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Posted 11 Jan 2003

Barry's Screen Capture

, 11 Jan 2003
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An article showing methods of screen capture

Sample Image - CapIT.jpg


This article demonstrates the methods of capturing different portions of the screen. You have the facility to then save the captured image to a file.


The idea for developing the article came to me when I had downloaded such a utility for capturing screen-shots for use in my articles like this one, on the Internet, but unfortunately the downloaded utility had too many nagging screens and obviously for a no-nags version, I had to pay which I cannot afford. So the only way out was to develop one on my own, the MSDN sample WinCap could have served the purpose but the source was not available on the CD. So I started developing the article in MFC using the Win32 sample provided on the MSDN CD (WinCap). And also so as to be able to capture portions of the screen which I had done sometime ago in Visual Basic, since screen capture in Visual Basic is much easier and code for this is available in the Knowledge Base section of Visual Basic.


This article has the following features:

  • Capture the desktop
  • Capture a window
  • Capture a client area
  • Capture a control (e.g. Button)

In addition, it has the following, interesting but not so useful (in my view) features:

  • Track the X and Y coordinates of the captured image
  • Trace the color code of a specific point of the captured image

Option for color and position tracking are on the MainFrame window of the system and can only be used after capturing an image.

How to Use the Project

Download the project source, unzip the files to some folder, build the project, in case there are no errors at build-time, execute the project, an Icon of a Camera will appear in the System Tray (bar at the bottom of the screen). Right-Click on the Icon and a menu will pop-up, select the options from the menu.

Sample Image

Pop-up Menu

Option Task performed
Capture Desktop Captures a image of the System Desktop immediately
Capture Window Prompts to click on window to be captured
Capture Client Area Prompts to click on client area to capture
Capture Control Prompts to click on control to capture
Clear Image Clears captured image
Show Window Display the CapIT System Window
Close Closes the CapIT System

In addition to the pop-up menus, the CapIT System has it own main menu which cap be displayed when you select "Show Window" from the pop-up menu.

How It Works

When capturing window or client area or control, the system calls the function SetCapture() and waits for the user to click on some window on the Desktop which is to be captured. After clicking on the area to be captured, the system framework calls the member function void CCapITView::OnCaptureChanged(CWnd *pWnd) which calls WindowCapture(HWND hwnd) which in turn carries out the job of capturing the image (till the menu is disabled). After completion of capture, the system calls ReleaseCapture() to release SetCapture(). But in the case of capturing, the Desktop SetCapture() is not called, but directly calls WindowCapture(HWND hwnd) passing to it GetDesktopWindow()->m_hWnd and the system proceeds with capturing the Desktop image immediately, since there is only one Desktop area and its HWND is known to the System.


The following member functions in the class CCapITView are borrowed from the MSDN sample WinCap. Could I have written them on my own, No Way.

  • HBITMAP CopyWindowToBitmap(CWnd* wnd , HWND hWnd, WORD fPrintArea)
  • HBITMAP CopyScreenToBitmap(LPRECT lpRect)
  • void DoSize(CWnd* wnd , HBITMAP ghBitmap)
  • void SetupScrollBars(CWnd* wnd , WORD cxBitmap, WORD cyBitmap)
  • void ReallyGetClientRect(CWnd* wnd , LPRECT lpRect)
  • WORD SaveDIB(HDIB hDib, LPSTR lpFileName)
  • WORD PaletteSize (VOID FAR * pv)
  • WORD DibNumColors (VOID FAR * pv)
  • HDIB ChangeBitmapFormat(HBITMAP hBitmap, WORD wBitCount, WORD dwCompression, HPALETTE hPal, HWND hwnd)
  • HPALETTE GetSystemPalette(HWND hwnd)
  • int PalEntriesOnDevice(HDC hDC)

Known Problems

Color of the saved image under Windows 98 is not the same as of the captured image, but I think it is nearly the same in Windows 2000.

Points of interest

The project uses a CScrollView instead of CView because if the image being captured is bigger in size (e.g., Desktop) then in the Frame Window you may not be able to capture the entire image since a CView will capture as per the CView Client Area size.


  • Version 1


This article has no explicit license attached to it, but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt, please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here.


About the Author

Barretto VN
India India
Nothing to boast about

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: How to Capture Screen with DirectX ? Pin
m_idris8-Jun-04 20:17
memberm_idris8-Jun-04 20:17 
GeneralWill try the code, save me a lot of time. Pin
w0705310-Jul-03 12:47
memberw0705310-Jul-03 12:47 
GeneralRe: Will try the code, save me a lot of time. Pin
Mr. Jigar Mehta5-Jan-04 0:02
memberMr. Jigar Mehta5-Jan-04 0:02 
GeneralRe: Will try the code, save me a lot of time. Pin
w070536-Jan-04 9:31
memberw070536-Jan-04 9:31 
GeneralSaving to JPG Pin
bob_brown_200025-Apr-03 19:52
memberbob_brown_200025-Apr-03 19:52 
GeneralRe: Saving to JPG Pin
ThatsAlok21-Jul-04 0:45
memberThatsAlok21-Jul-04 0:45 
GeneralRe: Saving to JPG Pin
Barretto VN28-Jul-04 2:07
memberBarretto VN28-Jul-04 2:07 
GeneralRe: Saving to JPG Pin
ThatsAlok28-Jul-04 4:19
memberThatsAlok28-Jul-04 4:19 
GeneralRe: Saving to JPG Pin
Barretto VN2-Aug-04 2:17
memberBarretto VN2-Aug-04 2:17 
GeneralGood Program. Pin
Seungju Choi13-Jan-03 20:44
memberSeungju Choi13-Jan-03 20:44 
GeneralRe: Good Program. Pin
eegiboo12-May-03 17:11
membereegiboo12-May-03 17:11 
GeneralRe: Good Program. Pin
Anonymous12-Apr-05 20:08
memberAnonymous12-Apr-05 20:08 
Generalgood article, any equivalent in c# and vs7 Pin
elwolv12-Jan-03 6:16
memberelwolv12-Jan-03 6:16 

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