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31 May 2004CPOL2 min read 96.3K   3.4K   31   11
How to implement a header to your SDI/MDI project.

Sample Image - maximum width is 600 pixels


When I wanted a quick and nice header for my SDI project I could not find any, so I made my own. Some of the code is for beginners. It is not made for learning, but just for saving some time. There are some comments on the code, but almost all of it should be crystal clear, even for beginners. The header supports different colors on text, text shadows, and background, change of font size and type, change of placement of the text in the header. It does also have a gradient effect on the background. In the new update I've implemented support for adding pictures in the back of the text. I've also included a MDI project which include a CView class that with the same toolbar. Please see history for other changes done.

Using the code

The CHeaderToolbar is inherit its functions from CToolBar, and it is assumed as regular toolbar like the default "new, open, save"-toolbar in SDI/MDI projects.

When you create a toolbar it is really important that you call the SetDrawRect(Rect) function. The creation process for a default header toolbar is like this:

CRect Size;


if (!m_headerdefault.CreateEx(this, TBSTYLE_TRANSPARENT ,
    TRACE0("Failed to create header\n");

//The rect is transparent, until you set the drawrect...
The Size rect is only used to set the height on creation. If the creation is successful you will get a header with default colors. To manipulate the other settings you can use these functions:
void SetDrawRect(CRect Rect);
 //Required, or else the toolbar is transparent
void SetGradient(BOOL Activate); //TRUE OR FALSE
void SetGradientStartColor(COLORREF GradientStart);
 //This also sets the default color when gradient is off
void SetGradientEndColor(COLORREF GradientEnd); //End gradient color

void SetRemoveBorder(BOOL OnOff);
BOOL GetRemoveBorder();

void SetWindowText(CString InputText); //Outputtext on screen
void GetWindowText(CString &OutputText); //Returns current text
void SetFont(CString FontName); //Set the font name (as text)
void SetFontSize(int NewSize); //Set the point-size
void SetTextCol(COLORREF Col); //Set the text color
void SetTextShadowCol(COLORREF Col); //Sets the color of the shadow
void SetPlaceMent(int Place);
 //DT_LEFT, DT_CENTER and DT_RIGHT is available
 //options. (MSDN: CDC -> DrawText())
Each time you use the different functions to change layout, the header refreshes. If you want to change more options and stop the redrawing use the SetRedraw(FALSE) to the toolbar, and then SetRedraw() to enable redrawing again.

Border fix and picture support

In this version I've got a great solution for getting rid of the border around each toolbar. I want to say thanks to Christian Wieninger at for telling me. As default the border is drawn, to remove it you can use SetRemoveBorder(TRUE). Here is an example of how it looks like:

Borderfix for the HeaderToolbar

At the left the border is drawn, at the right it is gone. At the bottom there is a picture included. For adding a picture check out these functions:

//Picture loading
void LoadBackgroundPicture(CString Path);
 //Load the picture from any locations at your harddrive
void SetStrech(BOOL OnOff); //Stretch to fit on/off
void SetPicturePlaceMent(int Place);
 //Placement of the picture (DT_LEFT, DT_CENTER and DT_RIGHT)
void SetVAlign(BOOL OnOff);
 //Vertical align picture to always fit on/off
BOOL GetStrech(); //Returns the status of strech.

Toolbars in CView

When I made the MDI example I got a request on how to implement a toolbar in a CView window. In the example I've added the HeaderToolbar to each of the MDI views and on the MainFrm.


  • v1.1 - Update: Added picture support, border fix and optimized the redraw function (thanks barto at All these updates removed the known issues header (nice!)
  • v1.0 - First release


  • Multi line - Sometimes you maybe need to show more info
  • Text scrolling - A nice textscroller if you need to show more than one line
  • Progress bar - That way you don't need the status bar at the bottom.


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

Written By
Engineer A/S Norske Shell (Dutch Shell)
Norway Norway
Visit for my blog!
Retired programmer, Norway never had the jobs I wanted Smile | :)

Comments and Discussions

Questionit doesn't work in vs2010 with an outlookbar Pin
laozhu8886-Jul-12 17:14
laozhu8886-Jul-12 17:14 
GeneralVery nice !! Pin
WREY1-Jun-04 12:53
WREY1-Jun-04 12:53 
GeneralRe: Very nice !! Pin
Lars [Large] Werner1-Jun-04 20:21
professionalLars [Large] Werner1-Jun-04 20:21 
QuestionLoadBitmap doesn't work? Pin
vite20-May-04 10:26
vite20-May-04 10:26 
AnswerRe: LoadBitmap doesn't work? Pin
Lars [Large] Werner20-May-04 10:34
professionalLars [Large] Werner20-May-04 10:34 
GeneralRe: LoadBitmap doesn't work? Pin
vite20-May-04 19:00
vite20-May-04 19:00 
GeneralMDI Pin
F5Tiger224-Oct-03 0:10
sussF5Tiger224-Oct-03 0:10 
GeneralRe: MDI Pin
Lars [Large] Werner24-Oct-03 0:24
professionalLars [Large] Werner24-Oct-03 0:24 
GeneralRe: MDI Pin
F5Tiger224-Oct-03 0:54
sussF5Tiger224-Oct-03 0:54 
GeneralImprovement for Redraw-function Pin
barto27-Aug-03 6:54
barto27-Aug-03 6:54 
GeneralRe: Improvement for Redraw-function Pin
Lars [Large] Werner27-Aug-03 8:56
professionalLars [Large] Werner27-Aug-03 8:56 

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