XP Style CColorControl Class with Themed Gradient Buttons

Monday Oct 4th 2004 by Anders Sandberg

Learn about a set of control-derived classes for a colorful presentation by using XP-styled hottracked controls with themed gradient buttons.


This article describes a set of control-derived classes for a colorful presentation by using XP-styled hottracked controls with themed gradient buttons. Gives your edit boxes and buttons a nice look and feel both in XP and 2K

This work is partly based on the articles "XP Style CBitmapButton (CHoverBitmapButton)" by Rail Jon Rogut and "Color Controls" by Paul J. Weiss. Credits to you both.

Note that the orginal versions of the control-derived classes were written by Paul J. Weiss. Because the application I wrote this for is intended to run on touchscreen systems, I focused mainly on the base class CColorControl, the CEdit derived CColorEdit, and, most of all, on the CButton-derived CColorButton. These classes have been completly rewritten whereas the CColorStatic and CColorComboBox classes consist of the original work by Paul. I kept them here in case anyone wants to make an effort. Don't expect them to work as they are (no offense, Paul).


  • Runs on Windows 2000 (classic mode only; see sample screendump) and Windows XP
  • CColorButton uses Uxtheme.h and tmschema.h (and corresponding libraries) for visual styling. Have your project include the path to these files (found in the SDK)
  • CColorButton uses GDI+ for drawing. gdiplus.dll must be present in targeted systems. Refer to SDK
  • Add theme.cpp and ColorControl.cpp to your project
  • Include ColorControl.h where you need it
  • Add CButton and CEdit controls to your dialogtemplate with desired style (disabled, readonly, and so forth)
  • Create control variables for each control of type CColorButton or CColorEdit
  • Compile and run

Common Functions

void CColorControl::SetColors (const COLORREF FGColor,
                               const COLORREF BGColor,
                               const COLORREF HotFGColor,
                               const COLORREF HotBGColor);
void CColorControl::SetDisabledColors (const COLORREF
                    DisabledFGColor = RGB_GRAYTEXT,
                    const COLORREF DisabledBGColor = RGB_BTNFACE);
void CColorControl::SetColorBg (COLORREF clr);
void CColorControl::SetColorFg (COLORREF clr);
void CColorControl::SetColorBgHot (COLORREF clr);
void CColorControl::SetColorFgHot (COLORREF clr);
void CColorControl::SetColorBgDisabled (COLORREF clr);
void CColorControl::SetColorFgDisabled (COLORREF clr);
void CColorControl::SetRolloverDelay (UINT mSeconds);
void CColorControl::EnableHot (bool bEnable};    // turns hottracking
                                                 // on/off

CColorButton Functions

void EnableXP(bool bEnable);    // turns XP-style (if present on
                                // system) on/off
void SetGradientColors(BYTE alphaUpper,    COLORREF rgbUpper,
                       BYTE alphaLower,    COLORREF rgbLower,
                       BYTE alphaLowerHot, COLORREF rgbLowerHot);

Don't hesitate to improve or change whatever you feel like and post it back. I'm all for perfection!

Good luck.


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