VisualStyleElement Class


Identifies a control or user interface (UI) element that is drawn with visual styles.

Namespace:   System.Windows.Forms.VisualStyles
Assembly:  System.Windows.Forms (in System.Windows.Forms.dll)


Public Class VisualStyleElement


Gets the class name of the visual style element that this VisualStyleElement represents.


Gets a value indicating the part of the visual style element that this VisualStyleElement represents.


Gets a value indicating the state of the visual style element that this VisualStyleElement represents.

System_CAPS_pubmethodSystem_CAPS_staticCreateElement(String, Int32, Int32)

Creates a new visual style element from the specified class, part, and state values.


Determines whether the specified object is equal to the current object.(Inherited from Object.)


Allows an object to try to free resources and perform other cleanup operations before it is reclaimed by garbage collection.(Inherited from Object.)


Serves as the default hash function. (Inherited from Object.)


Gets the Type of the current instance.(Inherited from Object.)


Creates a shallow copy of the current Object.(Inherited from Object.)


Returns a string that represents the current object.(Inherited from Object.)

The VisualStyleElement class identifies a Windows control or user interface (UI) element that is defined by the current visual style of the operating system. A visual style element is defined in terms of class, part, and state:

  • The class identifies a group of related visual style elements that are typically drawn together. The class is specified by the ClassName property.

  • The part defines a discrete member of a class. The part is specified by the Part property.

  • The state describes the current visual state of the element defined by the class and part. The state is specified by the State property.

The System.Windows.Forms.VisualStyles namespace exposes hundreds of VisualStyleElement objects that represent the controls and user interface elements that can be defined by a visual style. These objects are exposed as static properties of nested classes of VisualStyleElement. For each property, the qualified name of the owning class represents the class and the part of the drawn element, and the property name represents the state of the element. For example, the VisualStyleElement.Button.PushButton.Pressed property returns a VisualStyleElement that can be used to draw a button in the pressed state with visual styles. The Pressed property name corresponds to the state, PushButton corresponds to the part, and Button identifies the class of the visual style element.

To draw a visual style element, create a VisualStyleRenderer, set it to the VisualStyleElement you wish to draw, and then call the DrawBackground method. To determine whether the current visual style provides a definition for a particular element, call the IsElementDefined method with the element as the argument.

VisualStyleElement and VisualStyleRenderer wrap the functionality of the visual styles API from the Windows Shell portion of the Windows Platform SDK. For more information on visual styles, see "Using Windows XP Visual Styles" in the Platform SDK portion of the MSDN Library at


Visual styles are supported only on these platforms.

The following code example is a complete application that provides a UI for browsing and drawing all of the VisualStyleElement objects exposed by the System.Windows.Forms.VisualStyles namespace. To view an element, use the ListView control on the left side of the window to navigate to the node that represents the state of the element you want to draw, and then click the node. This sample will draw the selected element only if the element is defined by the current visual style.

Imports System
Imports System.Text
Imports System.Drawing
Imports System.Collections.Generic
Imports System.Reflection
Imports System.Windows.Forms
Imports System.Windows.Forms.VisualStyles

Namespace VisualStyleElementViewer

    Class Form1
        Inherits Form

        Public Sub New()
            Dim ElementViewer1 As New ElementViewer()
            With Me
                .Text = ElementViewer1.Text
                .Size = New Size(700, 550)
            End With
        End Sub

        <STAThread()> Shared Sub Main()
            Application.Run(New Form1())
        End Sub
    End Class

    Public Class ElementViewer
        Inherits UserControl

        Private element As VisualStyleElement
        Private renderer As VisualStyleRenderer
        Private elementDictionary As New Dictionary(Of String, _
        Private descriptionRect As Rectangle
        Private displayRect As Rectangle
        Private displayRectFull As Rectangle
        Private currentTrueSize As New Size()
        Private elementDescription As New StringBuilder()
        Private label1 As New Label()
        Private WithEvents treeView1 As New TreeView()
        Private WithEvents domainUpDown1 As New DomainUpDown()
        Private drawElement As Boolean = False

        Public Sub New()
            With Me
                .Location = New Point(10, 10)
                .Size = New Size(650, 500)
                .Text = "VisualStyleElement Viewer"
                .Font = SystemFonts.IconTitleFont
                .BackColor = Color.White
                .BorderStyle = BorderStyle.Fixed3D
                .AutoSize = True
            End With
        End Sub 'NewNew

        Private Sub ElementViewer_Load(ByVal sender As Object, _
            ByVal e As EventArgs) Handles Me.Load

            ' Make sure the visual styles are enabled before 
            ' going any further.
            If Not Application.RenderWithVisualStyles Then
            End If

            With label1
                .Location = New Point(320, 10)
                .Size = New Size(300, 60)
                .Text = "Expand the element class nodes in the " + _
                    "tree view to access visual style elements. " + _
                    "Click an element name to draw the element " + _
                    "below. To change the size of a resizable " + _
                    "element, use the spin control."
            End With

            With domainUpDown1
                .Location = New Point(320, 80)
                .Size = New Size(70, 30)
                .ReadOnly = True
                .SelectedIndex = 2
            End With

            descriptionRect = New Rectangle(320, 120, 250, 50)
            displayRect = New Rectangle(320, 160, 0, 0)
            displayRectFull = New Rectangle(320, 160, 300, 200)

            ' Initialize the element and renderer to known good values.
            element = VisualStyleElement.Button.PushButton.Normal
            renderer = New VisualStyleRenderer(element)


            Me.Controls.AddRange(New Control() {treeView1, _
                domainUpDown1, label1})
        End Sub

        ' Use reflection to build a Dictionary of all 
        ' VisualStyleElement objects exposed in the 
        ' System.Windows.Forms.VisualStyles namespace.
        Private Sub SetupElementCollection()
            Dim elementName As New StringBuilder()
            Dim currentElement As VisualStyleElement
            Dim tempObject As Object
            Dim plusSignIndex As Integer = 0

            ' Get array of first-level nested types within 
            ' VisualStyleElement; these are the element classes.
            Dim elementClasses As Type() = _

            Dim elementClass As Type
            For Each elementClass In elementClasses

                ' Get an array of second-level nested types within
                ' VisualStyleElement; these are the element parts.
                Dim elementParts As Type() = _

                ' Get the index of the first '+' character in 
                ' the full element class name.
                plusSignIndex = elementClass.FullName.IndexOf("+")

                Dim elementPart As Type
                For Each elementPart In elementParts

                    ' Get an array of Shared property details 
                    ' for  the current type. Each of these types have 
                    ' properties that return VisualStyleElement objects.
                    Dim elementProperties As PropertyInfo() = _
                        elementPart.GetProperties( _
                        (BindingFlags.Static Or BindingFlags.Public))

                    ' For each property, insert the unique full element   
                    ' name and the element into the collection.
                    Dim elementProperty As PropertyInfo
                    For Each elementProperty In elementProperties

                        ' Get the element.
                        tempObject = elementProperty.GetValue( _
                            Nothing, BindingFlags.Static, Nothing, _
                            Nothing, Nothing)
                        currentElement = CType(tempObject, _

                        ' Append the full element name.
                        elementName.Append(elementClass.FullName, _
                            plusSignIndex + 1, _
                            elementClass.FullName.Length - _
                            plusSignIndex - 1)
                        elementName.Append(("." + _
                            elementPart.Name.ToString() + _
                            "." + elementProperty.Name))

                        ' Add the element and element name to 
                        ' the Dictionary.
                        elementDictionary.Add(elementName.ToString(), _

                        ' Clear the element name for the next iteration.
                        elementName.Remove(0, elementName.Length)
                    Next elementProperty
                Next elementPart
            Next elementClass
        End Sub

        ' Initialize the tree view with the element names.
        Private Sub SetupTreeView()

            With treeView1
                .Location = New Point(10, 10)
                .Size = New Size(300, 450)
                .BorderStyle = BorderStyle.FixedSingle
                .BackColor = Color.WhiteSmoke
                .SelectedNode = Nothing
            End With

            ' An index into the top-level tree nodes.
            Dim nodeIndex As Integer = 0

            ' An index into the first '.' character in an element name.
            Dim firstDotIndex As Integer = 0

            ' Initialize the element class name to compare 
            ' with the class name of the first element 
            ' in the Dictionary, and set this name to the first 
            ' top-level node.
            Dim compareClassName As New StringBuilder("Button")
            treeView1.Nodes.Add( _
                New TreeNode(compareClassName.ToString()))

            ' The current element class name.
            Dim currentClassName As New StringBuilder()

            ' The text for each second-level node.
            Dim nodeText As New StringBuilder()

            Dim entry As KeyValuePair(Of String, VisualStyleElement)
            For Each entry In elementDictionary

                ' Isolate the class name of the current element.
                firstDotIndex = entry.Key.IndexOf(".")
                currentClassName.Append(entry.Key, 0, firstDotIndex)

                ' Determine whether we need to increment to the next 
                ' element class.
                If currentClassName.ToString() <> _
                    compareClassName.ToString() Then

                    ' Increment the index to the next top-level node 
                    ' in the tree view.
                    nodeIndex += 1

                    ' Update the class name to compare with.
                    compareClassName.Remove(0, compareClassName.Length)
                    compareClassName.Remove(firstDotIndex, _
                        compareClassName.Length - firstDotIndex)

                    ' Add a new top-level node to the tree view.
                    Dim node As New TreeNode(compareClassName.ToString())
                End If

                ' Get the text for the new second-level node.
                nodeText.Append(entry.Key, firstDotIndex + 1, _
                    entry.Key.Length - firstDotIndex - 1)

                ' Create and insert the new second-level node.
                Dim newNode As New TreeNode(nodeText.ToString())
                newNode.Name = entry.Key

                currentClassName.Remove(0, currentClassName.Length)
                nodeText.Remove(0, nodeText.Length)
            Next entry

        End Sub

        Protected Overrides Sub OnPaint(ByVal e As PaintEventArgs)

            ' Do nothing further if visual styles are disabled.
            If Not Application.RenderWithVisualStyles Then
                Me.Text = "Visual styles are disabled."
                TextRenderer.DrawText(e.Graphics, Me.Text, Me.Font, _
                    Me.Location, Me.ForeColor)
            End If

            ' Draw the element description.
            TextRenderer.DrawText(e.Graphics, _
                elementDescription.ToString(), Me.Font, _
                descriptionRect, Me.ForeColor, _

            ' Draw the element, if an element is selected.
            If drawElement Then
                renderer.DrawBackground(e.Graphics, Me.displayRect)
            End If
        End Sub

        ' Set the element to draw.
        Private Sub treeView1_AfterSelect(ByVal sender As Object, _
            ByVal e As TreeViewEventArgs) Handles treeView1.AfterSelect

            ' Clear the element description.
            elementDescription.Remove(0, elementDescription.Length)

            ' If the user clicked a first-level node, disable drawing.
            If e.Node.Nodes.Count > 0 Then
                drawElement = False
                elementDescription.Append("No element is selected")
                domainUpDown1.Enabled = False

            ' The user clicked an element node.
                ' Add the element name to the description.

                ' Get the element that corresponds to the selected  
                ' node's name.
                Dim key As String = e.Node.Name
                element = elementDictionary(key)

                ' Disable resizing if the element is not defined.
                If Not VisualStyleRenderer.IsElementDefined(element) Then
                    drawElement = False
                    elementDescription.Append(" is not defined.")
                    domainUpDown1.Enabled = False
                    ' Set the element to the renderer.
                    drawElement = True
                    elementDescription.Append(" is defined.")

                    ' Get the system-defined size of the element.
                    Dim g As Graphics = Me.CreateGraphics()
                    currentTrueSize = renderer.GetPartSize(g, _
                    displayRect.Size = currentTrueSize

                    domainUpDown1.Enabled = True
                    domainUpDown1.SelectedIndex = 2
                End If
            End If
        End Sub

        ' Resize the element display area.
        Private Sub domainUpDown1_SelectedItemChanged(ByVal sender As Object, _
            ByVal e As EventArgs) _
            Handles domainUpDown1.SelectedItemChanged

            Select Case CInt(domainUpDown1.SelectedItem)
                Case CInt(elementSizes.TrueSize)
                    displayRect.Size = currentTrueSize
                Case CInt(elementSizes.Medium)
                    displayRect.Size = _
                        New Size(displayRectFull.Width / 2, _
                        displayRectFull.Height / 2)
                Case CInt(elementSizes.Large)
                    displayRect.Size = displayRectFull.Size
            End Select

        End Sub

        ' These values represent the options in the UpDown control.
        Private Enum elementSizes
        End Enum

    End Class
End Namespace

.NET Framework
Available since 2.0

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

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