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Tab Controls in Win32

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I would like to add a tab strip to the program I''m working on. But everything I find is in MFC. I want to do it the hard way and reinvent the wheel. Is there any kind of tutorials on tab strips for Win32?

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I just recently had the same problem. I needed to find information on tab controls without mfc, and as you've probably discovered, there's not much out there. I managed to navigate through msdn to a section that was ACTUALLY helpful to me. I hope it's useful to you too.


BTW, if you navigate on the bar on the left, you can find all sorts of information on all the controls.

Good luck.

Build a man a fire and you'll keep him warm for a night.
Set a man on fire and you'll keep him warm for the rest of his life.

[edited by - pi_equals_3 on November 29, 2003 11:01:50 AM]

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I''m probably not doing this right but I keep getting an error. I copied the four functions from MSDN into a seperate file. For the couple that want the handle to the app I used GetModuleHandle(NULL) instead of using a global. It compiles fine expect for a few warnings about ''type cast''. In the WM_INITDIALOG of my main dialog I call OnTabbedDialogInit(hDlg) and it crashes at

if (pHdr->apRes->cx > rcTab.right)
rcTab.right = pHdr->apRes[i]->cx;

I''ve only got one tab but I modified the code for that. I''m not quite sure what I''m doing wrong on this.

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I pretty much just copied the code straight from MSDN.

#define C_PAGES 1

typedef struct tag_dlghdr {
HWND hwndTab; // tab control

HWND hwndDisplay; // current child dialog box

RECT rcDisplay; // display rectangle for the tab control


VOID WINAPI OnTabbedDialogInit(HWND hwndDlg);
VOID WINAPI OnSelChanged(HWND hwndDlg);
VOID WINAPI OnChildDialogInit(HWND hwndDlg);

VOID WINAPI OnTabbedDialogInit(HWND hwndDlg)
DLGHDR *pHdr = (DLGHDR *) LocalAlloc(LPTR, sizeof(DLGHDR));
DWORD dwDlgBase = GetDialogBaseUnits();
int cxMargin = LOWORD(dwDlgBase) / 4;
int cyMargin = HIWORD(dwDlgBase) / 8;
RECT rcTab;
HWND hwndButton;
RECT rcButton;
int i;
HINSTANCE g_hinst;

g_hinst = GetModuleHandle(NULL);

// Save a pointer to the DLGHDR structure.

SetWindowLong(hwndDlg, GWL_USERDATA, (LONG) pHdr);

// Create the tab control.

pHdr->hwndTab = CreateWindow(
0, 0, 100, 100,
hwndDlg, NULL, g_hinst, NULL
if (pHdr->hwndTab == NULL) {
// handle error


// Add a tab for each of the three child dialog boxes.

tie.mask = TCIF_TEXT | TCIF_IMAGE;
tie.iImage = -1;
tie.pszText = "
TabCtrl_InsertItem(pHdr->hwndTab, 0, &tie);
tie.pszText = "
TabCtrl_InsertItem(pHdr->hwndTab, 1, &tie);
tie.pszText = "
TabCtrl_InsertItem(pHdr->hwndTab, 2, &tie);

// Lock the resources for the three child dialog boxes.

pHdr->apRes[0] = DoLockDlgRes(MAKEINTRESOURCE("
// pHdr->apRes[1] = DoLockDlgRes(MAKEINTRESOURCE(DLG_SECOND));

//pHdr->apRes[2] = DoLockDlgRes(MAKEINTRESOURCE(DLG_THIRD));

// Determine the bounding rectangle for all child dialog boxes.

for (i = 0; i < C_PAGES; i++) {
if (pHdr->apRes[i]->cx > rcTab.right)
rcTab.right = pHdr->apRes[i]->cx;
if (pHdr->apRes[i]->cy > rcTab.bottom)
rcTab.bottom = pHdr->apRes[i]->cy;
rcTab.right = rcTab.right * LOWORD(dwDlgBase) / 4;
rcTab.bottom = rcTab.bottom * HIWORD(dwDlgBase) / 8;

// Calculate how large to make the tab control, so

// the display area can accommodate all the child dialog boxes.

TabCtrl_AdjustRect(pHdr->hwndTab, TRUE, &rcTab);
OffsetRect(&rcTab, cxMargin - rcTab.left,
cyMargin - rcTab.top);

// Calculate the display rectangle.

CopyRect(&pHdr->rcDisplay, &rcTab);
TabCtrl_AdjustRect(pHdr->hwndTab, FALSE, &pHdr->rcDisplay);

// Set the size and position of the tab control, buttons,

// and dialog box.

SetWindowPos(pHdr->hwndTab, NULL, rcTab.left, rcTab.top,
rcTab.right - rcTab.left, rcTab.bottom - rcTab.top,

// Move the first button below the tab control.

hwndButton = GetDlgItem(hwndDlg, IDCLOSE);
SetWindowPos(hwndButton, NULL,
rcTab.left, rcTab.bottom + cyMargin, 0, 0,

// Determine the size of the button.

GetWindowRect(hwndButton, &rcButton);
rcButton.right -= rcButton.left;
rcButton.bottom -= rcButton.top;

// Move the second button to the right of the first.

hwndButton = GetDlgItem(hwndDlg, IDOK);
SetWindowPos(hwndButton, NULL,
rcTab.left + rcButton.right + cxMargin,
rcTab.bottom + cyMargin, 0, 0,

// Size the dialog box.

SetWindowPos(hwndDlg, NULL, 0, 0,
rcTab.right + cyMargin +
2 * GetSystemMetrics(SM_CXDLGFRAME),
rcTab.bottom + rcButton.bottom + 2 * cyMargin +
2 * GetSystemMetrics(SM_CYDLGFRAME) +

// Simulate selection of the first item.


// DoLockDlgRes - loads and locks a dialog box template resource.

// Returns the address of the locked resource.

// lpszResName - name of the resource

HINSTANCE g_hinst;

g_hinst = GetModuleHandle(NULL);

HRSRC hrsrc = FindResource(NULL, lpszResName, RT_DIALOG);
HGLOBAL hglb = LoadResource(g_hinst, hrsrc);
return (DLGTEMPLATE *) LockResource(hglb);

// OnSelChanged - processes the TCN_SELCHANGE notification.

// hwndDlg - handle to the parent dialog box.

VOID WINAPI OnSelChanged(HWND hwndDlg)
HINSTANCE g_hinst;

g_hinst = GetModuleHandle(NULL);

DLGHDR *pHdr = (DLGHDR *) GetWindowLong(
int iSel = TabCtrl_GetCurSel(pHdr->hwndTab);

// Destroy the current child dialog box, if any.

if (pHdr->hwndDisplay != NULL)

// Create the new child dialog box.

pHdr->hwndDisplay = CreateDialogIndirect(g_hinst,
pHdr->apRes[iSel], hwndDlg, MainDlgProc);

// OnChildDialogInit - Positions the child dialog box to fall

// within the display area of the tab control.

VOID WINAPI OnChildDialogInit(HWND hwndDlg)
HWND hwndParent = GetParent(hwndDlg);
DLGHDR *pHdr = (DLGHDR *) GetWindowLong(
hwndParent, GWL_USERDATA);
SetWindowPos(hwndDlg, HWND_TOP,
pHdr->rcDisplay.left, pHdr->rcDisplay.top,
0, 0, SWP_NOSIZE);

[edited by - darkchrono4 on November 30, 2003 1:22:00 PM]

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Original post by darkchrono4
[lots of code]

[ source ] [ /source ] tags are usually prefered, but anyway:

pHdr->apRes[0] = DoLockDlgRes(MAKEINTRESOURCE("ONE"));

MAKEINTRESOURCE() accepts a token and turns that into a string. I''m pretty sure this line might be causing problems.

Colin Jeanne | Invader''s Realm

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you use MAKEINTRESOURCE if your resource is an actual integer name. If you use strings as resource names, just type the string.

"one" //also correct

assuming 1 is one resource, and "one" is a differently named resource

[edited by - nagromo on November 30, 2003 1:50:24 PM]

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Your dialog''s name is "ONE", with the quotes even?

Then a better way to solve the problem would be to add some error handlers (particularly in the DoLockDlgRes() function) so that you can properly debug your code.

Colin Jeanne | Invader''s Realm

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Yeah I do have some questionable coding practices.

In my comments above I was trying to add the tab strip to a dialog box. Because I''m lazy and like to use the resource editor to create my controls instead of doing them manually. I tried the code to do a tab strip on just a regular window and it works. My question now is how to I get handles to the seperate tabs so that I can add controls?

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