How to: Create the User Control and Host MDI View

The following steps show how to create a .NET Framework user control, author the user control in a control class library (specifically, a Windows Control Library project), and then compile the project into an assembly. The control can then be consumed from an MFC application that uses classes derived from CView Class and CWinFormsView Class.

For information about how to create a Windows Forms user control and author a control class library, see How to: Author User Controls.


In some cases, Windows Forms controls, such as a third-party Grid control, might not behave reliably when hosted in an MFC application. A recommended workaround is to place a Windows Forms User Control in the MFC application and place the third-party Grid control inside the User control.

This procedure assumes that you created a Windows Forms Controls Library project named WindowsFormsControlLibrary1, as per the procedure in How to: Create the User Control and Host in a Dialog Box.

To create the MFC host application

  1. Create an MFC Application project.

    On the File menu, select New, and then click Project. In the Visual C++ folder, select MFC Application.

    In the Name box, enter MFC02 and change the Solution setting to Add to Solution. Click OK.

    In the MFC Application Wizard, accept all the defaults, and then click Finish. This creates an MFC application with a Multiple Document Interface.

  2. Configure the project for Common Language Runtime (CLR) support.

    In Solution Explorer, right-click the MFC01 project node, and select Properties from the context menu. The Property Pages dialog box appears.

    Under Configuration Properties, select General. Under the Project Defaults section, set Common Language Runtime support to Common Language Runtime Support (/clr).

    Under Configuration Properties, expand C/C++ and click the General node. Set Debug Information Format to Program Database (/Zi).

    Click the Code Generation node. Set Enable Minimal Rebuild to No (/Gm-). Also set Basic Runtime Checks to Default.

    Click OK to apply your changes.

  3. In pch.h (stdafx.h in Visual Studio 2017 and earlier), add the following line:

    #using <System.Windows.Forms.dll>
  4. Add a reference to the .NET control.

    In Solution Explorer, right-click the MFC02 project node and select Add, References. In the Property Page, click Add New Reference, select WindowsFormsControlLibrary1 (under the Projects tab), and click OK. This adds a reference in the form of a /FU compiler option so that the program will compile; it also copies WindowsFormsControlLibrary1.dll into the MFC02 project directory so that the program will run.

  5. In stdafx.h, find this line:

    #endif // _AFX_NO_AFXCMN_SUPPORT

    Add these lines above it:

    #include <afxwinforms.h>   // MFC Windows Forms support
  6. Modify the view class so that it inherits from CWinFormsView.

    In MFC02View.h, replace CView with CWinFormsView so that the code appears as follows:

    class CMFC02View : public CWinFormsView

    If you want add additional views to your MDI application, you will need to call CWinApp::AddDocTemplate for each view you create.

  7. Modify the MFC02View.cpp file to change CView to CWinFormsView in the IMPLEMENT_DYNCREATE macro and message map and replace the existing empty constructor with the constructor shown below:

    CMFC02View::CMFC02View(): CWinFormsView(WindowsFormsControlLibrary1::UserControl1::typeid)
    BEGIN_MESSAGE_MAP(CMFC02View, CWinFormsView)
    //leave existing body as is
  8. Build and run the project.

    In Solution Explorer, right-click MFC02 and select Set as StartUp Project.

    On the Build menu, click Build Solution.

    On the Debug menu, click Start without debugging.

See also

Hosting a Windows Forms User Control as an MFC View