Unicode Controls in Visual FoxPro - A new faster and efficient aproach

As a continuation of my last post - Unicode Button Icons in Visual FoxPro, I decided to keep trying different solutions to bring Unicodes to our controls - specially as button icons.

The most natural option would be to use real Windows Buttons like the sample we have in VFPX - https://vfpimaging.blogspot.com/2020/11/unicode-button-icons-in-visual-foxpro.html

But this brings the con that we would have to make several changes in our legacy forms in order to adapt all codes related to the Click event, and others.

So, I decided to try a hybrid solution - "Draw" a "Static" Win32 control - similar to our VFP Label control over regular CommandButtons and Labels. These "Static" Win controls allow Unicodes, and would allow us to keep all our legacy codes as they are. 

So here's FOXYOBJECTS - a custom VFP class that can be tossed in our forms, and will "Convert" all buttons and labels that have contents between the <UC> </UC> tags to unicodes, just like the previous post. This time about 4-5 times faster than GradObjects, with the same result.

If you didn't read the previous post, my goal is to bring some cool icons, the same we see all over in WIN10 UI, specially those from SEGOE MDL2 ASSETS, like shown in the CharMap below:

The usage of this new class is really very simple:

  • Open the FoxyObjects project
  • Toss an instance of FoxyObjects 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>"

FoxyObjects brings some few properties, that will be applied to all CommandButton and Label controls that are on the same object level of the FoxyObjects level. For instance, if you want FoxyObjects to apply changes to some selected objects, you can insert them into a container, and add an instance of the class to it. This way, the rest of the objects will not be affected.

By default, it will apply changes only to objects that have the <UC> tag in their captions.

  • BackColor - Numeric, specifies the background color used to display text and graphics in an object.
  • DisabledForeColor - Numeric, specifies the color used to display text when the object is disabled.
  • ForeColor - Numeric, specifies the color used to display text.
  • MouseOverForeColor - Numeric, specifies the color the object text (and icon) will turn into when the mouse will be over the specified object. If you don't want this effect, store the value -1
  • lBindAll - Logical, determines that all objects will be affected, even if they don't have the <UC> in the caption. That means that you can change the caption at runtime, and the unicodes will be respected 
  • lBindLabels - Logical, determines that both CommandButtons and Labels will be affected
  • lBindResize - Logical, determines that whenever any control is resized or moved the label mask will be updated as well.
  • lBindVisible - Logical, determines that whenever any control is hidden or visible label mask will be updated as well.

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

The SEGOE MDL2 ASSETS font comes with Win10, but it is not allowed to be distributed to other OS'. This is not a big deal, because Tahoma also brings several options to us, and we can always work with some of the free fonts available on the web, such as "Material.io". They bring tons of modern and beautiful icons for free. It's really worth a visit - https://material.io/resources/icons/?style=outline

SPECIAL THANKS to Mustapha Bihmuten from Morocco and Leandro Walfrans from Brazil for testing the Pre-Alpha version of the class and for bringing valuable suggestions

 FoxyObjects v0.4 Download 

See Also:
Drawing Unicode Texts with GDI+
Unicode Button Icons in Visual FoxPro
Unicode character search by compart.com
Material icons


  1. Thanks again Cesar. This new article will also be translated for the Visual FoxPro Community Blog in Spanish (https://comunidadvfp.blogspot.com)

  2. Great article, it would be even better if can be handle wordwrap of label.

  3. Very useful article, it would be better if it can handle wordwrap