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Posted 25 May 2003


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XP-Style Button

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24 Sep 20036 min read
.NET button that supports images and XP style on Windows XP and other versions of Windows

Sample Image - XP-Style_Button.jpg


XP-Style Button provides the look and feel of a button with any of the three built-in color schemes of Windows XP and will also work with earlier versions of Windows, or using a color scheme if you use Windows XP. You simply don't have to worry about how the button will look like on different versions of Windows - it will always look the same.


  • Resizing of the button doesn't work on appearance
  • Button supports Image and Text property, which are optional
  • Possibility to add a button to a form and set properties at the design and at the run time
  • Tab order, navigating by buttons with keys <Tab>, <Up>, <Down>, <Left>, <Right>. If button has an input focus, <Return> and <Space> work as a left-button mouse click.
  • Access keys - possibility to trigger the click event of control by pressing the ALT key in combination with predefined key.
  • Accept button (button which is clicked when the user presses ENTER key if no other button or any other control that captures the ENTER key has focus) or Cancel button (button clicked when the user presses the ESC key) on the form.
  • Tool tip allows to set a hint with one line of code.
  • With DefaultScheme property set to false, the button always has the Windows XP color scheme that you chose, no matter what version of Windows or current Windows XP visual style.
  • On one form, you may have buttons with different color schemes :)

Public Properties

Scheme Allows you to choose one of the three Windows XP color schemes, for applications running under earlier versions of Windows and Windows XP. Setting DefaultScheme property to false allows you to show buttons with any of the three visual styles--Blue, Olive Green and Silver -- on one form. The default color scheme is Blue.
DefaultScheme If true, uses the default Windows XP color scheme (applies for Windows XP only, ignored for earlier versions of Windows).
DialogResult Gets or sets a value that is returned to the parent form when the button is clicked, if the parent form is displayed through the ShowDialog method.
Image Gets or sets the button's bitmap image.
Text Gets or sets the button's text.
TextColor Gets or sets a color of text.
Hint Gets or sets the ToolTip string. When setting the ToolTip string, removes string currently associated with the control.

Visual Design

1. Setting the Control Region

Everybody who used Windows XP has most probably noticed that buttons have rounded corners. The graphic shape of the button looks like this:

So, we'll create such a region (the interior of a graphics shape) for our button.

int X = this.Width; 
int Y = this.Height;  
Point[] points = {    new Point(1, 0), 
                      new Point(X-1, 0), 
                      new Point(X-1, 1), 
                      new Point(X, 1), 
                      new Point(X, Y-1), 
                      new Point(X-1, Y-1), 
                      new Point(X-1, Y), 
                      new Point(1, Y), 
                      new Point(1, Y-1), 
                      new Point(0, Y-1), 
                      new Point(0, 1), 
                      new Point(1, 1)}    
GraphicsPath path = new GraphicsPath();
this.Region = new Region(path);

As you have probably guessed, the region is critical for drawing irregularly shaped controls.

2. Tracking the Mouse Movement

To accomplish a button's visual interaction on mouse movement, we'll override the OnMouseEnter, OnMouseLeave, OnMouseDown, OnMouseUp methods in order to paint the button differently, depending on button state.

Bounds of control:

private Rectangle bounds;
this.bounds = new Rectangle(0, 0, this.Width, this.Height);

Possible states:

public enum States 


protected override void OnMouseEnter
            (System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs e)
    state = States.MouseOver;  

protected override void OnMouseLeave(System.EventArgs e)
    state = States.Normal;

protected override void OnMouseDown
           (System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs e) 
    // do nothing if pressed not the left button of mouse
    if ((e.Button & MouseButtons.Left) != MouseButtons.Left) return;
    if (bounds.Contains(e.X, e.Y)) 
        state = States.Pushed; 
        // button receives an imput focus
    else state = States.Normal;
protected override void OnMouseUp
          (System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs e) 
    if ((e.Button & MouseButtons.Left) == MouseButtons.Left) 
        state = States.Normal;

3. Default Button

What we are missing now is to trace and paint button in normal state, but when it is a default button (blue rectangle inside the borders, for Blue and Silver color schemes and green rectangle inside the borders, for Olive Green color scheme). We'll declare a boolean variable isDefault, to know whenever the button is default. NotifyDefault method is called by a parent form to make a control the default button:

public void NotifyDefault(bool value)
    this.isDefault = value;

Now, when we paint the button's Normal state, we should check if it's active or not and perform painting depending on isDefault.

4. Filling Button With a Lineargradientbrush

When it seems we've traced all possible button states, we can start to paint the control. Buttons in Windows XP are filled with linear gradient color. GDI+ offers two kinds of gradient brushes: LinearGradientBrush and PathGradientBrush. We need the first one. When creating a LinearGradientBrush, we should:

  • point to its location (3, 3)
  • size (this.Width-6, this.Height-5) of a rectangular region for the gradient (notice, that you don't have to paint the whole gradient region)
  • the starting color for the gradient
  • the ending color for the gradient
  • the angle (in degrees, clockwise from the x-axis) that defines the orientation of gradient (we need vertical gradient, so we use 90.0f)
silverBrush07 = new LinearGradientBrush(new Rectangle(3, 3, X-6, Y-7), 
     Color.FromArgb(253, 253, 253), 
     Color.FromArgb(201, 200, 220), 90.0f);

But the Silver color scheme is different from the Blue and Olive Green: buttons have more "volume". To accomplish this effect, we'll adjust the way a color varies from one edge of a gradient to the other, setting the Blend property of LinearGradientBrush object.

// color is much more intensive in the bottom part of the button
// first 32 % of height we'll fill with
// intensity 0.8 % from starting color:
float[] relativeIntensities = {0.0f, 0.008f, 1.0f}; 
float[] relativePositions = {0.0f, 0.32f, 1.0f};

// create a Blend object and assign it to silverBrush07
Blend blend = new Blend();
blend.Factors = relativeIntensities;
blend.Positions = relativePositions; 
silverBrush07.Blend = blend; 

// fill the necessary shape:
e.Graphics.FillRectangle(silverBrush07, 3, 4, 
                   this.Width-6, this.Height-8);  

After drawing border lines and corners, the result is:

Adding Button to a Form

When the component is ready, we can add it to a form (don't forget to include PinkieControls namespace. The process is very simple, the most important thing is to not forget to set the Scheme property.

using System.Resources;  
using System.Reflection;  
using PinkieControls;  

private PinkieControls.ButtonXP buttonXP3;  
static ResourceManager rm; 
public Form1() 
    rm = new ResourceManager("TestApp.Images", 
    // If to add lines below in InitializeComponent()
    // we'll see the button at the design time
    // (doing so, don't forget to set _Image
    // and Image properties in null
    this.buttonXP3 = new PinkieControls.ButtonXP(); 
    this.buttonXP3._Image = GetImage("_Save");  
    this.buttonXP3.Image = GetImage("Save2");  
    this.buttonXP3.Text = @"Save";  
    this.buttonXP3.Location = new 
            System.Drawing.Point(152, 144);  
    this.buttonXP3.Name = "buttonXP3";  
    this.buttonXP3.Scheme = 
    this.buttonXP3.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(112, 26);  
    this.buttonXP3.TabIndex = 3;  
    this.buttonXP3.Click += new 
private void buttonXP3Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e) 
    MessageBox.Show("Hello, World :)")   

Setting Default Color Scheme for Windows XP

If we'd like a button painted in current Windows XP color scheme, it's enough only to set the boolean property DefaultScheme, to true (by default it's false). For example:

myButton.Scheme = PinkieControls.ButtonXP.Schemes.Silver;   
myButton.DefaultScheme = true; 

In this case, earlier versions of Windows will have silver color for the button. For Windows XP (with themes on), the button will have current color scheme.

Creating Access Keys

User can trigger the click event of control by pressing the ALT key in combination with predefined access key. Normally, we add an ampersand (&) before the letter we intend to make an access key. ProcessMnemonic method is called to give a control the opportunity to process a mnemonic character:

protected override bool ProcessMnemonic(char charCode)
    // determine if the given character matches
    // a mnemonic in the control's text
    if (Control.IsMnemonic(charCode, base.Text))
    return true;
    return base.ProcessMnemonic(charCode);

Now, if we'll set the Text property to a string that includes an ampersand before the letter, that is going to be a shortcut:

buttonExit.Text = "E&xit";

We can run the command associated with the buttonExit by pressing ALT + X. It will close the form.

How to Delete Effect of Slow Painting While Form Is Loading

Derive your form from PinkieControls.FormEx. The form contains timer which is used to load the form with the fade effect. Interval of timer is set by default in such little value that our eyes don't notice that form fades in, while loading. You can change FadeTime property.

Thanks all for the comments and critique. New suggestions and ideas are welcome. Enjoy ;o)


  • 28.05.2003
    • Fixed bug with DefaultScheme property
    • Access key added
  • 04.06.2003
    • Access key implementation by Wes Haggard (AKA puzzlehacker)
    • Implemented IButtonControl interface by Wes Haggard (AKA puzzlehacker)
    • Painting for the focused button (the focus rectangle around the button) by Wes Haggard (AKA puzzlehacker)
    • Pens and brushes are wrapped in separate class
    • Source code and demo project downloads updated
  • 08.08.2003
    • Deleted effect of slow painting of button while loading form for the first time (white rectangle in place of button)
    • Changed the name of namespace from WiB.Pinkie.Controls to PinkieControls
    • Added TextColor and Hint properties
    • All implementation of button control is pulled out in a separate ButtonBase class which allows easily to reuse the code and implement your own stylish button.
    • Created round button


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

Valeria Bogdevich
Software Developer
Portugal Portugal
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionThanks Elad Pin
Volynsky Alex20-May-12 2:26
professionalVolynsky Alex20-May-12 2:26 
GeneralNice tutorail Pin
Marilyn muppet10-Apr-12 3:40
MemberMarilyn muppet10-Apr-12 3:40 
GeneralRetrieving colors for linear gradient brushes Pin
Gene OK23-Apr-08 5:55
MemberGene OK23-Apr-08 5:55 
GeneralRe: Retrieving colors for linear gradient brushes Pin
VCSKicks12-Jan-09 11:14
MemberVCSKicks12-Jan-09 11:14 
QuestionMaybe a stupid question... Pin
Grandpa059424-Aug-06 23:55
MemberGrandpa059424-Aug-06 23:55 
Generalmouse move not correct Pin
BigManitu1-Jul-06 7:51
MemberBigManitu1-Jul-06 7:51 
Questionright click acts as left click? Pin
yhcnux8-Jun-06 19:08
Memberyhcnux8-Jun-06 19:08 
GeneralRight to Left not working Pin
Gamil Mohamad1-Apr-06 7:02
MemberGamil Mohamad1-Apr-06 7:02 
GeneralRe: Right to Left not working Pin
Valeria Bogdevich18-Apr-06 23:03
MemberValeria Bogdevich18-Apr-06 23:03 
GeneralExceptions when app starts Pin
MichaelALee16-Aug-05 8:25
MemberMichaelALee16-Aug-05 8:25 
GeneralRe: Exceptions when app starts Pin
Valeria Bogdevich17-Aug-05 3:37
MemberValeria Bogdevich17-Aug-05 3:37 
GeneralPlease explain the purpose of the winAPI Pin
rthillusa31-Jul-05 15:08
Memberrthillusa31-Jul-05 15:08 
GeneralRe: Please explain the purpose of the winAPI Pin
Valeria Bogdevich17-Aug-05 4:04
MemberValeria Bogdevich17-Aug-05 4:04 
GeneralNew version Pin
akorolev1016-Jul-05 2:15
Memberakorolev1016-Jul-05 2:15 
GeneralRe: New version Pin
Valeria Bogdevich27-Jul-05 10:45
MemberValeria Bogdevich27-Jul-05 10:45 
GeneralWarning message Pin
akorolev1013-Jul-05 23:06
Memberakorolev1013-Jul-05 23:06 
GeneralNew version Pin
akorolev109-Jul-05 5:08
Memberakorolev109-Jul-05 5:08 
GeneralPlease review your source code. Pin
j-soft1-Jun-05 3:15
Memberj-soft1-Jun-05 3:15 
GeneralSuggested improvement... Pin
willcoxson9-May-05 8:20
Memberwillcoxson9-May-05 8:20 
GeneralThank You for this greate xp-button style Pin
Member 17696941-Mar-05 23:18
MemberMember 17696941-Mar-05 23:18 
GeneralRe: Thank You for this greate xp-button style Pin
Valeria Bogdevich3-Mar-05 3:54
MemberValeria Bogdevich3-Mar-05 3:54 
GeneralRadio Buttons and Checkboxes Pin
rlandfair27-Jan-05 10:56
Memberrlandfair27-Jan-05 10:56 
GeneralPlease answer :Warning on XP Buttons Pin
M.Karimipour26-Jan-05 22:42
MemberM.Karimipour26-Jan-05 22:42 
GeneralRe: Please answer :Warning on XP Buttons Pin
narayanvijay23-Nov-05 18:55
Membernarayanvijay23-Nov-05 18:55 
GeneralXP style Button Pin
ananthboy25-Nov-04 8:46
Memberananthboy25-Nov-04 8:46 

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