Note :- This code will work only under Windows 2000 and above, when compiled with VC++ .NET or VC++ 6.0 (with the latest platform SDK).
The system tray is a familiar place for every reasonably experienced Windows OS user. Many applications use this area to place small icons there, which give information about their status. They give the user additional flexibility to directly interact with the application. Almost all applications provide a context menu over the system tray icons for interaction with the application. With the advent of Windows 2000/XP, popup balloons can also be shown over the system tray icons, to notify the user of any relevant event. This article explains the process of creating and showing icons in the system tray for any application. This also caters for multiple icons to be shown for the same application. You can also show popup balloons over the specified icons.
Using the code
- Include the files SYSTRAYICON.H and SYSTRAYICON.CPP in your project.
- Create an object of class
CSysTrayIcon. In case you wish to process mouse messages over the icons derive a class from
CSysTrayIcon and override any or all of the mouse messages mentioned in section "Overridable functions"
- Create the object of class
CSysTrayIcon or a class derived from
CSysTrayIcon (preferably in the
- Create and manipulate icons in the system tray using the functions given in section "Functions for creating and manipulating icons in the system tray".
- Mouse messages are trapped and overridable functions are provided for custom processing. See section "Overridable functions" for the list of overridable functions which are triggered by mouse messages.
Functions for creating and manipulating icons in the system tray
BOOL CreateIcon(HICON hIcon, UINT nIconID, PCSTR szTip)
HICON hIcon -> Handle to an icon to be shown in the system tray.
UINT nIconID -> A user defined icon ID. It can be any unsigned integer.
PCSTR szTip -> A tooltip that is shown when the user moves the mouse over the icon.
TRUE if a new tray icon with the ID
nIconID could be created, else
BOOL ShowIcon(UINT nIconID)
UINT nIconID ->The icon with this ID to be shown.
TRUE if the icon with this ID exists and could be shown, else
BOOL HideIcon(UINT nIconID) - Hides the icon. It does not delete the icon from memory.
UINT nIconID -> The icon with this ID to be hidden. It is not deleted from memory.
TRUE if the icon with this ID exists and could be hidden, else
BOOL DeleteIcon(UINT nIconID) - Hides and deletes the icon from the memory.
UINT nIconID -> The icon with this ID to be hidden and deleted from memory.
TRUE if the icon with the ID exists and could be removed and deleted from the system tray and memory, else
BOOL ChangeIconTip(UINT nIconID, CString strTip) - This changes the tool tip associated with the system tray icon.
UINT nIconID -> The icon with this ID whose tool tip has to be changed.
CString strTip -> The new tool tip to be associated with this icon.
TRUE if the icon with this ID exists and its tool tip cold be changed, else
BOOL ShowBalloon(UINT nIconID, PTSTR szBalloonTitle, PTSTR szBalloonMsg, DWORD dwIcon = NIIF_NONE, UINT nTimeOut = 10) - Shows a popup balloon over the icon with the ID,
UINT nIconID -> The icon ID over which the balloon will be shown.
PTSTR szBalloonTitle -> A string for the heading of the balloon message
PTSTR szBalloonMsg -> A string for the balloon message.
DWORD dwIcon -> An additional symbol in the left corner of the balloon that will emphasize the meaning of the balloon. There are four possibilities,
NIIF_WARNING. The default is
NIIF_NONE. These are standard constants defined in Windows Platform SDK in shellapi.h
UINT nTimeOut -> Time in seconds for the balloon to be visible. In Windows 2000/XP, the minimum is 10 seconds. Even if you specify a time less than 10 seconds, it will be visible for a minimum of 10 seconds. This will probably change with the future versions of Windows.
TRUE if the balloon with given ID exists and the requested balloon could be shown, else
There are ten overridable virtual functions, all of which deal with mouse messages.
virtual void OnLButtonDown(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the left mouse button has been pressed
virtual void OnRButtonDown(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
- Gets called when the right mouse button has been pressed
virtual void OnMButtonDown(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the middle mouse button has been pressed
virtual void OnLButtonUp(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the left mouse button is released
virtual void OnRButtonUp(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the right mouse button is released
virtual void OnMButtonUp(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the middle mouse button is released
virtual void OnLButtonDblClk(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the left mouse button is double clicked
virtual void OnRButtonDblClk(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the right mouse button is double clicked
virtual void OnMButtonDblClk(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the middle mouse button is double clicked
virtual void OnMouseMove(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
Gets called when the mouse moves over the icon
Input parameters for all overridables:
UINT nIconID -> The icon ID over which the mouse message has been generated
CPoint ptMouse -> The mouse position in screen co-ordinates
Helper function for handling a context menu
BOOL OnContextMenu(CMenu* pContextMenu, CPoint ptMouse, CWnd* pWndMessageHandler)
This function should be called by the programmer, as it will help him to do the requisite processing to show a context menu. This sets the window mentioned in the third parameter in the foreground, so that commands can be routed to it for processing.
This function should generally be called in response to a right button down message, typically in the overridden method
OnRButtonDown of the class derived from
CMenu* pContextMenu -> Pointer to the menu to be shown, it is mostly on a right button press.
CPoint ptMouse -> Mouse position in screen co-ordinates.
CWnd* pWndMessageHandler -> A pointer to the window that will process the command handlers of the menu
pContextMenu. This function sets this window in the foreground so that it is capable of processing the command handlers. This function was written specifically for bringing the menu command handler receiver window in the foreground. In case you don’t bring the window that will receive the menu commands in the foreground, the commands won’t be routed properly. This window is generally the
MainFrame window in a typical Windows application.
The implementation of the class CSysTrayIcon
CSysTrayIcon class is a wrapper around the Windows API,
Shell_NotifyIcon and the Windows Platform SDK structure
NOTIFYICONDATA, which is declared in the header file shellapi.h. Details about the above mentioned API and structure are well documented in the MSDN documentation.
CSysTrayIcon contains a linked list of
NOTIFYICONDATA structures (
CSystrayIcon::NOTIFYICONDATAList), which maintains information about each icon in the system tray related to that application. Every application can have more than one icon in the system tray. There is no restriction on an application to have only one system tray icon. It is only restricted by the maximum value of an unsigned integer!
Since this class
CSysTrayIcon can’t directly receive mouse messages, there has to be a way to route the messages to this class. This is done by creating a hidden window as a private member variable
m_wndTrayMsgReceiver (of type
CSysTrayWnd) in the class
CSysTrayIcon, which is registered to receive the
WM_SYSTRAYMSG. When a message
WM_SYSTRAYMSG is received by the window object
CSysTrayIcon::m_wndTrayMsgReceiver, it is mapped to
CSysTrayWnd::OnSysTrayMsg(WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam). The
lParam gives the type of mouse message and the
wParam gives the icon ID on which the mouse message was generated. If you look at the implementation of
NOTIFYICONDATA structure members
uCallBackMessage are initialized as shown below. This is where the operating system comes to know which window is to be sent the
pnidIconInfo->hWnd = m_wndTrayMsgReceiver.GetSafeHwnd();
pnidIconInfo->uCallbackMessage = WM_SYSTRAYMSG;
An object of
CSysTrayWnd window is created in the constructor of
CSysTrayIcon itself. The
CSystTrayWnd also has a pointer to the
CSysTrayIcon class which helps in calling the virtual overridable functions as mentioned in "Overridable functions".
There are few other functions which are used internally in the class to get the icons from the linked list, if given the icon ID as the parameter. These are summarized below.
GetNotifyIconDataFromID() -> Retrieves the
NOTIFYCOINDATA structure from the linked list
CSysTrayIcon::NOTIFYICONDATAList for the given icon ID.
CheckIfIconIDExists() -> This is called to check if the icon with the given ID already exists, when creating a new system tray icon.
DeleteNotifyIconDataFromID() -> This is called from the
DeleteIcon() function and the destructor of the
CSystTrayIcon class for deleting the icon and proper cleanup. This function removes the icon by removing and deleting it from the linked list
A class is derived from
CSysTrayIcon with the name
CMyAppTrayIcon. This class overrides only two virtual functions,
OnLButtonDownDBlClk() to show a message box and
OnRButtonDown to show a context menu. These two functions get triggered for the Windows messages
WM_RBUTTONDOWN respectively, by the routing through a
An object of
CMyAppTrayIcon is kept as a member variable of
CMainFrame class. Four icons are created in the
CMainFrame class handles all the command handlers for the context menu for the system tray icons.
For the context menu processing, the overridden
OnRButtonDown method passes the main window's pointer to the
CSysTrayIcon::OnContextMenu as the third parameter. The main window has the command handlers for the required processing.
void CMyAppTrayIcon::OnRButtonDown(UINT nIconID, CPoint ptMouse)
OnContextMenu(t_Menu.GetSubMenu(0), ptMouse, ::AfxGetMainWnd());
Use the icon menu to manipulate the system tray icons as shown in the top figure.