Scrollbars part 10 – Towards a deeper understanding of the WM_NCCALCSIZE message

When your window is resized, Windows uses the WM_NCCALCSIZE message to determine where your window's client area lives inside your window rectangle.

There are two forms of the WM_NCCALCSIZE message. The simple form merely takes a window rectangle and returns a client rectangle. This is useful for resizing a window to have a desired client rectangle, taking menu wrapping into account. The AdjustWindowRectEx function cannot take menu wrapping into account because it doesn't know which menu you are using. (Notice that there is no HMENU or HWND parameter to AdjustWindowRectEx.)

SetWindowClientSize(HWND hwnd, int cx, int cy)
    HMENU hmenu = GetMenu(hwnd);
    RECT rcWindow = { 0, 0, cx, cy };

     *  First convert the client rectangle to a window rectangle the
     *  menu-wrap-agnostic way.
    AdjustWindowRectEx(&rcWindow, GetWindowStyle(hwnd), hmenu != NULL,

     *  If there is a menu, then check how much wrapping occurs
     *  when we set a window to the width specified by AdjustWindowRect
     *  and an infinite amount of height.  An infinite height allows
     *  us to see every single menu wrap.
    if (hmenu) {
        RECT rcTemp = rcWindow;
        rcTemp.bottom = 0x7FFF;     /* "Infinite" height */
        SendMessage(hwnd, WM_NCCALCSIZE, FALSE, (LPARAM)&rcTemp);

         *  Adjust our previous calculation to compensate for menu
         *  wrapping.
        rcWindow.bottom +=;

    SetWindowPos(hwnd, NULL, 0, 0, rcWindow.right - rcWindow.left,
                 rcWindow.bottom -, SWP_NOMOVE | SWP_NOZORDER);


Exercise: Explain why we used 0x7FFF to represent infinite height.

Exercise: Explain the line rcWindow.bottom +=

Comments (2)
  1. Reiko says:

    Exercise: Explain why we used 0x7FFF to represent infinite height.

    OK, I’ll take a stab… In Win 9x, coordinates are limited to 16 bits, and 7FFF is the largest quantity a signed 16-bit int can hold. So 7FFF is the largest number you can use there and have it work on all versions of Windows.

    What do I win? ^_~

  2. scott says:

    Re: “Explain the line rcWindow.bottom +=”
    Before calling sending WM_NCCALCSIZE, rcWindow contains the proposed area of the whole window (nonclient and client area). After sending WM_NCCALCSIZE, rcTemp contains the coordinates of the window’s client area. Therefore, is actually the bottom most position of the top part of the window’s non-client area. This is the area that the wrapped menu occupies and for which is being compensating for. Therefore, the bottom of the window is moved down by that amount.

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