Window Title Bar Extender - CaptionX

The CaptionX component allows you to place icons that work like command buttons in a window's title bar to the left of the standard window buttons Minimize, Maximize and Close. The component also provides you with the ability to draw in the title area so you can place formatted text or even graphics there. You can see a window's caption modified with the CaptionX control on the following screenshot:

Window title bar modified with CaptionX (custom icon buttons, etc)

CaptionX extends the functionality and look of a window's caption area. We named this component "CaptionX" because it is a "Caption eXtender".

CaptionX Capabilities

This component supports all types of VB windows - sizable, dialog or tool windows (the BorderStyle property in VB). It takes into account the visibility of the Minimize, Maximize and even What's This buttons. The component can be used in an MDI parent and its child windows.

Each caption icon can have its own tooltip that displays tip text and optionally title and icon. Optionally you can adjust some common tooltips parameters, such as style (balloon or standard rectangular), visible and delay time.

A window's caption text can be drawn by CaptionX or by the developer (custom drawing). In the former case you can draw your own formatted text using different colors and fonts or even place pictures in the window caption.

CaptionX was designed specially for Visual Basic 6 forms as an ActiveX control invisible at run-time. It is based on intercepting window non-client area messages of VB forms package and cannot be used with other types of forms (.NET Windows Forms, UserForms in VBA in MS Word and Excel and so on).

CaptionX in Windows 7, 8 and 10

CaptionX was developed in the era of Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Its main idea is the interception of the system WM_NCPAINT message to draw custom contents.

Unfortunately, this technique of modification of the non-client area of a window title bar has one drawback in the later versions of MS Windows - like Windows 7 or 10. If the Desktop Windows Manager (DWM) is enabled in the OS and normally you see the Aero effect in your windows, it disappears when you add custom window title bar buttons with CaptionX:

Problem with the Aero effect in a modified window title bar

A good explanation of why this happens can be found in the following post of the archived Shell Blog:

Frequently asked questions about the Aero Basic window frame

Below is the pertinent excerpt in the case the blog is no more accessible:

"The DWM doesn't have any legacy worries because applications cannot draw inside the glass frame, since it's rendered and managed by a totally different process. If an application tries to do it, Windows will detect it and remove the glass frame entirely (and therefore revert to the Basic frame), so that the application can draw what it wants to draw."

The direct link to order the component is not available in the Order section for this reason. However, if the described peculiarity is not a problem for your apps and you want to buy the CaptionX component to modify the window title bar area in your VB6 apps, you can contact us for the purchase instructions.

Programming CaptionX »