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SetParent and getting focus.

c0ldfyr3 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-20

I've been trying to use SetParent to add new frames to one of my forms. From an aesthetic point of view it works fine, the frame containing a checkbox and a textbox are moved to the new parent. The problem is I cannot click on either the checkbox or the textbox without first clicking on another control on the new parent. A hack I have implemented right now is to use PostMessage WM_LBUTTONDOWN and UP on 0,0 of a control and it's working but if I use tab at all it stops taking focus again.

Has anybody any ideas as to how to avoid this behaviour? I tried http://support.microsoft.com/kb/289498 but if I SetWindowLong on the frame it turns into a block of grey and has the same problem, if I do it on the textbox and checkbox they dissappear.

Thanks in advance,
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Although my sample project possibly has not the same context as your project:
It contains form1 and form2.
Form1 is the start form and contains a frame1 containing a checkbox1, textbox1 and command1.
There is command2 on form1, when clicked it sets the parent of frame1 from form1 to form2.
As you described you have to click twice on form2 before e. g. the texbox gets the focus.

In my example the problem is that after setting the new parent form1 has still focus.
By the 1. click form2 gets focus. By the 2nd click the controls get the focus.
If you click first on the title bar of form2 then you can set the focus on all controls of form2
without clicking twice.

If there is a problem with setting focus on form2 with the simple form2.SetFocus try the
already included ForceToForeground procedure.

Tell me if i'm on the right track!


It have read KB289498 and realize i think i'm realizing your problem.
In my project (after SetParent ):

If Text1 gets the focus, form1 won't ever get the focus back!
The only way is to use the tab key to do that.

The problem after SetParent is:
1. If you click back on form1 windows "thinks" that you havent left form1 and that form1 doesn't need focussing.
2. The Tab order remains in the state before SetParent. Form1 will only get the focus if a control whose parent is form1 gets the focus.
Obviously SetParent isn't sufficient:

I have modified the code before:

I have implemented subclassing, which is necessary to get an event, when form1 has to get back
the focus. The call Form1.cmdFocus.SetFocus is used to set back the focus to form1.
You should move cmdFocus out of the visible area of form1.
Top Expert 2008


Ah I forgot one vital piece of information which actually makes this error occur. They are MDIChild windows, the problem I'm having only happens with an MDI interface! Attached is an example.

Need for  "hacking" is required because windows isn't designed for that purpose.

Look at this sample. The only problem is that we had to subclass every control
which is moved by SetParent and which can get the focus (and not only frame1 as in the sample).

Because windows will allways show the mdichild-window of a focused control in the foreground,
the only way is to minimize that mdi-child-window while the "moved" controls have focus and restore
the mdi-child-window after a no moved control has the focus.

In my sample i tried to avoid the multiple subclassing by suclassing the container of the moved
controls (here frame1).

The side effect of this approach is that the same control will activated each time when you click on frame1.

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Top Expert 2008


At the moment I have a workaround which isn't very pretty. I have a treeview control on the NewParent frame which when clicked seems to stop this problem. It doesn't work if it's a textbox or other regular control for some reason, so what I'm doing is SendMessage WM_LBUTTONDOWN on load and it's working. There must be some clue here...

Look at this much simpler approach:

Instead of having MDIChilds i have done the below for each MDI-Child-Form
which has the same effect:

Private Sub Form_Load()
    Call SetParent(Me.hWnd, MDIForm1.hWnd)
End Sub

Then the focus-problem seemd to be solved.
The side effect is that if you click on form1 immediately form2 will be activated,
because a "moved" control will get focus.
Top Expert 2008


The reason I started this thread was because we running out of controls on a form in a project I'm working on. If it involves subclassing to get them on there I'm not goin to proceed any further. What I've ended up doing is Controls.Add coupled with WithEvents and it's working ok. The only drawback is the placement and setup of the controls but ah well, thanks for your help anyway.
Top Expert 2008



Yeah we have that behaviour already with another control set, we SetParent on the form instead of the frame but the new parent losing focus isn't a very desirable side effect =P

Look at this approch with ONE subclassing needed (no side effects):


P.S.: To improve TAB-Behaviour the below is needed
cmdFocus.move -16000, -16000
cmdFocus.TabStop = False
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