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Creating Custom Shaped Windows Forms in .NET

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21 Aug 2004
Creating custom shaped Windows Forms in .NET.


One of the niftiest aspects of Windows Forms is that you can craft them into non-rectangular shapes. Microsoft Windows Media™ Player 7 exhibits this feature, and, without doubt, many developers who see this want to incorporate it into their own applications. After much searching, I finally found the answer in MSDN.

Using the code

Following are the steps to create a simple non rectangular form:

  1. Create a bitmap with a non-rectangular shape. This will serve as your form later on, as shown in Fig. 1.

    Image 1

    Fig. 1

    Note: Choose an easy-to-remember background color, such as black, as this will be important later on.

  2. In Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, create a Windows Application Project.
  3. Set the FormBorderStyle property to None.
  4. Set the BackgroundImage property of the form to the .bmp you created above.
  5. Set the TransparencyKey property of the form to the background color of the .bmp file. In the case of the example above, you would set it to black. This will make the black portion of the form disappear.

    Note: Setting the FormBorderStyle to None disables the standard functionality provided by the title bar. Thus, you must add custom code to the project to allow the form to be moved, closed, minimized, and maximized.

Writing code to close the form

  1. From the Toolbox, drag a Button control to the form as shown in Fig 2.
  2. In the Properties window, set the Text property to "X".
  3. Double-click the Button to add a Click event handler.
  4. Enter code similar to the following to Close the form when the button is clicked.
    private void button1_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
  5. Similarly, drop another button and enter the following Code for minimizing, and enter code similar to as follows:
    private void button2_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)

    Image 2

    Fig. 2

Writing code to move the form

  1. Create a new variable:
    public Point mouse_offset;

    This will store the mouse position when the form is clicked.

  2. Create an event handler for the form's MouseDown event.

    Image 3

    Fig. 3

  3. Enter code similar to the following to assign coordinates to the mouse_offset variable based on the current position of the mouse.
    private void Form1_MouseDown(object sender, 
            System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs e)
        mouse_offset = new Point(-e.X, -e.Y);
  4. Similarly, create an event handler for the form's MouseMove event.
  5. Enter code similar to the following. When the left mouse button is clicked and the mouse is dragged, the form's Location property is set to the new position.
    private void Form1_MouseMove(object sender, 
                       System.Windows.Forms.MouseEventArgs e)
        if (e.Button == MouseButtons.Left) 
            Point mousePos = Control.MousePosition;
            mousePos.Offset(mouse_offset.X, mouse_offset.Y);
            Location = mousePos;

    Save the application. Press F5 to run it. The form will be shaped like the image you drew at the beginning. Click anywhere on the form and drag it to see the move functionality. Click the Close Form button to close the form.

    Image 4

    NOTE: Make Sure your VGA Card is set at 16 bit resolution.


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About the Author

Haroon Rehman
Pakistan Pakistan
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

Generalthanks but resize Pin
Member 967039913-Jul-15 22:44
MemberMember 967039913-Jul-15 22:44 
Questionthanks but resize Pin
Member 967039913-Jul-15 22:43
MemberMember 967039913-Jul-15 22:43 
QuestionMaking things so fuzzy Pin
elgaabeb16-Nov-11 23:22
Memberelgaabeb16-Nov-11 23:22 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov12-Nov-11 8:55
MemberSergey Alexandrovich Kryukov12-Nov-11 8:55 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov20-Sep-11 16:48
MemberSergey Alexandrovich Kryukov20-Sep-11 16:48 
Generalthe form is not transparent !!!! Pin
twentysevendesigns18-Jun-08 21:38
Membertwentysevendesigns18-Jun-08 21:38 
Generaldoes not work on 32 bit Pin
tehila24-Jul-07 7:13
Membertehila24-Jul-07 7:13 
GeneralRe: does not work on 32 bit Pin
Devinmccloud2-Oct-07 16:52
MemberDevinmccloud2-Oct-07 16:52 
GeneralRe: does not work on 32 bit Pin
projectfallback30-Nov-07 20:45
Memberprojectfallback30-Nov-07 20:45 
QuestionHow to keep the system menu Pin
joebarthib20-Jun-07 22:23
Memberjoebarthib20-Jun-07 22:23 
QuestionAlmost working Pin
goNz_BcN20-Sep-05 11:06
MembergoNz_BcN20-Sep-05 11:06 
QuestionRezise?? Pin
elranu4-Jul-05 13:25
Memberelranu4-Jul-05 13:25 
GeneralDoesnt work Pin
SickPuP110311-Nov-04 10:58
MemberSickPuP110311-Nov-04 10:58 
GeneralRe: Doesnt work Pin
Anonymous18-Dec-04 7:38
MemberAnonymous18-Dec-04 7:38 
QuestionWhat about regions ? Pin
mcarbenay22-Aug-04 22:38
Membermcarbenay22-Aug-04 22:38 
AnswerRe: What about regions ? Pin
nick main25-Aug-04 6:09
Membernick main25-Aug-04 6:09 
GeneralRe: What about regions ? Pin
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov12-Nov-11 8:56
MemberSergey Alexandrovich Kryukov12-Nov-11 8:56 
AnswerRe: What about regions ? Pin
balazs_hideghety7-Nov-07 2:08
Memberbalazs_hideghety7-Nov-07 2:08 
AnswerRe: What about regions ? Pin
VCSKicks18-Feb-08 12:14
MemberVCSKicks18-Feb-08 12:14 
GeneralRe: What about regions ? Pin
Sergey Alexandrovich Kryukov12-Nov-11 8:58
MemberSergey Alexandrovich Kryukov12-Nov-11 8:58 
GeneralIf this doesn't work Pin
mav.northwind22-Aug-04 20:30
Membermav.northwind22-Aug-04 20:30 
GeneralRe: If this doesn't work Pin
Haroon Rehman23-Aug-04 11:10
MemberHaroon Rehman23-Aug-04 11:10 
GeneralRe: If this doesn't work Pin
deisama9-Oct-04 11:33
Memberdeisama9-Oct-04 11:33 
GeneralRe: If this doesn't work Pin
blue_raptor8123-Dec-04 2:44
Memberblue_raptor8123-Dec-04 2:44 
GeneralRe: If this doesn't work Pin
walterman22-Jan-07 10:29
Memberwalterman22-Jan-07 10:29 

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Posted 21 Aug 2004


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