);
        CExampleDoc* pDoc = GetDocument();
        // TODO: add draw code for native data here - use pDC 
         //as the device context to draw to

Compile your code after you've made these changes and you will notice that the flicker you had seen before is gone.

Modifying a MFC Active X Control to Use CMemDC

To add CMemDC support, you follow the instruction for adding the support to an application, however you make one small change in the OnDraw function.

void CParticleTestCtlCtrl::OnDraw(CDC* pdc, const CRect& rcBounds, 
                                  const CRect& rcInvalid)
    CMemDC pDC(pdc, &rcBounds);
    // TODO: add draw code for native data here
    // - use pDC as the device context to draw 

The only substantial difference is that the rcBounds is passed to the CMemDC constructor.

Source Code

#ifndef _MEMDC_H_
#define _MEMDC_H_
// CMemDC - memory DC
// Author: Keith Rule
// Email:
// Copyright 1996-2002, Keith Rule
// You may freely use or modify this code provided this
// Copyright is included in all derived versions.
// History - 10/3/97 Fixed scrolling bug.
//               Added print support. - KR
//       11/3/99 Fixed most common complaint. Added
//            background color fill. - KR
//       11/3/99 Added support for mapping modes other than
//            MM_TEXT as suggested by Lee Sang Hun. - KR
//       02/11/02 Added support for CScrollView as supplied
//             by Gary Kirkham. - KR
// This class implements a memory Device Context which allows
// flicker free drawing.
class CMemDC : public CDC {
    CBitmap    m_bitmap;        // Offscreen bitmap
    CBitmap*       m_oldBitmap; // bitmap originally found in CMemDC
    CDC*       m_pDC;           // Saves CDC passed in constructor
    CRect      m_rect;          // Rectangle of drawing area.
    BOOL       m_bMemDC;        // TRUE if CDC really is a Memory DC.
    CMemDC(CDC* pDC, const CRect* pRect = NULL) : CDC()
        ASSERT(pDC != NULL); 
        // Some initialization
        m_pDC = pDC;
        m_oldBitmap = NULL;
        m_bMemDC = !pDC->IsPrinting();
        // Get the rectangle to draw
        if (pRect == NULL) {
        } else {
             m_rect = *pRect;
        if (m_bMemDC) {
             // Create a Memory DC
             m_bitmap.CreateCompatibleBitmap(pDC, m_rect.Width(), 
             m_oldBitmap = SelectObject(&m_bitmap);
        } else {
             // Make a copy of the relevant parts of the current 
             // DC for printing
             m_bPrinting = pDC->m_bPrinting;
             m_hDC       = pDC->m_hDC;
             m_hAttribDC = pDC->m_hAttribDC;
        // Fill background 
        FillSolidRect(m_rect, pDC->GetBkColor());
        if (m_bMemDC) {
             // Copy the offscreen bitmap onto the screen.
                           m_rect.Width(),  m_rect.Height(),
                  this, m_rect.left,, SRCCOPY);            
             //Swap back the original bitmap.
        } else {
             // All we need to do is replace the DC with an illegal
             // value, this keeps us from accidentally deleting the 
             // handles associated with the CDC that was passed to 
             // the constructor.              
             m_hDC = m_hAttribDC = NULL;
    // Allow usage as a pointer    
    CMemDC* operator->() 
        return this;
    // Allow usage as a pointer    
    operator CMemDC*() 
        return this;


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


About the Author

Keith Rule
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
I work at Tektronix in Beaverton OR. I've been programming for fun since 1975 (I started while in a Computer Explorer Scout group in Spokane WA). I've been programming in C since 1979 and I've been working professionally since 1983.

I really enjoy It has saved me an incredible amount of time. I only hope my small contributions have given back some of what I've taken.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: Thanks for this Pin
Keith Rule14-Aug-05 13:32
professionalKeith Rule14-Aug-05 13:32 
Generalfor large rect, the bitmap can not be create correctly Pin
osha25-Jul-05 18:38
Memberosha25-Jul-05 18:38 
Generalproblem embeding a button in a CListCtrl... Pin
DaviziN17-Jun-05 0:07
MemberDaviziN17-Jun-05 0:07 
GeneralPartial text displayed in view when zoom int: Pin
Pazzuzu16-Jun-05 2:11
MemberPazzuzu16-Jun-05 2:11 
GeneralHorizontal streaks across top of screen Pin
sohbear2-Jun-05 20:01
Membersohbear2-Jun-05 20:01 
QuestionRe: Horizontal streaks across top of screen Pin
sohbear12-Sep-05 22:04
Membersohbear12-Sep-05 22:04 
Generalstreaks and smudging Pin
Anonymous23-May-05 3:45
MemberAnonymous23-May-05 3:45 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging Pin
Keith Rule23-May-05 5:29
professionalKeith Rule23-May-05 5:29 
I can honestly say I've never run across this behavior. However, if my application was doing this I would look at my drawing code. It sounds to me like you aren't redrawing the entire clip rectangle for some reason, which is leaving the artifacts you are describing.

Please let me know what you find out.


Keith Rule
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging Pin
parama_chakra23-Jun-05 17:11
Memberparama_chakra23-Jun-05 17:11 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging Pin
parama_chakra23-Jun-05 19:17
Memberparama_chakra23-Jun-05 19:17 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging Pin
AnonymousBabe@usa.net9-Sep-05 17:39
MemberAnonymousBabe@usa.net9-Sep-05 17:39 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging Pin
parama_chakra9-Sep-05 18:17
Memberparama_chakra9-Sep-05 18:17 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging Pin
AnonymousBabe@usa.net9-Sep-05 17:51
MemberAnonymousBabe@usa.net9-Sep-05 17:51 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging Pin
Alberto_Canabal30-Nov-05 1:23
MemberAlberto_Canabal30-Nov-05 1:23 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging [modified] Pin
bob169724-Mar-06 1:05
Memberbob169724-Mar-06 1:05 
GeneralRe: streaks and smudging [modified] Pin
bob1697216-Mar-06 16:56
Memberbob1697216-Mar-06 16:56 
AnswerRe: streaks and smudging [modified] Pin
Matt Clarkson13-Aug-09 1:28
MemberMatt Clarkson13-Aug-09 1:28 
Generalnice and a little question Pin
DaviziN12-May-05 1:04
MemberDaviziN12-May-05 1:04 
GeneralRe: nice and a little question Pin
sohbear2-Jun-05 20:09
Membersohbear2-Jun-05 20:09 
GeneralUse with MM_ISOTROPIC Pin
daniel_lidstrom2-May-05 23:08
Memberdaniel_lidstrom2-May-05 23:08 
GeneralRe: Use with MM_ISOTROPIC Pin
parama_chakra19-Jun-05 18:50
Memberparama_chakra19-Jun-05 18:50 
GeneralMemDC's font is not the same! Pin
Fanwy27-Mar-05 15:48
MemberFanwy27-Mar-05 15:48 
GeneralRe: MemDC's font is not the same! Pin
Keith Rule28-Mar-05 8:06
professionalKeith Rule28-Mar-05 8:06 
Questionneed to free memory resource ? Pin
panenhan21-Mar-05 15:59
Memberpanenhan21-Mar-05 15:59 
AnswerRe: need to free memory resource ? Pin
Keith Rule28-Mar-05 8:08
professionalKeith Rule28-Mar-05 8:08 

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