C++ – Windows XP Style: Why do we get dark grey background on static text widgets

c++user-interfacewinapixp-theme

We're writing Windows desktop apps using C++ and Win32. Our dialog boxes have an ugly appearance with "Windows XP style": the background to the static text is grey. Where the dialog box background is also grey, this is not a problem, but inside a tab control, where the background is white, the grey background to the text is very noticeable.

In the past we have done a lot of our own drawing of controls, but these days we are trying to use the standard look'n'feel as much as possible, and to avoid overriding standard behaviour as much as possible.

We are using the Win32 API, which is getting a bit dated, but I think the problem occurs even with ATL. We are creating a DIALOGTEMPLATE. The text is in a "static" control (0x0082). The only flag we set for the style is "SS_LEFT". The text control is inside a tab control: "SysTabControl32" with only one flag: WS_CLIPSIBLINGS set on it. I've experimented with SS_WHITERECT and WS_EX_TRANSPARENT and other settings, to no avail.

All of this gets drawn with the standard Windows dialog box message handler. My main question is "what are we doing wrong?" rather than "how can I work around it?", although I'll settle for the latter if no-one can help me with the first.

Any ideas?

Best Solution

The usual way of implementing pages in a tab control is required to access MS's solution to this problem :-

Instead of creating individual controls in the tab area, create a modeless child dialog for each page and have the controls on that. Create the page dialogs with the main dialog (not the tab) as their parent and as the user switches between tabs, simply show and hide the relevant page dialog.

In the WM_INITDIALOG handler for each page, call the uxtheme API EnableThemeDialogTexture

With the ETDT_ENABLETAB flag this automatically changes the background color of the dialog and all its child controls to paint appropriately on a tab.

If you have overridden WM_ERASEBKGND or WM_CTLCOLOR* in your pages DialogProc you will need to revert to default handling (return FALSE) as these methods are where the dialog code is going to do its heavy lifting. The style bits should simply be set as though the child page dialog page was going to be created on a normal windows 9X tabbed dialog.

Related Question