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How To Capture and Print the Screen, a Form, or Any Window

This article was previously published under Q161299
SUMMARY
This article shows how to capture any form or window including the screeninto a Visual Basic Picture object. Once the on-screen image is captured inthe Picture object, it can easily be printed using the PaintPicture methodof the Visual Basic Printer object.
MORE INFORMATION
The included example provides several useful routines for capturing images.All of the routines have been written to work under both 16- and 32-bitWindows platforms and they contain full palette support. The routines inthe example can:
  • Capture the entire contents of a form.
  • Capture the client area of a form.
  • Capture the entire screen.
  • Capture the active window on the screen.
  • Capture any portion of any window given a handle to it.
  • Create a Picture object from a bitmap and a palette.
  • Print a Picture object as large as possible on the page.
Visual Basic 4.0 introduced a new Picture object. The Picture object isactually a standard OLE type and it is documented in the ControlDeveloper's Kit (CDK.)

The CDK includes the function OleCreatePictureIndirect that you can use toconstruct new Picture objects from Visual Basic 4.0. The routineCreateBitmapPicture in the example calls OleCreatePictureIndirect to builda Picture object from a handle to a bitmap and a handle to a palette. Ifthe Picture includes a valid palette, Visual Basic will know to use it whenrendering the Picture to the screen or printer. The CreateBitmapPictureroutine is used by the CaptureWindow routine to construct Picture objectscontaining a bitmap of a part or all of a window.

The CaptureWindow routine in the example captures any portion of a windowgiven a window handle. The routine includes several parameters fordescribing the exact portion of the window to capture. Capture Window worksby copying the on-screen image of a window into a new bitmap. It alsochecks to see if the screen has a palette and if so it makes a copy of it.CaptureWindow then calls CreateBitmapPicture to construct a bitmap from thenewly created bitmap and palette.

The CaptureForm, CaptureClient, CaptureScreen, and CaptureActiveWindowroutines included in the example all use CaptureWindow to capture specificwindows. CaptureForm and CaptureClient both call Capture window and pass itthe hWnd property of a Form object. CaptureScreen simply gets the handle tothe desk top window and calls CaptureWindow. Similarly, CaptureActiveWindowjust gets the window handle of the active window and calls CaptureWindow.

Once the desired image is captured in a Picture object, it is easy to printin Visual Basic 4.0 using the PaintPicture method of the Printer object.The example provides the routine PrintPictureToFitPage that uses thePaintPictureMethod to print the captured images as large as possible in theprintable area of the page.

Example

  1. Start a new project. Form1 is created by default.
  2. Place six CommandButtons on the form along the left side.
  3. Place one picture box on the form to the right of the buttons.
  4. Put the following code in Form1:
          '--------------------------------------------------------------------      ' Capture the entire screen.      Private Sub Command1_Click()         Set Picture1.Picture = CaptureScreen()      End Sub      ' Capture the entire form including title and border.      Private Sub Command2_Click()         Set Picture1.Picture = CaptureForm(Me)      End Sub      ' Capture the client area of the form.      Private Sub Command3_Click()         Set Picture1.Picture = CaptureClient(Me)      End Sub      ' Capture the active window after two seconds.      Private Sub Command4_Click()         MsgBox "Two seconds after you close this dialog " & _            "the active window will be captured."         ' Wait for two seconds.         Dim EndTime As Date         EndTime = DateAdd("s", 2, Now)         Do Until Now > EndTime            DoEvents         Loop         Set Picture1.Picture = CaptureActiveWindow()         ' Set focus back to form.         Me.SetFocus      End Sub      ' Print the current contents of the picture box.      Private Sub Command5_Click()         PrintPictureToFitPage Printer, Picture1.Picture         Printer.EndDoc      End Sub      ' Clear out the picture box.      Private Sub Command6_Click()         Set Picture1.Picture = Nothing      End Sub      ' Initialize the form and controls.      Private Sub Form_Load()         Me.Caption = "Capture and Print Example"         Command1.Caption = "&Screen"         Command2.Caption = "&Form"         Command3.Caption = "&Client"         Command4.Caption = "&Active"         Command5.Caption = "&Print"         Command6.Caption = "C&lear"         Picture1.AutoSize = True      End Sub      '--------------------------------------------------------------------					
  5. Add a new standard module to the project (module1 by default).
  6. Put the following code in the new module:
          '--------------------------------------------------------------------      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' Visual Basic 4.0 16/32 Capture Routines      '      ' This module contains several routines for capturing windows into a      ' picture.  All the routines work on both 16 and 32 bit Windows      ' platforms.      ' The routines also have palette support.      '      ' CreateBitmapPicture - Creates a picture object from a bitmap and      ' palette.      ' CaptureWindow - Captures any window given a window handle.      ' CaptureActiveWindow - Captures the active window on the desktop.      ' CaptureForm - Captures the entire form.      ' CaptureClient - Captures the client area of a form.      ' CaptureScreen - Captures the entire screen.      ' PrintPictureToFitPage - prints any picture as big as possible on      ' the page.      '      ' NOTES      '    - No error trapping is included in these routines.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      Option Explicit      Option Base 0      Private Type PALETTEENTRY         peRed As Byte         peGreen As Byte         peBlue As Byte         peFlags As Byte      End Type      Private Type LOGPALETTE         palVersion As Integer         palNumEntries As Integer         palPalEntry(255) As PALETTEENTRY  ' Enough for 256 colors.      End Type      Private Type GUID         Data1 As Long         Data2 As Integer         Data3 As Integer         Data4(7) As Byte      End Type      #If Win32 Then         Private Const RASTERCAPS As Long = 38         Private Const RC_PALETTE As Long = &H100         Private Const SIZEPALETTE As Long = 104         Private Type RECT            Left As Long            Top As Long            Right As Long            Bottom As Long         End Type         Private Declare Function CreateCompatibleDC Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function CreateCompatibleBitmap Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long, ByVal nWidth As Long, _            ByVal nHeight As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function GetDeviceCaps Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long, ByVal iCapabilitiy As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function GetSystemPaletteEntries Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long, ByVal wStartIndex As Long, _            ByVal wNumEntries As Long, lpPaletteEntries As PALETTEENTRY) _            As Long         Private Declare Function CreatePalette Lib "GDI32" ( _            lpLogPalette As LOGPALETTE) As Long         Private Declare Function SelectObject Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long, ByVal hObject As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function BitBlt Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDCDest As Long, ByVal XDest As Long, _            ByVal YDest As Long, ByVal nWidth As Long, _            ByVal nHeight As Long, ByVal hDCSrc As Long, _            ByVal XSrc As Long, ByVal YSrc As Long, ByVal dwRop As Long) _            As Long         Private Declare Function DeleteDC Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function GetForegroundWindow Lib "USER32" () _            As Long         Private Declare Function SelectPalette Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long, ByVal hPalette As Long, _            ByVal bForceBackground As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function RealizePalette Lib "GDI32" ( _            ByVal hDC As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function GetWindowDC Lib "USER32" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function GetDC Lib "USER32" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function GetWindowRect Lib "USER32" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Long, lpRect As RECT) As Long         Private Declare Function ReleaseDC Lib "USER32" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Long, ByVal hDC As Long) As Long         Private Declare Function GetDesktopWindow Lib "USER32" () As Long         Private Type PicBmp            Size As Long            Type As Long            hBmp As Long            hPal As Long            Reserved As Long         End Type         Private Declare Function OleCreatePictureIndirect _            Lib "olepro32.dll" ( PicDesc As PicBmp, RefIID As GUID, _            ByVal fPictureOwnsHandle As Long, IPic As IPicture) As Long      #ElseIf Win16 Then         Private Const RASTERCAPS As Integer = 38         Private Const RC_PALETTE As Integer = &H100         Private Const SIZEPALETTE As Integer = 104         Private Type RECT            Left As Integer            Top As Integer            Right As Integer            Bottom As Integer         End Type         Private Declare Function CreateCompatibleDC Lib "GDI" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function CreateCompatibleBitmap Lib "GDI" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer, ByVal nWidth As Integer, _            ByVal nHeight As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function GetDeviceCaps Lib "GDI" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer, ByVal iCapabilitiy As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function GetSystemPaletteEntries Lib "GDI" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer, ByVal wStartIndex As Integer, _            ByVal wNumEntries As Integer, _            lpPaletteEntries As PALETTEENTRY) As Integer         Private Declare Function CreatePalette Lib "GDI" ( _            lpLogPalette As LOGPALETTE) As Integer         Private Declare Function SelectObject Lib "GDI" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer, ByVal hObject As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function BitBlt Lib "GDI" ( _            ByVal hDCDest As Integer, ByVal XDest As Integer, _            ByVal YDest As Integer, ByVal nWidth As Integer, _            ByVal nHeight As Integer, ByVal hDCSrc As Integer, _            ByVal XSrc As Integer, ByVal YSrc As Integer, _            ByVal dwRop As Long) As Integer         Private Declare Function DeleteDC Lib "GDI" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function GetForegroundWindow Lib "USER" _            Alias "GetActiveWindow" () As Integer         Private Declare Function SelectPalette Lib "USER" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer, ByVal hPalette As Integer, ByVal _            bForceBackground As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function RealizePalette Lib "USER" ( _            ByVal hDC As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function GetWindowDC Lib "USER" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function GetDC Lib "USER" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function GetWindowRect Lib "USER" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Integer, lpRect As RECT) As Integer         Private Declare Function ReleaseDC Lib "USER" ( _            ByVal hWnd As Integer, ByVal hDC As Integer) As Integer         Private Declare Function GetDesktopWindow Lib "USER" () As Integer         Private Type PicBmp            Size As Integer            Type As Integer            hBmp As Integer            hPal As Integer            Reserved As Integer         End Type         Private Declare Function OleCreatePictureIndirect _            Lib "oc25.dll" ( PictDesc As PicBmp, RefIID As GUID, _            ByVal fPictureOwnsHandle As Integer, IPic As IPicture) _            As Integer      #End If      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' CreateBitmapPicture      '    - Creates a bitmap type Picture object from a bitmap and      '      palette.      '      ' hBmp      '    - Handle to a bitmap.      '      ' hPal      '    - Handle to a Palette.      '    - Can be null if the bitmap doesn't use a palette.      '      ' Returns      '    - Returns a Picture object containing the bitmap.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      #If Win32 Then         Public Function CreateBitmapPicture(ByVal hBmp As Long, _            ByVal hPal As Long) As Picture            Dim r As Long      #ElseIf Win16 Then         Public Function CreateBitmapPicture(ByVal hBmp As Integer, _            ByVal hPal As Integer) As Picture            Dim r As Integer      #End If         Dim Pic As PicBmp         ' IPicture requires a reference to "Standard OLE Types."         Dim IPic As IPicture         Dim IID_IDispatch As GUID         ' Fill in with IDispatch Interface ID.         With IID_IDispatch            .Data1 = &H20400            .Data4(0) = &HC0            .Data4(7) = &H46         End With         ' Fill Pic with necessary parts.         With Pic            .Size = Len(Pic)          ' Length of structure.            .Type = vbPicTypeBitmap   ' Type of Picture (bitmap).            .hBmp = hBmp              ' Handle to bitmap.            .hPal = hPal              ' Handle to palette (may be null).         End With         ' Create Picture object.         r = OleCreatePictureIndirect(Pic, IID_IDispatch, 1, IPic)         ' Return the new Picture object.         Set CreateBitmapPicture = IPic      End Function      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' CaptureWindow      '    - Captures any portion of a window.      '      ' hWndSrc      '    - Handle to the window to be captured.      '      ' Client      '    - If True CaptureWindow captures from the client area of the      '      window.      '    - If False CaptureWindow captures from the entire window.      '      ' LeftSrc, TopSrc, WidthSrc, HeightSrc      '    - Specify the portion of the window to capture.      '    - Dimensions need to be specified in pixels.      '      ' Returns      '    - Returns a Picture object containing a bitmap of the specified      '      portion of the window that was captured.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      ''''''      '      #If Win32 Then         Public Function CaptureWindow(ByVal hWndSrc As Long, _            ByVal Client As Boolean, ByVal LeftSrc As Long, _            ByVal TopSrc As Long, ByVal WidthSrc As Long, _            ByVal HeightSrc As Long) As Picture            Dim hDCMemory As Long            Dim hBmp As Long            Dim hBmpPrev As Long            Dim r As Long            Dim hDCSrc As Long            Dim hPal As Long            Dim hPalPrev As Long            Dim RasterCapsScrn As Long            Dim HasPaletteScrn As Long            Dim PaletteSizeScrn As Long      #ElseIf Win16 Then         Public Function CaptureWindow(ByVal hWndSrc As Integer, _            ByVal Client As Boolean, ByVal LeftSrc As Integer, _            ByVal TopSrc As Integer, ByVal WidthSrc As Long, _            ByVal HeightSrc As Long) As Picture            Dim hDCMemory As Integer            Dim hBmp As Integer            Dim hBmpPrev As Integer            Dim r As Integer            Dim hDCSrc As Integer            Dim hPal As Integer            Dim hPalPrev As Integer            Dim RasterCapsScrn As Integer            Dim HasPaletteScrn As Integer            Dim PaletteSizeScrn As Integer      #End If         Dim LogPal As LOGPALETTE         ' Depending on the value of Client get the proper device context.         If Client Then            hDCSrc = GetDC(hWndSrc) ' Get device context for client area.         Else            hDCSrc = GetWindowDC(hWndSrc) ' Get device context for entire                                          ' window.         End If         ' Create a memory device context for the copy process.         hDCMemory = CreateCompatibleDC(hDCSrc)         ' Create a bitmap and place it in the memory DC.         hBmp = CreateCompatibleBitmap(hDCSrc, WidthSrc, HeightSrc)         hBmpPrev = SelectObject(hDCMemory, hBmp)         ' Get screen properties.         RasterCapsScrn = GetDeviceCaps(hDCSrc, RASTERCAPS) ' Raster                                                            ' capabilities.         HasPaletteScrn = RasterCapsScrn And RC_PALETTE       ' Palette                                                              ' support.         PaletteSizeScrn = GetDeviceCaps(hDCSrc, SIZEPALETTE) ' Size of                                                              ' palette.         ' If the screen has a palette make a copy and realize it.         If HasPaletteScrn And (PaletteSizeScrn = 256) Then            ' Create a copy of the system palette.            LogPal.palVersion = &H300            LogPal.palNumEntries = 256            r = GetSystemPaletteEntries(hDCSrc, 0, 256, _                LogPal.palPalEntry(0))            hPal = CreatePalette(LogPal)            ' Select the new palette into the memory DC and realize it.            hPalPrev = SelectPalette(hDCMemory, hPal, 0)            r = RealizePalette(hDCMemory)         End If         ' Copy the on-screen image into the memory DC.         r = BitBlt(hDCMemory, 0, 0, WidthSrc, HeightSrc, hDCSrc, _            LeftSrc, TopSrc, vbSrcCopy)      ' Remove the new copy of the  on-screen image.         hBmp = SelectObject(hDCMemory, hBmpPrev)         ' If the screen has a palette get back the palette that was         ' selected in previously.         If HasPaletteScrn And (PaletteSizeScrn = 256) Then            hPal = SelectPalette(hDCMemory, hPalPrev, 0)         End If         ' Release the device context resources back to the system.         r = DeleteDC(hDCMemory)         r = ReleaseDC(hWndSrc, hDCSrc)         ' Call CreateBitmapPicture to create a picture object from the         ' bitmap and palette handles. Then return the resulting picture         ' object.         Set CaptureWindow = CreateBitmapPicture(hBmp, hPal)      End Function      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' CaptureScreen      '    - Captures the entire screen.      '      ' Returns      '    - Returns a Picture object containing a bitmap of the screen.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      Public Function CaptureScreen() As Picture         #If Win32 Then            Dim hWndScreen As Long         #ElseIf Win16 Then            Dim hWndScreen As Integer         #End If         ' Get a handle to the desktop window.         hWndScreen = GetDesktopWindow()         ' Call CaptureWindow to capture the entire desktop give the handle         ' and return the resulting Picture object.         Set CaptureScreen = CaptureWindow(hWndScreen, False, 0, 0, _            Screen.Width \ Screen.TwipsPerPixelX, _            Screen.Height \ Screen.TwipsPerPixelY)      End Function      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' CaptureForm      '    - Captures an entire form including title bar and border.      '      ' frmSrc      '    - The Form object to capture.      '      ' Returns      '    - Returns a Picture object containing a bitmap of the entire      '      form.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      Public Function CaptureForm(frmSrc As Form) As Picture         ' Call CaptureWindow to capture the entire form given its window         ' handle and then return the resulting Picture object.         Set CaptureForm = CaptureWindow(frmSrc.hWnd, False, 0, 0, _            frmSrc.ScaleX(frmSrc.Width, vbTwips, vbPixels), _            frmSrc.ScaleY(frmSrc.Height, vbTwips, vbPixels))      End Function      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' CaptureClient      '    - Captures the client area of a form.      '      ' frmSrc      '    - The Form object to capture.      '      ' Returns      '    - Returns a Picture object containing a bitmap of the form's      '      client area.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      Public Function CaptureClient(frmSrc As Form) As Picture         ' Call CaptureWindow to capture the client area of the form given         ' its window handle and return the resulting Picture object.         Set CaptureClient = CaptureWindow(frmSrc.hWnd, True, 0, 0, _            frmSrc.ScaleX(frmSrc.ScaleWidth, frmSrc.ScaleMode, vbPixels), _            frmSrc.ScaleY(frmSrc.ScaleHeight, frmSrc.ScaleMode, vbPixels))      End Function      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' CaptureActiveWindow      '    - Captures the currently active window on the screen.      '      ' Returns      '    - Returns a Picture object containing a bitmap of the active      '      window.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      Public Function CaptureActiveWindow() As Picture         #If Win32 Then            Dim hWndActive As Long            Dim r As Long         #ElseIf Win16 Then            Dim hWndActive As Integer            Dim r As Integer         #End If         Dim RectActive As RECT         ' Get a handle to the active/foreground window.         hWndActive = GetForegroundWindow()         ' Get the dimensions of the window.         r = GetWindowRect(hWndActive, RectActive)         ' Call CaptureWindow to capture the active window given its         ' handle and return the Resulting Picture object.      Set CaptureActiveWindow = CaptureWindow(hWndActive, False, 0, 0, _            RectActive.Right - RectActive.Left, _            RectActive.Bottom - RectActive.Top)      End Function      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      ' PrintPictureToFitPage      '    - Prints a Picture object as big as possible.      '      ' Prn      '    - Destination Printer object.      '      ' Pic      '    - Source Picture object.      '''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''      '      Public Sub PrintPictureToFitPage(Prn As Printer, Pic As Picture)         Const vbHiMetric As Integer = 8         Dim PicRatio As Double         Dim PrnWidth As Double         Dim PrnHeight As Double         Dim PrnRatio As Double         Dim PrnPicWidth As Double         Dim PrnPicHeight As Double         ' Determine if picture should be printed in landscape or portrait         ' and set the orientation.         If Pic.Height >= Pic.Width Then            Prn.Orientation = vbPRORPortrait   ' Taller than wide.         Else            Prn.Orientation = vbPRORLandscape  ' Wider than tall.         End If         ' Calculate device independent Width-to-Height ratio for picture.         PicRatio = Pic.Width / Pic.Height         ' Calculate the dimentions of the printable area in HiMetric.         PrnWidth = Prn.ScaleX(Prn.ScaleWidth, Prn.ScaleMode, vbHiMetric)         PrnHeight = Prn.ScaleY(Prn.ScaleHeight, Prn.ScaleMode, vbHiMetric)         ' Calculate device independent Width to Height ratio for printer.         PrnRatio = PrnWidth / PrnHeight         ' Scale the output to the printable area.         If PicRatio >= PrnRatio Then            ' Scale picture to fit full width of printable area.            PrnPicWidth = Prn.ScaleX(PrnWidth, vbHiMetric, Prn.ScaleMode)            PrnPicHeight = Prn.ScaleY(PrnWidth / PicRatio, vbHiMetric, _               Prn.ScaleMode)         Else            ' Scale picture to fit full height of printable area.            PrnPicHeight = Prn.ScaleY(PrnHeight, vbHiMetric, Prn.ScaleMode)            PrnPicWidth = Prn.ScaleX(PrnHeight * PicRatio, vbHiMetric, _               Prn.ScaleMode)         End If         ' Print the picture using the PaintPicture method.         Prn.PaintPicture Pic, 0, 0, PrnPicWidth, PrnPicHeight      End Sub      '--------------------------------------------------------------------					
  7. Save the project.
  8. Before running this project verify in Project References that a Reference to OLE Automation exists (StdOle2.tlb).
  9. Run the project and test. You should be able to capture the form, the form's client area, the screen, and the active window. You will also be able to print any of these.
NOTE: Once you have captured the image you want in a Picture object, you can easily place it on the clipboard using the SetData method of theClipboard object.
REFERENCES
For additional information, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
230502 How To Print a Form That is Too Large for the Screen or Page
178076 How To Use a PictureBox to Control Orientation Printing a Form
194580 How To Print a Composite Image From a RichTextBox
146022 How To Set Up the RichTextBox Control for WYSIWYG Printing
Properties

Article ID: 161299 - Last Review: 07/15/2004 20:33:32 - Revision: 3.3

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