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How do i overlay text and images over all programs/desktop?

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Hi, I'm developing a voice comms program, and am interested in displaying information relative to whose speaking ontop of all program surface of a computer in the easiest way possible. One possibility i read was just setting a forms opacity to 0, and gdi drawing on that form...i have yet to test this. After some googling i found the following example :http://www.angelcode.com/dev/overlay/, and was wondering if their were any other good ones the people of this forum might of collected over time.

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There is a fairly easy/complicated way of doing this that works really great, however it doesn't likely go ontop of exclusive DirectX applications... but nothing does that as far I as know...

And that is in XP (and perhaps 2000) there is functionality for setting transparency and more advanced properties to a window... one is also colorkeying... if this is done correctly, you can even make it overlay-like, meaning that it cannot be clicked on... all clicks go through.

And by having an external listening DLL you can make it stay on-top of top-most windows too.

If you are interested I might have some old code for this.

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OK, I admin this code is crappy as hell, but... I wrote like 3-4 years ago and it wasn't meant for anything :)

Well here you have the code, should be more or less working with a little tinkering.

Code for the main window, color-keying and transparency is used. (I believe there is an some mistake in this code that makes the caption etc appear at sometimes, think it is easily fixed)

MSG msg;

wcClass.style = CS_OWNDC;
wcClass.lpfnWndProc = WindowProc;
wcClass.cbClsExtra = 0;
wcClass.cbWndExtra = 0;
wcClass.hInstance = hInstance;
wcClass.hIcon = NULL;
wcClass.hCursor = NULL;
wcClass.hbrBackground = CreateSolidBrush(lngBackground);
wcClass.lpszMenuName = NULL;
wcClass.lpszClassName = APP_CLASSNAME;

if(!RegisterClass(&wcClass)) { MessageBox(NULL, "Unable to construct the help window.\r\nError: RegisterClass()", "dsf", MB_OK | MB_ICONERROR | MB_TASKMODAL); _exit(FALSE); }

// WS_EX_NOACTIVATE is not needed but migth solve some problems
// WS_EX_TOOLWINDOW is only for improved support with some virtual workspaces
if(!(wndWindow = CreateWindowEx(WS_EX_TRANSPARENT, APP_CLASSNAME, NULL, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, NULL, NULL, hInstance, NULL))) MessageBox(NULL,"Umm, fel","",0);

// Select colors for the rectangle function
SelectObject(hdcWindow, GetStockObject(DC_BRUSH));
SelectObject(hdcWindow, GetStockObject(DC_PEN));
SetDCBrushColor(hdcWindow, lngBackground);
SetDCPenColor(hdcWindow, lngBackground);

// Remove any default WS styles, e.g. the caption
SetWindowLong(wndWindow, GWL_STYLE, 0);

// Setup window position and hook to match specifications
if(intZOrder == ZORDER_DESKTOP) {
SetWindowPos(wndWindow, HWND_BOTTOM, 900, 0, intSizeX, intSizeY, SWP_NOACTIVATE | SWP_NOCOPYBITS);
else if ((intZOrder == ZORDER_TOPMOST) || (intZOrder == ZORDER_OVERLAY)) {
SetWindowPos(wndWindow, HWND_TOPMOST, 900, 0, intSizeX, intSizeY, SWP_NOACTIVATE | SWP_NOCOPYBITS);

// Attach the hook DLL to monitor window positioning
if(intZOrder == ZORDER_OVERLAY) {
if(!(hHookDLL = LoadLibrary("HookDLL.dll"))) MessageBox(NULL,"Umm, fel","",0);
if(!(hHookProc = (HOOKPROC)GetProcAddress(hHookDLL, "CallWndProc"))) MessageBox(NULL,"Umm, fel","",0);
if(!(hHook = SetWindowsHookEx(WH_CALLWNDPROC, hHookProc, hHookDLL, 0))) MessageBox(NULL,"Umm, fel","",0);

// Set proper window attributes for layered window
DWORD dwLayeredStyle = 0;

// Activate alpha if alpha value is inside bounds
if(intAlpha > 0 && intAlpha < 255)
dwLayeredStyle |= LWA_ALPHA;

// Activate transparent window if clear value is valid
if(lngBackground >= 0)
dwLayeredStyle |= LWA_COLORKEY;

if(!(SetLayeredWindowAttributes(wndWindow, lngBackground, (INT)intAlpha, dwLayeredStyle))) MessageBox(NULL,"Umm, fel","",0);

// Make the window visible, but do not activate (caption bug)
ShowWindow(wndWindow, SW_SHOWNOACTIVATE);

// Wait until this instance has been closed
while(GetMessage(&msg, NULL, 0, 0)) {

This is the code for the DLL (optional, but makes sure no top-most window gets on top of ours)

HWND wndWindow;

BOOL WINAPI DllMain(HINSTANCE hDllInst, DWORD dwReason, LPVOID lpvReserved)
switch(dwReason) {
// Search for the main window, terminate otherwise
if(!(wndWindow = FindWindow(APP_CLASSNAME, NULL)))
return FALSE;




return TRUE;

LRESULT CALLBACK CallWndProc(int nCode, WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam)
// Extract real parameter structure
sParam = (PCWPSTRUCT)lParam;

// Make sure we recieved a set of valid arguments
// Do not check the main window or we'll create an infinite loop
if(sParam->hwnd == wndWindow)

// Collect information about the new window position
LPWINDOWPOS winPosition;
winPosition = (LPWINDOWPOS)sParam->lParam;

// If the window hasn't been put on top we don't need to reposition
if((winPosition->hwndInsertAfter != HWND_TOP) && (winPosition->hwndInsertAfter != HWND_TOPMOST))

//case WM_CREATE:

// Tell the application to go on top of all windows
PostMessage(wndWindow, WM_REPOSITION, NULL, NULL);

// CallNextHookEx does not need the hhk argument
return CallNextHookEx(NULL, nCode, wParam, lParam);

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