How to Create a Tree-View Control

To create a tree-view control, use the CreateWindowEx function, specifying the WC_TREEVIEW value for the window class. The tree-view window class is registered in the application's address space when the common control DLL is loaded. To ensure that the DLL is loaded, use the InitCommonControls function.

What you need to know



  • C/C++
  • Windows User Interface Programming


Create an Instance of a Tree-View Control

The following example creates a tree-view control that is sized to fit the client area of the parent window. It also uses application-defined functions to associate an image list with the control and add items to the control.

// Create a tree-view control. 
// Returns the handle to the new control if successful,
// or NULL otherwise. 
// hwndParent - handle to the control's parent window. 
// lpszFileName - name of the file to parse for tree-view items.
// g_hInst - the global instance handle.
// ID_TREEVIEW - the resource ID of the control.

HWND CreateATreeView(HWND hwndParent)
    RECT rcClient;  // dimensions of client area 
    HWND hwndTV;    // handle to tree-view control 

    // Ensure that the common control DLL is loaded. 

    // Get the dimensions of the parent window's client area, and create 
    // the tree-view control. 
    GetClientRect(hwndParent, &rcClient); 
    hwndTV = CreateWindowEx(0,
                            TEXT("Tree View"),
                            WS_VISIBLE | WS_CHILD | WS_BORDER | TVS_HASLINES, 

    // Initialize the image list, and add items to the control. 
    // InitTreeViewImageLists and InitTreeViewItems are application- 
    // defined functions, shown later. 
    if (!InitTreeViewImageLists(hwndTV) || 
        return FALSE; 
    return hwndTV;


When you create a tree-view control, you can also send it a WM_SETFONT message to set the font to be used for the text. You should send this message before inserting any items. By default, a tree view uses the icon title font. Although you can customize the font per-item by using Custom Draw, the tree-view control uses the dimensions of the font specified by the WM_SETFONT message to determine spacing and layout.

Using Tree-View Controls

CustDTv sample illustrates custom draw in a Tree-View control