Unicode button icons in Visual FoxPro

A big difficulty foxers have is to update their user interfaces. Since we lost MS support, we need to do almost all UI changes by our own. The Win10 UI today is based in monochrome icons - the ones from the SEGOE UI family - SEGOE UI SYMBOL and SEGOE MDL2 ASSETS. These are true type fonts, that bring tons of icons - the ones that we see all over in Win10.

Unfortunately we can't access those icons directly in VFP, because they use a range higher than the CHR(255) supported by VFP. We still have some options:

1 - Use an ACTIVE-X that supports unicodes

2 - Use "Real Window buttons", that support unicodes - https://github.com/VFPX/Win32API/blob/master/samples/sample_274.md

3 - Get some help from GDI+ - gdiplus.dll and do the drawings for us.

The 3rd option is really nice, but demands a lot, really a lot of work. Fortunately, I did almost all the hard work before, back in 2005, in the GradObjects class, that originally was created to bring gradient backgrounds and buttons to our forms. It recreated every button from the form, and redrawn it to an image file, allowing cool gradient, mouse over and disabled effects.

Having this, I just needed to adapt it, leaving the almost abandoned gradients behind, adding support to unicodes and some adaptations for the mouse over effects.

Here's an updated version of the good and old GRADOBJECTS class, that was intended to generate gradient buttons and backgrounds to our forms back in 2005, in the WinXP times. It's still the same GradObjects, but with some new properties and features. 

The usage is really very simple:

  • Open the GradObjects project
  • Create a form, add some buttons
  • Toss an instance of Gradobjects to your form
  • Set your command button FontName property to "SEGOE MDL2 ASSETS" or any other that you desire.
  • Set the caption property of the button to accept unicodes, by introducing the unicodes between the <UC> </UC> tags, for instance:
          greek <UC>03b5 03b9 03c1 03ae 03bd 03b7</UC> - This will show the word "Peace" in greek characters, in any regular font, like Arial, Tahoma, Segoe UI, etc
          To get the Printer icon from the SEGOE MDL2 ASSETS, set the commandbutton font to it, and add the following to its caption property: "<UC>E749</UC>"

The default "GradObjects" properties will bring you a gradient look, but all you need is to change just 5:

  • BackColor1: Numeric, the RGB of the backcolor
  • BackColor2: Set it to .F. (false), because we don't need gradients here, do we?
  • CaptionForeColor: Numeric, the RGB of the forecolor
  • GradientMode: 0 - We don't need gradients!
  • SelBackColor: Numeric, the RGB of the backcolor when a button is focused or mouse over it
  • SelForeColor: Numeric, the RGB of the forecolor when a button is focused or mouse over it

That's it!

The Unicodes can be obtained directly by the CharMap.EXE or all over the web. Here's an excellent starting point: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/design/style/segoe-ui-symbol-font

For a more detailed information, please refer to the original post for GradObjects: http://vfpimaging.blogspot.com/2006/07/gradient-objects-with-gdi-revisited_48.html

The "GradObjects" object will transform all CommandButtons, Graphical OptionButtons from the same parent object. Use containers, if you need different effects (or none) to some individual controls in your forms.

Start playing with the sample form "TESTUNICODEBTNS.SCX"

 Unicode Buttons Download 

See Also:
Drawing Unicode Texts with GDI+


  1. outstanding! thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Cesar for sharing. May I translate it and post it on the VFP Spanish Community Blog? (https://comunidadvfp.blogspot.com)

  3. Hola Luis Maria,
    Seguro que Sí!
    Gracias a tí, por tu contínuo suporte!