MZCrumbBar Ctrl

Winner of the competition "Best C++/MFC article of March 2010" at

Examples of how MZCrumbBar can look



I needed a breadcrumb bar like the one in Windows Vista so I could show a path and have the path to be clickable, But I also needed a crumbbar in another project, and it had nothing to do with file paths. So I build this CrumbBar controller that are generic. It can shown any string with delimiters as a crumb-bar.


  • Any string with delimiter can be shown as a crumbbar
    CrumbBar showing a none file path
  • Can go into edit mode if clicked on
    (configurable on what clicks will trun it to editable).
    Go into edit mode if clicked on
  • Send notification on what item was clicked. notifications can be sent for both Single and Double clicks on all 3 mouse buttons.
  • Support 'go back' item if not all crumb items fits in the controller
    Go into edit mode if clicked on
  • Support a left margin and item spacing.
  • Support Gradient background.
  • Can easly be custom drawn to implement your own drawing of the crumb items.
    Custom draw of crumbbar items

Create the controller

Adding MZCrumbBar to a dialog.

Custom Control Properties

  1. Add a custom controller to the layout where you want to have it.
  2. Set the ID of the properties to something like IDC_CRUMBBAR.
  3. Class name in properties must be "MZCrumbBarCtrl".
  4. Then set the style flags you want. like 0x50810001. if you do not want any border (WS_BORDER) remove 0x00800000 from the value.
  5. Then Add a MZCrumbBar variable to you dialog class
  6. To connect the custom controller in the dialog layout with the m_CrumbBar variable you need to add some code into DoDataExchange.
    void CCrumbBarDemoDlg::DoDataExchange(CDataExchange* pDX)
            DDX_Control(pDX, IDC_CRUMBBAR, m_CrumbBar);
  7. Then configure the controller how you want it in OnInitDialog().


Option on when the controller should turn into Edit Mode.
Set them as StyleEx flags in Create or with MZCrumbBar::Style(...)

#define CRU_EDITOUTSIDE   0x00000010 // Click must be outside of crumb items. 
#define CRU_EDITONCLK_L   0x00000100 // Enter Edit mode on Left Click
#define CRU_EDITONDBL_L   0x00000200 // Enter edit mode on Left DblClick 
#define CRU_EDITONCLK_R   0x00000400 // Enter Edit mode on Right Click 
#define CRU_EDITONDBL_R   0x00000800 // Enter edit mode on Right DblClick 
#define CRU_EDITONCLK_M   0x00001000 // Enter Edit mode on Middle Click 
#define CRU_EDITONDBL_M   0x00002000 // Enter edit mode on Middle DblClick 
#define CRU_LASTITEMCOLD  0x00010000 // Show no hover action for the last item.
#define CRU_LASTITEMNOCLK 0x00020000 // Do not generate click action for the last item.
#define CRU_LASTITEMNODELIMITER 0x00040000  // Do not draw a delimiter for the last item.
#define CRU_DONOTSTRIPDELIMITER 0x00080000  // Do not strip double delimiter.

Flags for configuring how the delimiter show be shown. Set the option via the DelimiterMode(...) function.

#define DM_STRIP 0 // Strip the delimiter char 
#define DM_LEFT  1 // Show Delimiter in the Left part 
#define DM_RIGHT 2 // Show Delimiter in the right part 

Set Colors and Margins

 m_CrumbBar.ColorDefault( RGB(255, 0, 0));
 m_CrumbBar.ColorHot( RGB(255, 0, 0));
 m_CrumbBar.BackgroundColor( RGB(255, 0, 0), RGB(0,0,0), true);

Using the Crumbbar

// Initilizing the CrumbBar.

// Create a PreItem and set the preitem to "..\\"
MZCrumbBar::CrumbBarItem PreItem(_T(""), _T("..\\")); 

// Rebuild/Update the CrumbBar.

// Get The Complate path.
CString path = m_crumbBar.Path();

// Get the path up to and including a specific CrumbBar item.
CString path = m_crumbBar.GetPath( pCrumbBarItem );


There are a few notification messages that are used to notify the owner window when things have happend.

#define NMCB_LBCLICK    1000 // User clicked with Left Mouse Button 
#define NMCB_RBCLICK    1001 // User clicked with Right Mouse Button 
#define NMCB_MBCLICK    1002 // User clicked with Middle Mouse Button 
#define NMCB_LBDBLCLICK 1003 // User double clicked with Left Mouse Button 
#define NMCB_RBDBLCLICK 1004 // User double clicked with Right Mouse Button 
#define NMCB_MBDBLCLICK 1005 // User double clicked with Middle Mouse Button 
#define NMCB_EDITCHANGE 1010 // User changed path by editing it

To catch the notification message you need can do this in you dialog.

 // in .h file
 afx_msg void OnCrumbBarItemClicked(NMHDR *pNotifyStruct, LRESULT* pResult) ;

 // in .cpp file
 BEGIN_MESSAGE_MAP(CCrumbBarDemoDlg, CDialog)
        ON_NOTIFY( NMCB_LBCLICK, IDC_CRUMBBAR , OnCrumbBarItemClicked) 

 void CCrumbBarDemoDlg::OnCrumbBarItemClicked(NMHDR* pNotifyStruct, LRESULT* pResult) 
        NM_CRUMBBARITEM* pnmCrumbBarItem = (NM_CRUMBBARITEM*)pNotifyStruct;

        // CrumbBar Item that was clicked

        // CrumbBar Path for clicked item

        // Mouse position when click happen.
        // use for example to show a context menu with sub folder, like Explorer in Windows Vista


Custom Draw the CrumbBar Items

Custom draw of crumbbar items
Custom draw of crumbbar items

To change the CrumbBar to a custom look you need to override a couple of functions.

  // Return the width of the crumbbar item.
  virtual int OnMeasureItem(CDC* pDC, CrumbBarItem* pItem);
  // Return width if the PreItem (item that is shown at the beginning, if not all crumbbar items can be drawn)
  virtual int OnMeasurePreItem(CDC* pDC);

  // Draw CrumbBar Item
  virtual void DrawCrumbItem(CrumbBarItem* pItem, CDC* pDC, CRect rc);
  // Draw PreItem
  virtual void DrawPreItem(CrumbBarItem* pItem, CDC* pDC, CRect rc);

Take a look at CBlockCrumbBar.h/.cpp in the source for the Demo App to see how it can be done.


For full history check the header in MZCrumbBar.cpp


  • v1.5 - 2012-05-03
    The in-place edit controller caused a crash if it lost focus before it was completely created.
    Also Added VS2010, VS2012 project files to demo
  • v1.4 - 2011-02-25
    Added CRect MZCrumbBar::GetItemRect (CrumbBarItem* pItemChosen) - Provided by Iain Clarke
  • v1.3 - 2010-11-13  
    Added flag CRU_DONOTSTRIPDELIMITER that will keep double delimiter. Double delimiter are use to tell MZCrumbarCtrl that it should not break a path when it sees a delimiter. eg "Main-Sub-Sub--Menu" -> last item is normal shown as "Sub-Menu" but with this flag it is shown as "Sub--Menu" since the double delimiter is not stripped, For example "\\Server\Share\Folder" -> first item will now be shown as "\\Server" and not as "\Server"
  • v1.2 - 2010-04-15  
    • Added improvments/fixes provided by Iain Clarke
      - 3 more BuildCrumbbar(...) function for special situations.
      - Refactored how a path is parsed.
      - Added CRU_LASTITEMNODELIMITER. If style is set the Delimiter will not be shown for last crumbbar item.
      - Style can now be set using styleEx.
      - Change Default hot color to COLOR_HOTLIGHT.
      - Added possibility to store custom data in a Crumbar item.
      - Added SetItemData/GetItemData of custom data to crumbbar items
    - Fixed so that double delimiter now works again. Double delimiter should be part of the crumbpath name and not split the path.
    - Change so that items are added to m_vCrumbItems via the virtual function AddCrumbItem(...)
    - Fixed so that empty path parts are not added to the path.
  • v1.1 - 2010-03-17 - First public version. Fixed minor draw issue.
  • v1.0 - 2009-10-17 - First public version


  • Borrowed Gradient code from CLabel by

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Copyright (c) 2015 - Mathias Svensson