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Tip of the Day
Language: Pascal
Expertise: Beginner
Mar 19, 1997



Building the Right Environment to Support AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning

How can I add a new menu item to the system menu application?

How can I add a new menu item to the system menu application?


For the most part, you'll never have a need for this. But it is useful for setting a form style, or some other action that is more system-oriented than application-oriented.

If you've tried to do this before but couldn't, it's because there is no way to add a menu item with standard Delphi calls. You have to trap the Windows message WM_SYSCOMMAND and evaluate the wParam message element to see if your added menu item was selected. It's not that hard, and a little digging in the API help was all I needed to do to find out how to implement this in a program.

  1. Create a new form.
  2. Override the OnMessage event by assigning a new event handler procedure for the OnMessage event.
  3. Create a constant that will be used as the ordinal identifier for your menu choice.
  4. In the FormCreate, make your menu choice with the AppendMenu API call.
Here's the code to show you how to do it:

unit sysmenu;



  SysUtils, WinTypes, WinProcs, Messages, Classes, Graphics, Controls,

  Forms, Dialogs, Menus;


  TForm1 = class(TForm)

    procedure FormCreate(Sender: TObject);


    { Private declarations }


     {This declaration is of the type TMessageEvent, which is a pointer to a

      procedure that takes two variable arguments of type TMsg and Boolean,


     procedure WinMsgHandler(var Msg : TMsg; var Handled : Boolean);



  Form1: TForm1;


  MyItem = 100; {Here's the menu identifier. It can be any WORD value}


{$R *.DFM}

procedure TForm1.FormCreate(Sender: TObject);


  {First, tell the application that its message handler is different from

the default}

  Application.OnMessage := WinMsgHandler;

  {Add a separator}

  AppendMenu(GetSystemMenu(Self.Handle, False), MF_SEPARATOR, 0, '');

  {Add your menu choice. Since the Item ID is high, using the MF_BYPOSITION

   constant will place it last on the system menu}

  AppendMenu(GetSystemMenu(Self.Handle, False), MF_BYPOSITION, MyItem, 'My

Men&u Choice');


procedure TForm1.WinMsgHandler(var Msg : TMsg; var Handled : Boolean);


  if Msg.Message=WM_SYSCOMMAND then {if the message is a system one...}

   if Msg.wParam = MyItem then

     {Put handling code here. I've opted for a ShowMessage for

demonstration purposes}

     ShowMessage('You picked my menu!');



As you can see, this is fairly straightforward. It opens up many doors to things you can do. In anticipation of some questions you might have later, The AppendMenu command can also be used with minimized apps. For instance, if you minimize your app, the icon represents the application, not your form. To make the system menu with your changes visible when in minimized form, you would use Application.Handle instead of Self.Handle to deal with the application's system menu.

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