Appearance Customization in Windows Forms Menu (Menus)

In this section the appearance customization of the menu and child menu items is discussed.

Customizing images in menu items

The images associated with a menu item can be customized depending upon its state either it is enabled, disabled, highlighted or performed an action upon it.

Adding normal state images

Images can be added to menu items directly via the property Image. The following code snippet shows the image added to a bar item.

barItem1.Image = new ImageExt(Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath + @"\..\..\..\Resources\Copy.ico"));
barItem1.Image = New ImageExt(Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath & "\..\..\..\Resources\Copy.ico"))

Properties

The below table discuss the image properties of customizing the image associated with a menu item.

Properties Description
ImageList Gets or sets the image list associated with a menu a item instance.
ImageListAdv Gets or sets the image list associated with a menu item instance.
ImageSize Gets or sets the size of an image.
LargeImageList Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.
LargeImageListAdv Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.
ImageIndex Gets or sets the index of the image list collections.

NOTE

By default, the ImageIndex is set to -1, the corresponding image in the list should be specified with a proper index value.

Adding disabled state images

When a menu item tends to be in a disabled state, a different image can be associated with that menu item via the property DisabledImage. The following code snippet shows the image associated with a disabled state menu item.

barItem1.DisabledImage = new ImageExt(Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath + @"\..\..\..\Resources\New.ico"));
barItem1.DisabledImage = New ImageExt(Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath & "\..\..\..\Resources\New.ico"))

Properties

The below table discuss the image properties of customizing the disabled state image associated with a menu item.

Properties Description
DisabledImageList Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled menu item.
DisabledImageListAdv Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled menu item.
DisabledLargeImageList Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.
DisabledLargeImageListAdv Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.
DisabledImageIndex Gets or sets the index of the image collections.

NOTE

By default, the DisabledImageIndex is set to -1, the corresponding image in the list should be specified with a proper index value.

Menu Item before disabled state

Menu Item after disabled state

Adding highlighted state images

When a menu item is selected or highlighted, the image associated to the menu item can be set via the HighlightedImage property. The following code snippet shows the image associated with a highlighted state menu item.

barItem1.HighlightedImage = new ImageExt(Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath + @"\..\..\..\Resources\Cut.ico"));
barItem1.HighlightedImage = New ImageExt(Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath & "\..\..\..\Resources\Cut.ico"))

Properties

The below table discuss the image properties of customizing the selected state image associated with a menu item.

Properties Description
HighlightedImageList Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled menu item.
HighlightedImageListAdv Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled menu item.
HighlightedLargeImageList Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.
HighlightedImageLargeListAdv Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.
HighlightedImageIndex Gets or sets the index of the image collections.

Before highlighting the menu item

Before highlighting the menu item

NOTE

By default, the HighlightedImageIndex is set to -1, the corresponding image in the list should be specified with a proper index value.

Adding pressed state images

When a menu item is pressed, the image associated to the menu item can be set via the PressedImageListAdv property. The following code snippet shows the image associated with a pressed state menu item.

ImageListAdv pressedStateImages = new ImageListAdv();
barItem1.PressedImageIndex = 2;
pressedStateImages.Images.AddRange(new Image[]
{
    Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath + @"\..\..\..\Resources\Cut.ico"),
    Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath + @"\..\..\..\Resources\SaveAll.ico"),
    Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath + @"\..\..\..\Resources\New.ico"),
    Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath + @"\..\..\..\Resources\Save.ico")
});
barItem1.PressedImageListAdv = pressedStateImages;
Dim pressedStateImages As New ImageListAdv()
barItem1.PressedImageIndex = 2
pressedStateImages.Images.AddRange(New Image()
{
   Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath & "\..\..\..\Resources\Cut.ico"),
   Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath & "\..\..\..\Resources\SaveAll.ico"),
   Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath & "\..\..\..\Resources\New.ico"),
   Image.FromFile(Application.ExecutablePath & "\..\..\..\Resources\Save.ico")
})
barItem1.PressedImageListAdv = pressedStateImages

Properties

The below table discuss the image properties of customizing the pressed state image associated with a menu item.

Properties Description
PressedLargeImageList Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.
PressedLargeImageListAdv Gets or sets the ImageList that contains the images to display in the disabled state, if the bar manager is loaded with large icons mode.

Customizing bar styles

The menu bar appearance can be customized with the usage scenario depending upon the menu items it holds. The following are the bar styles supported in menu control.

  • None
  • AllowQuickCustomizing
  • IsMainMenu
  • MultiLine
  • RotateWhenVertical
  • Visible
  • UseWholeRow
  • DrawDragBorder
  • IsStatusBar
  • TextBelowImage

The enum value of BarStyle cam also be adjoined to represent the bar with combined applied styles. The below image shows the bar items are combined with the Visible value.

Bar enabled with customizing options

Bar applied with Drag drop border style

Bar applied with main menu style

Bar applied with status bar style

The below code snippet shows the bar style is being applied with IsMainMenu style.

this.bar1.BarStyle = BarStyle.IsMainMenu | BarStyle.Visible;
Me.bar1.BarStyle = BarStyle.IsMainMenu | BarStyle.Visible

Customizing paint styles

The menu items rendering mode can be customized with the PaintStyle property. The following modes are supported to customize the rendering mode.

  • Default mode
  • Text only mode
  • Text only in menu mode
  • Image and text mode

Default mode

As the name indicates it is the default rendering mode of PaintStyle property. Images are drawn only in the child-menus like drop down menu or from parent menu. Otherwise all the bar will be drawn only with its respective image.

The below image shows that the drop-down menu is rendered with both image and text where as the main menu items are rendered only with images.

The menu items applied with text only mode

Text only mode

This mode ignores the images associated with the menu items. This applies only to the tool bar menu items. The below code snippet shows the menu item is being applied with TextOnly mode.

barItem1.PaintStyle = PaintStyle.TextOnly;
barItem1.PaintStyle = PaintStyle.TextOnly

The menu items applied with text only mode

Text only in menu mode

The menu items can be represented as text only specific to the child-menus either from drop down menu or parent menu. The below code snippet shows the menu items are applied with TextOnlyInMenus mode.

barItem1.PaintStyle = PaintStyle.TextOnlyInMenus;
barItem1.PaintStyle = PaintStyle.TextOnlyInMenus

The menu item is set with text only in menus mode

Image and text only mode

Both the image and text are applied to all the menu items either from main menu or child menu. The below code snippet shows the menu items are applied with ImageAndText mode.

barItem1.PaintStyle = PaintStyle.ImageAndText;
barItem1.PaintStyle = PaintStyle.ImageAndText

The menu items are applied with image and text

Customizing customize dialog

The Customize Dialog style can be customized with required colors by using the ForeColor, BackColor and Font properties. The below code snippet shows the modified Customize dialog.

this.mainFrameBarManager1.CustomizationDialog.ForeColor = Color.Red;
this.mainFrameBarManager1.CustomizationDialog.BackColor = Color.Black;
this.mainFrameBarManager1.CustomizationDialog.Font = new Font("Times New Roman", 8.5f);
Me.mainFrameBarManager1.CustomizationDialog.ForeColor = Color.Red
Me.mainFrameBarManager1.CustomizationDialog.BackColor = Color.Black
this.mainFrameBarManager1.CustomizationDialog.Font = New Font("Times New Roman", 8.5f)

The Customize dialog with modified styles

Customizing menu items

The menu items of a tool bar in menu control can be customized. This can be done both design-time and on-demand initialization. This can be done by using the EnableCustomizing property. By default, this is enabled to promote on-demand customization. The below code shows the menu items customization is being disabled.

this.mainFrameBarManager1.EnableCustomizing = false;
Me.mainFrameBarManager1.EnableCustomizing = False

Disabled customize option to all the menu bars

The above code could disable the customization to all the bars of the menu control collectively. In order to disable the customize option for a specific bar, the respective bar instance’s AllowCustomizing property should be set to false. The below image shows the customization to bar1 is being disabled while bar2 is not.

this.bar1.AllowCustomizing = false;
Me.bar1.AllowCustomizing = False

Disbled customize for spcific menu toolbas

Customizing events

There are two events associated while customizing the menu items. The CustomizingItem property holds the current customizing item.

Grouping menu items

The menu items of a tool bar can be grouped together using the SeparatorIndices property. The specific tool bar instance is used to specific the grouping items. The below code snippet shows the menu items are grouped in a tool bar.

this.bar1.SeparatorIndices.Add(3);
Me.bar1.SeparatorIndices.Add(3)

Menu items are grouped in a bar

NOTE

The index value represents the menu items incremental value for grouping. Its not likely to be the bar item index value in a tool bar.

Grouping methods

Method Description
BeginGroupAt Begins the grouping of menu items from the bar item instance specified.
RemoveGroupAt Removes the grouping of menu items from the bar item instance specified.
IsGroupBeginning Returns a boolean value whether the specified bar item instance is at the begining of the grouping or not.
ClearSeparators Removes every grouping of menu items in a given tool bar.

Backward compatibility

The menu control supports to customize the appearance and scale modes similar to the older version of the menu control. This can be used by enabling the UseBackwardCompatiblity property.

The color schemes can be modified by applying and customizing the theme colors.

See Also

Theming