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SAPrefs - Netscape-like Preferences Dialog

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20 Apr 2002CPOL2 min read 618.3K   4.7K   148   142
A base class for a prefereneces dialog, similar to that used in Netscape

Sample Image

CSAPrefsDialog is a base for a preferences dialog, similar to the one used in Netscape. Page selection is handled with a CTreeCtrl - pages can be "sub-pages" of other pages!

Use is very similar to CPropertySheet / CPropertyPage : create a CSAPrefsDialog object. This implements the container for your property pages. The pages are objects of type CPrefsSubDlg (a subclass of CDialog). Using these classes is as easy as this :

// our preferences dialog
CSAPrefsDialog dlg;

// the "pages" (all derived from CSAPrefsSubDlg)
CPage1 page1;
CPage2 page2;
CPage3 page3;
CPage4 page4;

// add 3 pages
dlg.AddPage(page1, "Page 1");
dlg.AddPage(page2, "Page 2");
dlg.AddPage(page3, "Page 3");

// this one will be a child node on the tree
// (&page3 specifies the parent)
dlg.AddPage(dlg4, "Page 4", &page3);

// the prefs dialog title
dlg.SetTitle("This is pretty");

// text drawn on the right side of the shaded
// page label. this does not change when the
// pages change, hence "constant".

// launch it like any other dialog...
dlg1.m_csText = m_csStupidCString;
if (dlg.DoModal()==IDOK)
  m_csStupidCString = dlg1.m_csText;

To use this in your own application, you need to follow these steps :

  1. Add the following files to your project :
    • CSAPrefsDialog.cpp,.h
    • CSAPrefsSubDlg.cpp,.h
    • CSAPrefsStatic.cpp,.h
  2. Copy the IDD_SAPREFS dialog resource from the sample project to your project.
  3. Create your preference "pages" in the resource editor with the following settings :
    • Style - Child
    • Border - None
    • No OK or Cancel buttons! (pretend these are CPropertyPages!)
  4. Use Class Wizard to create the dialog classes for the pages.
  5. In the .cpp and .h files for your new dialog classes, replace all occurances of CDialog with CSAPrefsSubDlg. (you will need to #include "SAPrefsSubDlg.h")
  6. Follow the steps shown in the sample code (above) to create the main dialog and add your pages.


  • The parent/child relationships that you specify with AddPage(page, text, &parent) are strictly cosmetic. Only the tree control knows about them! As far as the CSAPrefsDialog is concerned, all pages are equal and independent of each other.
  • OnOK and OnCancel are virtual functions of CSAPrefsSubDlg. You can override them in your own derived dialogs. But, you will have to do this by-hand (implement them like any other function). Class Wizard will not be able to do this for you. These functions are called, for every page that has been viewed, when CSAPrefsSubDlg is closed by OK or Cancel.
  • You should handle "Help" as with CPropertyPage : with a WM_NOTIFY message handler :
    BOOL CMyPage::OnNotify(WPARAM wParam, LPARAM lParam, LRESULT* pResult) 
    	NMHDR* pnmh = (LPNMHDR) lParam;
    	if (pnmh->code == PSN_HELP) {
    		AfxGetApp()->WinHelp(some help ID);
    	return CSAPrefsSubDlg::OnNotify(wParam, lParam, pResult);
  • Your pages should fit inside the IDC_DLG_FRAME rectangle on the IDD_SAPREFS dialog. CSAPrefsSubDlg does not resize to fit your pages, like CPropertySheet does. This keeps things nice and simple. Auto-resizing would be a nice addition, but I don't need it for my purposes, so I didn't add it.


  • Jan 27 2002 - updated source files.
  • 21 April 2002 - updated source files.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Written By
Software Developer
United States United States
Chris Losinger was the president of Smaller Animals Software, Inc. (which no longer exists).

Comments and Discussions

QuestionWorks as x86 but not as x64 Pin
srajan19-Jul-23 13:24
srajan19-Jul-23 13:24 
Praisee Pin
Daniel66715-Jun-17 4:34
Daniel66715-Jun-17 4:34 
QuestionData Pin
Member 1247763921-Apr-16 22:03
Member 1247763921-Apr-16 22:03 
QuestionThanks ! Good code, one question though Pin
VijayDighe26-Apr-12 11:49
VijayDighe26-Apr-12 11:49 
AnswerRe: Thanks ! Good code, one question though Pin
Chris Losinger26-Apr-12 16:25
professionalChris Losinger26-Apr-12 16:25 
QuestionBug? Pin
Manfred Drasch1-Oct-06 23:29
Manfred Drasch1-Oct-06 23:29 
AnswerRe: Bug? Pin
Chris Losinger2-Oct-06 1:54
professionalChris Losinger2-Oct-06 1:54 
QuestionHow to use SAPrefs as a tab control item? Pin
samluo357-Aug-06 18:57
samluo357-Aug-06 18:57 
AnswerRe: How to use SAPrefs as a tab control item? Pin
Chris Losinger8-Aug-06 1:04
professionalChris Losinger8-Aug-06 1:04 
QuestionPossible to dynamically add and delete pages? Pin
helsten226-Mar-06 3:44
helsten226-Mar-06 3:44 
QuestionHow 2 use button for change the pages !!! Pin
c++ noob22-Dec-05 6:35
c++ noob22-Dec-05 6:35 
GeneralAdded some functionality Pin
#realJSOP5-Apr-05 6:31
mve#realJSOP5-Apr-05 6:31 
QuestionHow do you copy a dialog resource? Pin
jhorstkamp27-Oct-03 9:36
jhorstkamp27-Oct-03 9:36 
AnswerRe: How do you copy a dialog resource? Pin
Chris Losinger27-Oct-03 9:41
professionalChris Losinger27-Oct-03 9:41 
QuestionSet selected page on left? Pin
The Lady of Shallots16-Oct-03 10:20
The Lady of Shallots16-Oct-03 10:20 
GeneralSAPrefs a the basis for an app... Pin
Docta G15-Sep-03 18:02
Docta G15-Sep-03 18:02 
GeneralRe: SAPrefs a the basis for an app... Pin
Chris Losinger16-Sep-03 1:23
professionalChris Losinger16-Sep-03 1:23 
GeneralRe: SAPrefs a the basis for an app... Pin
Docta G16-Sep-03 18:53
Docta G16-Sep-03 18:53 
GeneralRe: SAPrefs a the basis for an app... Pin
Chris Losinger17-Sep-03 1:31
professionalChris Losinger17-Sep-03 1:31 
QuestionHow can I make the subpages appear extended? Pin
DanYELL1-May-03 17:32
DanYELL1-May-03 17:32 
AnswerRe: How can I make the subpages appear extended? Pin
Chris Losinger2-May-03 1:32
professionalChris Losinger2-May-03 1:32 
GeneralAnother Idea for Netscape-like Preferences Dialog Pin
Koundinya2-Mar-03 22:53
Koundinya2-Mar-03 22:53 
GeneralRe: Another Idea for Netscape-like Preferences Dialog Pin
Chris Losinger3-Mar-03 3:35
professionalChris Losinger3-Mar-03 3:35 
GeneralDestroyWindow Pin
Anonymous13-Jan-03 9:39
Anonymous13-Jan-03 9:39 
GeneralRe: DestroyWindow Pin
Chris Losinger13-Jan-03 9:50
professionalChris Losinger13-Jan-03 9:50 

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