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MFC Example: Rows of CToolBar and CToolBarCtrl, with CalcDynamicLayout, with SetRows CBRS_ALIGN_TOP , CBRS_SIZE_DYNAMIC and FloatControlBar

Floating a CToolBar with a given number of rows to be displayed is tricky



Sample Image


In my recent project - a simple multiplayer network game - I needed a very large toolbar (21 buttons), surely taking some width on the screen :) it would be possible to create it neatly arranged in a floated toolbar:

Should be simple, I thought. But it kept me experimenting and digging the rest of the day and encountering a bug in the toolbar control (at least under my Win98 SE, IE 5.5) ...

Regarding the MSDN docs you should look at the CToolBarCtrl::SetRows function, that says - " the toolbar control to resize itself to the requested number of rows". Lets hope the toolbar is polite enough to do so.

Of course, it isn't. When you do something like  :-

CRect rcNew;
m_wndJewelBar.GetToolBarCtrl().SetRows(5, TRUE, &rcNew);

The buttons are rearranged like in the picture above, but the toolbar window itself stays the same lengthy same, whether docked or not:

Fortunately the rcNew rectangle returned is correct. Now I could use it to reset the width of the toolbar:

m_wndJewelBar.CalcDynamicLayout(rcNew.Width(), LM_HORZ | LM_COMMIT);

But: nothing seems to have happened - until I touched the toolbar with the mouse: magically it popped into the correct size: you have to move the toolbar window before it redraws itself the the correct shape. And for moving the toolbar there is the function

CFrameWnd::FloatControlBar(&m_wndJewelBar, rcNew, 

Code listing

Pretty weird, isn't it? Now, I put things together and made a little function for this:

/* Lets float one of our toolbars but make sure that is 
has the desired row count. if the count is too small to 
be set, then return the row count used.

pToolbar -  Pointer to the MFC tool bar 
            object to be manipulated

nRows -     Requested number of rows

bLarger -   Tells whether to use more rows or fewer rows 
            if the toolbar  cannot be resized to the 
            requested number of rows.
(for details see CToolBarCtrl::SetRows in the MSDN 

pClient -   Pointer to a CPoint object for the position int 
            client coordinates for the toolbar to appear 
            floated. If this Parameter is NULL,  the default 
            upper left corner of "this" window will be used
Returns:    The value of the function CToolBarCtrl->GetRows
            after the resizing has occured. A simple experiment 
            shows,but this is NOT the real number of rows 
            displayed :( 

int CMainFrame::FloatToolbarSetRows(
            CToolBar *pToolbar, int nRows, BOOL bLarger,    
            CPoint *pClientPos)
    // default upper left corner
    // of the floating toolbar
    // is upper left corner of main wnd
    CPoint newPos(0,0); // if other pos specified, use it
        if (pClientPos)
            newPos = *pClientPos;

    // functions use screen coords
    // first, make sure our toolbar is floating
    if (!pToolbar->IsFloating())
        FloatControlBar(pToolbar, CPoint(0,0));
    // now set the desired row count
    // may result in more rows than specified
    // see the MSDN docs: CToolBarCtrl::SetRows
    // this function also calculates the new
    // toolbar window size
    // unfortunately this function only arranges
    // the toolbar buttons, but will not update
    // the size of the tool bar window ...
    CRect rcNew;
        bLarger, &rcNew);
    // we need to reset the horizontal extend
    // of the toolbar before it "knows" its 
    // width. It will not diplay this width 
    // before the window is touched by us (or
    //  by the mouse)
        LM_HORZ | LM_COMMIT);

    // now move the window to the desired position
    FloatControlBar(pToolbar, newPos,

    return pToolbar->GetToolBarCtrl().GetRows();


There are two known bugs in this code, but I would like to blame Windows for this:

  • My function is to return the actual number of rows in the tool bar. This is wrong. In my 21 button toolbar, I tell the function to create 5 rows, which it does, but GetRows() returns 9 - ouch! If you really care about the new size, you may calculate it by using the new toolbar window rectangle height and divide it by the toolbar button size.
  • When you resize my toolbar to having 11 rows, the last group of four buttons is wider than the toolbar width of 3. The last button of the group will not be displayed (see image above). Since I can duplicate this behavior by manually floating and resizing the toolbar, I decided not to care about this, and think the Redmondians are fooling me.

At last (and least) have fun with this code. May there be a fine day you find the finished game on my homepage :)


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