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Toolbar overview

Classes: wxToolBar

The toolbar family of classes allows an application to use toolbars in a variety of configurations and styles.

The toolbar is a popular user interface component and contains a set of bitmap buttons or toggles. A toolbar gives faster access to an application's facilities than menus, which have to be popped up and selected rather laboriously.

Instead of supplying one toolbar class with a number of different implementations depending on platform, wxWidgets separates out the classes. This is because there are a number of different toolbar styles that you may wish to use simultaneously, and also, future toolbar implementations will emerge which cannot all be shoe-horned into the one class.

For each platform, the symbol wxToolBar is defined to be one of the specific toolbar classes.

The following is a summary of the toolbar classes and their differences.

A toolbar might appear as a single row of images under the menubar, or it might be in a separate frame layout in several rows and columns. The class handles the layout of the images, unless explicit positioning is requested.

A tool is a bitmap which can either be a button (there is no 'state', it just generates an event when clicked) or it can be a toggle. If a toggle, a second bitmap can be provided to depict the 'on' state; if the second bitmap is omitted, either the inverse of the first bitmap will be used (for monochrome displays) or a thick border is drawn around the bitmap (for colour displays where inverting will not have the desired result).

The Windows-specific toolbar classes expect 16-colour bitmaps that are 16 pixels wide and 15 pixels high. If you want to use a different size, call SetToolBitmapSize as the demo shows, before adding tools to the button bar. Don't supply more than one bitmap for each tool, because the toolbar generates all three images (normal, depressed and checked) from the single bitmap you give it.

Using the toolbar library

Using the toolbar library

Include "wx/toolbar.h", or if using a class directly, one of:

Example of toolbar use are given in the sample program "toolbar''. The source is given below. In fact it is out of date because recommended practise is to use event handlers (using EVT_MENU or EVT_TOOL) instead of overriding OnLeftClick.

// Name:        test.cpp
// Purpose:     wxToolBar sample
// Author:      Julian Smart
// Modified by:
// Created:     04/01/98
// RCS-ID:      $Id: ttoolbar.tex,v 1.10 2004/09/21 13:24:40 ABX Exp $
// Copyright:   (c) Julian Smart
// License:   	wxWidgets license

// For compilers that support precompilation, includes "wx/wx.h".
#include "wx/wxprec.h"

#ifdef __BORLANDC__
#pragma hdrstop

#ifndef WX_PRECOMP
#include "wx/wx.h"

#include "wx/toolbar.h"
#include <wx/log.h>

#include "test.h"

#if defined(__WXGTK__) || defined(__WXMOTIF__)
#include "mondrian.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/new.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/open.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/save.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/copy.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/cut.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/print.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/preview.xpm"
#include "bitmaps/help.xpm"


// The `main program' equivalent, creating the windows and returning the
// main frame
bool MyApp::OnInit(void)
  // Create the main frame window
  MyFrame* frame = new MyFrame((wxFrame *) NULL, -1, (const wxString) "wxToolBar Sample",
     wxPoint(100, 100), wxSize(450, 300));

  // Give it a status line

  // Give it an icon

  // Make a menubar
  wxMenu *fileMenu = new wxMenu;
  fileMenu->Append(wxID_EXIT, "E&xit", "Quit toolbar sample" );

  wxMenu *helpMenu = new wxMenu;
  helpMenu->Append(wxID_HELP, "&About", "About toolbar sample");

  wxMenuBar* menuBar = new wxMenuBar;

  menuBar->Append(fileMenu, "&File");
  menuBar->Append(helpMenu, "&Help");

  // Associate the menu bar with the frame

  // Create the toolbar
  frame->GetToolBar()->SetMargins( 2, 2 );


  // Force a resize. This should probably be replaced by a call to a wxFrame
  // function that lays out default decorations and the remaining content window.
  wxSizeEvent event(wxSize(-1, -1), frame->GetId());

  frame->SetStatusText("Hello, wxWidgets");

  return true;

bool MyApp::InitToolbar(wxToolBar* toolBar)
  // Set up toolbar
  wxBitmap* toolBarBitmaps[8];

#ifdef __WXMSW__
  toolBarBitmaps[0] = new wxBitmap("icon1");
  toolBarBitmaps[1] = new wxBitmap("icon2");
  toolBarBitmaps[2] = new wxBitmap("icon3");
  toolBarBitmaps[3] = new wxBitmap("icon4");
  toolBarBitmaps[4] = new wxBitmap("icon5");
  toolBarBitmaps[5] = new wxBitmap("icon6");
  toolBarBitmaps[6] = new wxBitmap("icon7");
  toolBarBitmaps[7] = new wxBitmap("icon8");
  toolBarBitmaps[0] = new wxBitmap( new_xpm );
  toolBarBitmaps[1] = new wxBitmap( open_xpm );
  toolBarBitmaps[2] = new wxBitmap( save_xpm );
  toolBarBitmaps[3] = new wxBitmap( copy_xpm );
  toolBarBitmaps[4] = new wxBitmap( cut_xpm );
  toolBarBitmaps[5] = new wxBitmap( preview_xpm );
  toolBarBitmaps[6] = new wxBitmap( print_xpm );
  toolBarBitmaps[7] = new wxBitmap( help_xpm );

#ifdef __WXMSW__
  int width = 24;
  int width = 16;
  int currentX = 5;

  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_NEW, *(toolBarBitmaps[0]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "New file");
  currentX += width + 5;
  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_OPEN, *(toolBarBitmaps[1]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "Open file");
  currentX += width + 5;
  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_SAVE, *(toolBarBitmaps[2]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "Save file");
  currentX += width + 5;
  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_COPY, *(toolBarBitmaps[3]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "Copy");
  currentX += width + 5;
  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_CUT, *(toolBarBitmaps[4]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "Cut");
  currentX += width + 5;
  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_PASTE, *(toolBarBitmaps[5]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "Paste");
  currentX += width + 5;
  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_PRINT, *(toolBarBitmaps[6]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "Print");
  currentX += width + 5;
  toolBar->AddTool(wxID_HELP, *(toolBarBitmaps[7]), wxNullBitmap, false, currentX, -1, (wxObject *) NULL, "Help");


  // Can delete the bitmaps since they're reference counted
  int i;
  for (i = 0; i < 8; i++)
    delete toolBarBitmaps[i];

  return true;

// wxID_HELP will be processed for the 'About' menu and the toolbar help button.

    EVT_MENU(wxID_EXIT, MyFrame::OnQuit)
    EVT_MENU(wxID_HELP, MyFrame::OnAbout)
    EVT_TOOL_RANGE(wxID_OPEN, wxID_PASTE, MyFrame::OnToolLeftClick)
    EVT_TOOL_ENTER(wxID_OPEN, MyFrame::OnToolEnter)

// Define my frame constructor
MyFrame::MyFrame(wxFrame* parent, wxWindowID id, const wxString& title, const wxPoint& pos,
        const wxSize& size, long style):
  wxFrame(parent, id, title, pos, size, style)
  m_textWindow = new wxTextCtrl(this, -1, "", wxPoint(0, 0), wxSize(-1, -1), wxTE_MULTILINE);

void MyFrame::OnQuit(wxCommandEvent& WXUNUSED(event))

void MyFrame::OnAbout(wxCommandEvent& WXUNUSED(event))
    (void)wxMessageBox("wxWidgets toolbar sample", "About wxToolBar");

// Define the behaviour for the frame closing
// - must delete all frames except for the main one.
void MyFrame::OnCloseWindow(wxCloseEvent& WXUNUSED(event))

void MyFrame::OnToolLeftClick(wxCommandEvent& event)
  wxString str;
  str.Printf("Clicked on tool %d", event.GetId());

void MyFrame::OnToolEnter(wxCommandEvent& event)
  if (event.GetSelection() > -1)
    wxString str;
    str.Printf("This is tool number %d", event.GetSelection());