Resource Editor Updates for Orcas

Resource Editor Updates for Orcas

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My name is Bogdan Mihalcea; I’m a developer in the Visual C++ IDE team. In the course of the last few months we have updated the Resource Editor to support new Windows Vista features and guidelines.

We concentrated our efforts around the Dialog Editor, Image Editor and Icon Editor. Below you will find a summary of the updates we have made for each of the editors.

Dialog editor

Windows Vista introduced a set of new common controls. The Resource Editor along with MFC in Visual C++ now supports all these controls along with their styles, messages and notifications. The user will be able to drop the new controls on the Dialog and change styles using the property grid, getting the immediate visual response in Dialog Editor to these changes. This update includes adding all the new messages and notifications that come with the new common controls.

Vista also updates the UI guidelines for client applications. By default, new dialogs will respect these guidelines regarding distances between controls, margins, sizes and fonts.

We have also updated all of our existing commons controls to have Vista-specific capabilities. This includes adding new styles, messages and notifications. As part of the same effort, we did the same work for XP-specific functionality. Finally, in order to be complete, we added a missing XP control “SysLink Control” to our tool box for Dialog editor.

Image Editor

PNG images are becoming a standard image format for a wide range of applications. Many Vista applications use PNG images and the format seems to be gaining momentum amongst new applications.  We updated the Image Editor to be able to display images in PNG format as well as adding support for editing 24-bit images.

When creating new images, the Colors dialog (Image palette dialog) now shows the colors organized by sorted RGB values as opposed to the traditional random behavior. For existing images, we continue to use the image’s embedded palette if it exists (e.g. icons).

In order to facilitate browsing multiple images we changed the image editor’s title such that it also displays the image’s size, color depth and format. This makes locating the right image given the set of open tabs much easier.

We introduced a new menu option “Open in External Editor” that will allow our users to edit PNG or other image formats using their preferred application.

Icon Editor

While the Icon editor benefits from all the improvements in the Image editor, we have also extended its functionality.

We introduced a navigation bar that contains a preview of all the images in the opened icon file. They are identifiable by the size, color depth and format information.  This navigation bar can even double as a live preview of current edits. For images smaller than or equal to 64x64, the preview is not scaled, while larger images are automatically scaled down to 64x64.

We welcome any suggestions you might have about Resource Editor, or feature requests for future versions.

Bogdan Mihalcea
Visual C++ IDE Team
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  • Can I now configure the double click in the Dialog Editor to not open the Class Wizard?  We don't use MFC or the Class Wizard and would definitely benefit from double click opening the control's properties.  Plus a Properties dialog would be a nice edition.  Using the Properties dockable window can be a real pain when editing static text for example (I don't have a big enough monitor to make it floating full time).

  • Mad props for the icon image bar. VC6 used to have a drop-down list; VC7 inexplicably relegated this to a menu entry, so it's great to see a better way of switching icon formats quickly.

    However, the pane clamps its width too quickly; several icon sets I've edited produce a horizontal scrollbar here when clearly it's not necessary. I can't understand why this is clamped at all anyway; we should just be able to drag the divider to any width we want.

    Also, true-colour icons still seem to be restricted to the standard Windows 256-colour palette - why don't we see a proper 24-bit colour picker here instead?

  • Have you fixed the bug yet where you click a stack of controls and it selects the one on the _bottom_? It's been in there since VS.NET 2002 and it's really annoying.

  • Will the toolbar editor benefit from the image editor updates, or will we still get the "the bitmap for toolbar must be adjusted to use 16 colors" message?

  • Antes de ayer el Visual C++ Team publicó en su blog una entrada contándonos las novedades que el futuro

  • The Dialog Editor has several problems. If you add a command button or a split button, it puts the BS_SPLITBUTTON or BS_COMMANDLINK (or the style for default button) in the .rc file, but the compilation of the file fails. I have blogged about that here Any comments on that? Thank you.

  • Marius,

    The CTP build that has this resource compilation problem uses an older version of SDK that had a bug related with this. For example commctrl.rh (a stripped down version of commctrl.h) the definitions of the new styles were omitted by mistake.

    Our current internal builds don’t have this problem; the next release of Visual Studio should work just fine.

    As a workaround you can copy over the .h these new definitions into .rh files for the new controls.

    Bogdan [Microsoft]

  • Andrew,

    I hope you will enjoy our new navigation bar (image list), because I think it makes image switching much more convenient.

    The following applies only to 24-bit images:

    We fixed the 24-bit restriction to 256 colors, by allowing you to select any colors you want in the 256 color slots. BTW changing the color in the slot will not change the image even if the image contains a color that doesn’t exist in any slot. The slots are use only for easy picking up to 256 colors.

    I would suggest that you log a detailed bug via and attach the icon or images that pertain to your problem.

    Bogdan [Microsoft]

  • Phaeron,

    Thanks for reporting this issue, in the future, please use for a more rapid resolution.

    Bogdan [Microsoft]

  • Thomas,

    Currently the Toolbar editor has a 16 color restriction. If you would like to see this problem addressed in the next release please your suggestion via

    Bogdan [Microsoft]

  • Murray,

    Please log your suggestion via Depending on the number of similar complains/suggestions we will try to address it in our next releases.

    Bogdan [Microsoft]

  • Bogdan,

    I found a similar request (100258) on connect and voted for it but it is already closed (won't fix).  Are items marked closed (won't fix) reviewed for future releases?


  • I'm very very unhappy with the "16 color restriction" in resource editor, really.

  • Bug report 134188 on MS Connect ( also documents the 16 colour toolbar restriction. It was closed as "Postponed" in July LAST YEAR.

    Come on guiys - you can do better than this. Given that you're making improvements in this area already, to overlook this circa-1995 style limitation is ludicrous in the extreme.

    *Please* fix this for the Orcas Release Candidate if you haven't already done so.

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