Privacy Policy
Best viewed with:

☕ Buy me a coffee
Mick Dohertys' .net Tips and Tricks - Tips / Form
Move a borderless form.

The following two examples show how to move the form from either the Forms or a controls MouseDown event.

  • VB Code
  • C# Code

An example of a moveable/resizable shaped form.

This is by no means a complete solution, just an idea for creating custom shaped forms with custom Titlebars.
The form can be dragged by its fake titlebar, and if right clicked the fake Titlebar will popup the WindowMenu.
The CreateParams property has been modified to add a System Menu (with Min,Move and Close items) to a borderless form.
The Titlebar button are not controls, they are simply drawn in the fake title bar and they react to hittesting.
The MainMenu is actually labels that popup Contextmenus.
The form can be resized only by its resizegrip, but you could define regions for each of the sides and corners and allow sizing by dragging the edge. The example requires a little work to be useable, but it should give you an idea of how to achieve this solution.
With a little InterOp you can draw a standard TitleBar onto which you can place custom buttons, and this solution is much simpler than that of OwnerDrawing the NonClient Area to achieve the same effect.

  • VB Code
  • C# Code

Customise an MDI application.

The following code modifies the MDI Client of a form.
There is a custom Background, and the border has been flattened since the default 3D appearance looks poor when you wish to use Splitter controls to adjust the MDI client size.

  • VB Code
  • C# Code

Use a TabControl for MDI navigation.

  • VB Code
  • C# Code

Add forms as usercontrols.

The following class is a modified form that can be treated as a usercontrol. The image above shows a Panel with a contained form that itself has a contained form.
Adding forms is simple enough, but getting them to appear active is a little trickier. This class has been decorated with the ToolBoxItemAttribute so that you may add the form to your toolbox for ease of use at design time.
The class includes the moveable property shown in Herfied K. Wagners Windows Forms section

  • VB Code
  • C# Code

Creating Forms with Custom Appearance, but standard Behaviour (option 1).

There are several ways to Custom Paint a form, but each has their flaw.
This method starts with a standard Form that has its BorderStyle set to None.
We also create a WindowMenu class which pops up in place of the standard WindowMenu. We do this because restoring the standard WindowMenu causes the standard Window Size options to be lost and these cannot be restored without adding the sizable border which we do not want to see.
To get the standard Size and Move options we simply create GraphicsPaths that react to the mouse in the same way as the standard Non-Client form parts do. To achieve this we simply intercept and manipulate a few standard Windows messages. For this article I have not used any Interop calls, but you may get more flexible results by using SendMessage() and SetMenuItemBitmaps() rather than sending WndProc() calls and OwnerDrawing the custom WindowMenu.
The example here simply paints the defined paths in order that you can physically see how this method works, it is not meant to be pretty. You are not restricted to where the paths are placed or what shape they are, you dont even have to stick to them exactly when painting, the paths are simply there for mouse interaction.
The only real problem with this method is that if you set AutoScroll to true then Scrollbars will appear on top of the fake NonClientArea. A simple fix for this is to dock a Panel to the form (set the forms margins as appropiate) and use this as the Form Client.

  • VB Code
  • C# Code

You'll need to add images to your projects resources for the buttons. You can download the images that I used here...

Creating Forms with Custom Appearance, but standard Behaviour (option 2).

This method uses a Layered Window so that all drawing is done by you, including that of child controls. This type of window will never recieve or respond to a standard Paint message.

Advantages of this method include the ability to draw the Scrollbars in any style you wish as well as having the ability to change Alpha levels on a pixel by pixel basis. Just be aware that if you set alpha to zero, then the mouse events will fall through to the window below.

A disadvantage to this method is that not all child windows support DrawToBitmap() and so will not render themselves correctly with the simple UpdateWindow() method used here.

You will need to expand the code to paint the window differently depending upon window focus and mouse position, but adding non client mouse handling is beyond the scope of this simple example. You may call UpdateWindow() whenever the Form or one of it's child controls needs repainting.

  • VB Code
  • C# Code

This style of window requires Win200 or above.