CListBox owner draw control for showing Pictures

   CListBox in MFC is a powerful control. It can be used for displaying the normal text and even custom data like pictures. Whenever such custom behavior is needed, a new class has to be derived from CListBox and the MeasureItem and DrawItem functions should be over-ridden and the CListBox based control should be created as an owner draw control.

   These CListBox functions MeasureItem and DrawItem are common to all MFC controls. All controls use this function?s default behavior to draw their GUI. The project in this article illustrates an owner-draw list box. The class uses an abstract object to draw the items. In this case a class derived from the abstract object is created to make the control list pictures, but making you own classes that implement you ideas for owner-draw lists, derived from it should be easy.

   The name of the abstract class is CdrawC. This abstract class contains methods that are called from the list box class only. They are

virtual void DrawItem(LPDRAWITEMSTRUCT lpdis, bool bHasFocus) = 0;

   Draws the item using the Win32 DRAWITEMSTRUCT. 

virtual void MeasureItem(LPMEASUREITEMSTRUCT lpmis) = 0;

   Sets the item size once or every time depending of the owner-draw style: fixed or variable. 

virtual void InitLBox(CListBox* pLBox) = 0;

   Initializes the control holding the class if it is a CListBox (or derived from it). 

virtual int AddItemLst(CListBox* pLBox, UINT nItem) = 0;

   Adds an item to the control holding the class if it is a CListBox (or derived from it).

Using the CListBox derived owner draw class:

  • This abstract class is added to the list box via it’s method SetDrawC. It must be added before the control is created, so it should be called in the CDialog constructor.
  • The Init() method of the control should be called immediately after it’s creation.
  • Items are added with the AddItem function of the control. This AddItem is over-ridden to call another function which calls the AddItemLst.
  • List boxes using from this type can be created either dynamically or using the dialog editor and after adding a variable of type CListBox just rename it with CODrawLBox. Don?t forget to call SetDrawC and Init.
  • List boxes must be created with the following styles: LBS_HASSTRINGS, LBS_NOTIFY, LBS_OWNERDRAWFIXED or LBS_OWNERDRAWVARIABLE.

   In this particular example a list box, listing pictures that are bitmaps in the project?s resources is implemented. The init method is obsolete for there is no initialization needed for this case. The AddItem implementation inserts an unused string in the control and gets the bitmap resource id and from it gets the handle to the bitmap, then it inserts the handle in the item data field of the control. Also two class constants are used to set the size of the pictures (PicSizeX and PicSizeY). When you use your pictures be sure to change these constants so that your pictures fit in the device context.

int CPicDrawC::AddItemLst(CListBox* pLBox, UINT nItem) 
             int n;
             n = pLBox->AddString("un");
             HBITMAP hbmp = (HBITMAP)LoadImage(AfxGetApp()->m_hInstance, MAKEINTRESOURCE(nItem), IMAGE_BITMAP, PicSizeX, PicSizeY, 0L);                        pLBox->SetItemData(n, (DWORD)hbmp);
             return n; 

  After that in the drawing function the handle to the bitmap is received as item data and like this:

HBITMAP hbmp = (HBITMAP)lpdis->itemData;
 dc.BitBlt(rect.left+5,, PicSizeX, PicSizeY, &MemDC, 0, 0, SRCCOPY); 

   When the selection in the list box is changed an event is raised. We catch this event to update the sample picture box like this:

CRect rect;
 HBITMAP hbmp = (HBITMAP)m_picList.GetItemData(m_picList.GetCurSel());
 CDC MemDC, *pDC = m_samplePic.GetDC();
 pDC->BitBlt(rect.left+10,, m_picDrawc.PicSizeX, m_picDrawc.PicSizeY, &MemDC, 0, 0, SRCCOPY); 

   You can see that to get just the handle to the bitmap currently selected you need to use this code:


    Download the Sample Source here. Read here to know the MFC General Owner draw issues & how to solve them.