Windows Printing with C++Builder using VCL and FMX

Do you need to add printer support to your C++ applications using the Visual Component Library (VCL) or FireMonkey (FMX) GUI ? In this blog post I’ll show you how to build Windows applications that support printing image bitmaps using the VCL and FMX frameworks. One of my favorite C++Builder RTL features is that both frameworks provide similar printer components and ways of programming with only a few subtle differences.

Build VCL and FMX Application Projects

Use the “File | New | Windows VCL Application – C++Builder” menu item and create a starting C++ VCL application. Save the product to a folder.

File | New | Windows VCL Application – C++Builder

Next, in the Project Window, right mouse click on the ProjectGroup node and select the “Add New Project…” menu item.

Add New Project to the Project Group

In the popup dialog choose to create a Multi-Device Application.

Add New Multi-Device Application

Click the OK button and on the next screen choose to create a “Blank Application”.

Multi-Device Project templates list – choose Blank Application

Use the File | Save All menu item (or type Shift+Ctrl+S) to save both starting projects and the project group to a folder.

Project Group with VCL and FMX Starting Projects

Each of the VCL and FMX projects have a main form (.dfm and .fmx extensions respectively). While most of the IDE will look the same, if you select each form’s unit you will see different looks for each of their form designers.

VCL Form Designer
FMX Form Designer

There are many videos, articles and help files that describe the details of each designer (check out links in the reference section below). For now, let’s dig into the VCL and FMX printer examples I’ve created.

A Simple UI for each Printer Test Project

On each of the VCL and FMX main forms you’ll see the following components.

VCL form’s components in the Structure Window
FMX form’s components in the Structure Window

Each project’s main menu contains a File and Destination menu. The Destination menu item allows the user to choose to override the printing destination (Printer or File).

The File menu provides an OpenPictureDialog (VCL) or OpenDialog (FMX), PrintPicture dialog for choosing the printer and other printing options, PrinterSetup dialog to set additional printer setup options, Panel (aligned to the top of the form)with a label and ComboBox which will list the available printer device names, and an Image component (aligned to the client area) to contain the picture bitmap.

The VCL and FMX forms look like the following.

VCL app form with components
FMX app form with components

Right mouse click on the form and choose “View as Text” from the popup menu. Now you can see all of the form and component properties and sub-properties that have been set from their default values. You can also make changes in this text form mode but be careful to not make any errors.

To switch back to the form mode click the right mouse button (or hit Alt-F12) and choose “View as Form” from the popup menu.

VCLPrintUnit.dfm (View as Text)

object MainVCLForm: TMainVCLForm
  Left = 0
  Top = 0
  Caption = 'Printer Test (C++, VCL)'
  ClientHeight = 473
  ClientWidth = 667
  Color = clBtnFace
  Font.Charset = DEFAULT_CHARSET
  Font.Color = clWindowText
  Font.Height = -11
  Font.Name = 'Tahoma'
  Font.Style = []
  Menu = MainMenu1
  OldCreateOrder = False
  OnShow = FormShow
  PixelsPerInch = 96
  TextHeight = 13
  object Image1: TImage
    Left = 0
    Top = 41
    Width = 667
    Height = 432
    Align = alClient
    Proportional = True
    ExplicitLeft = 104
    ExplicitTop = 102
    ExplicitWidth = 424
    ExplicitHeight = 317
  end
  object Panel1: TPanel
    Left = 0
    Top = 0
    Width = 667
    Height = 41
    Align = alTop
    TabOrder = 0
    object Label1: TLabel
      Left = 10
      Top = 12
      Width = 41
      Height = 13
      Caption = 'Printers:'
    end
    object PrintersComboBox: TComboBox
      Left = 57
      Top = 9
      Width = 250
      Height = 21
      TabOrder = 0
      Text = 'PrintersComboBox'
    end
  end
  object PrintDialog1: TPrintDialog
    Options = [poPrintToFile]
    Left = 176
    Top = 56
  end
  object PrinterSetupDialog1: TPrinterSetupDialog
    Left = 304
    Top = 64
  end
  object OpenPictureDialog1: TOpenPictureDialog
    DefaultExt = 'bmp'
    InitialDir = 'c:\temp'
    Left = 56
    Top = 56
  end
  object MainMenu1: TMainMenu
    Left = 424
    Top = 64
    object File1: TMenuItem
      Caption = 'File'
      object File2: TMenuItem
        Caption = 'Open Picture'
        OnClick = File2Click
      end
      object PrintPicture1: TMenuItem
        Caption = 'Print Picture'
        Enabled = False
        OnClick = PrintPicture1Click
      end
      object PrinterSetup1: TMenuItem
        Caption = 'Printer Setup'
        Enabled = False
        OnClick = PrinterSetup1Click
      end
      object PrintPicture2: TMenuItem
        Caption = 'Exit'
        OnClick = PrintPicture2Click
      end
    end
    object Destination1: TMenuItem
      Caption = 'Destination'
      object PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Caption = 'Print to Printer'
        Checked = True
        OnClick = PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItemClick
      end
      object PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Caption = 'Print to File'
        OnClick = PrintToFileDestinationMenuItemClick
      end
    end
  end
end

FMXPrintUnit.fmx (View as Text)

object MainFMXForm: TMainFMXForm
  Left = 0
  Top = 0
  Caption = 'Printer Test (C++, FMX)'
  ClientHeight = 380
  ClientWidth = 640
  Position = Designed
  WindowState = wsMaximized
  FormFactor.Width = 320
  FormFactor.Height = 480
  FormFactor.Devices = [Desktop]
  OnShow = FormShow
  DesignerMasterStyle = 0
  object Image1: TImage
    MultiResBitmap = <
      item
      end>
    Align = Client
    Size.Width = 640.000000000000000000
    Size.Height = 339.000000000000000000
    Size.PlatformDefault = False
  end
  object PrintDialog1: TPrintDialog
    Options = [poPrintToFile]
    Left = 68
    Top = 40
  end
  object PrinterSetupDialog1: TPrinterSetupDialog
    Left = 190
    Top = 42
  end
  object OpenDialog1: TOpenDialog
    DefaultExt = 'bmp'
    Filter = '*.bmp'
    InitialDir = 'c:\temp'
    Left = 312
    Top = 44
  end
  object MainMenu1: TMainMenu
    Left = 418
    Top = 46
    object FileMenu: TMenuItem
      Text = 'File'
      object OpenBitmapMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Locked = True
        Text = 'Open Bitmap'
        OnClick = OpenBitmapMenuItemClick
      end
      object PrintMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Enabled = False
        Locked = True
        Text = 'Print'
        OnClick = PrintMenuItemClick
      end
      object PrinterSetupMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Enabled = False
        Locked = True
        Text = 'Printer Setup'
        OnClick = PrinterSetupMenuItemClick
      end
      object ExitMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Locked = True
        Text = 'Exit'
        OnClick = ExitMenuItemClick
      end
    end
    object DestinationMenu: TMenuItem
      Text = 'Destination'
      object PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Locked = True
        IsChecked = True
        Text = 'Print to Printer'
        OnClick = PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItemClick
      end
      object PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem: TMenuItem
        Locked = True
        Text = 'Print to File'
        OnClick = PrintToFileDestinationMenuItemClick
      end
    end
  end
  object Panel1: TPanel
    Align = Top
    Size.Width = 640.000000000000000000
    Size.Height = 41.000000000000000000
    Size.PlatformDefault = False
    object PrintersComboBox: TComboBox
      Position.X = 72.000000000000000000
      Position.Y = 8.000000000000000000
      Size.Width = 233.000000000000000000
      Size.Height = 22.000000000000000000
      Size.PlatformDefault = False
    end
    object Label1: TLabel
      Position.X = 8.000000000000000000
      Position.Y = 9.000000000000000000
      Size.Width = 57.000000000000000000
      Size.Height = 17.000000000000000000
      Size.PlatformDefault = False
      Text = 'Printers:'
    end
  end
end

Additional comments about component properties and event handlers are included in the source code for the projects.

The Source Code

Below you will find the header files for the VCL and FMX form units. The header files will show the component declarations, event handlers and any public/private declarations.

VCLPrintUnit.h

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

#ifndef VCLPrintUnitH
#define VCLPrintUnitH
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
#include <System.Classes.hpp>
#include <Vcl.Controls.hpp>
#include <Vcl.StdCtrls.hpp>
#include <Vcl.Forms.hpp>
#include <Vcl.Dialogs.hpp>
#include <Vcl.ExtCtrls.hpp>
#include <Vcl.ExtDlgs.hpp>
#include <Vcl.Menus.hpp>
#include <Vcl.WinXCtrls.hpp>
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
class TMainVCLForm : public TForm
{
__published:	// IDE-managed Components
	TPrintDialog *PrintDialog1;
	TPrinterSetupDialog *PrinterSetupDialog1;
	TImage *Image1;
	TOpenPictureDialog *OpenPictureDialog1;
	TMainMenu *MainMenu1;
	TMenuItem *File1;
	TMenuItem *File2;
	TMenuItem *PrintPicture1;
	TMenuItem *PrintPicture2;
	TMenuItem *Destination1;
	TMenuItem *PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem;
	TMenuItem *PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem;
	TMenuItem *PrinterSetup1;
	TPanel *Panel1;
	TLabel *Label1;
	TComboBox *PrintersComboBox;
	void __fastcall File2Click(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall FormShow(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrintToFileDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrintPicture1Click(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrinterSetup1Click(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrintPicture2Click(TObject *Sender);
private:	// User declarations
    bool PictureLoaded;  // boolean for whether a picture is loaded or not
public:		// User declarations
	__fastcall TMainVCLForm(TComponent* Owner);
};
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
extern PACKAGE TMainVCLForm *MainVCLForm;
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
#endif

FMXPrintUnit.h

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

#ifndef FMXPrintUnitH
#define FMXPrintUnitH
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
#include <System.Classes.hpp>
#include <FMX.Controls.hpp>
#include <FMX.Forms.hpp>
#include <FMX.Controls.Presentation.hpp>
#include <FMX.StdCtrls.hpp>
#include <FMX.Types.hpp>
#include <FMX.Objects.hpp>
#include <FMX.Dialogs.hpp>
#include <FMX.Printer.hpp>
#include <FMX.Menus.hpp>
#include <FMX.ListBox.hpp>
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
class TMainFMXForm : public TForm
{
__published:	// IDE-managed Components
	TImage *Image1;
	TPrintDialog *PrintDialog1;
	TPrinterSetupDialog *PrinterSetupDialog1;
	TOpenDialog *OpenDialog1;
	TMainMenu *MainMenu1;
	TMenuItem *FileMenu;
	TMenuItem *OpenBitmapMenuItem;
	TMenuItem *PrintMenuItem;
	TMenuItem *PrinterSetupMenuItem;
	TMenuItem *ExitMenuItem;
	TPanel *Panel1;
	TComboBox *PrintersComboBox;
	TLabel *Label1;
	TMenuItem *DestinationMenu;
	TMenuItem *PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem;
	TMenuItem *PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem;
	void __fastcall PrintMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall OpenBitmapMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall ExitMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrinterSetupMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall FormShow(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
	void __fastcall PrintToFileDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender);
private:	// User declarations
	BOOL PictureLoaded;  // boolean for whether a picture is loaded or not
public:		// User declarations
	__fastcall TMainFMXForm(TComponent* Owner);
};
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
extern PACKAGE TMainFMXForm *MainFMXForm;
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
#endif

Below you will find the source code for the VCL and FMX form units.

VCLPrinterUnit.cpp

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

#include <vcl.h>
#include <Vcl.Imaging.GIFImg.hpp>
#include <Vcl.Imaging.jpeg.hpp>
#include <Vcl.Imaging.pngimage.hpp>
#include <Vcl.Printers.hpp>

#pragma hdrstop

#include "VCLPrintUnit.h"
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
#pragma package(smart_init)
#pragma resource "*.dfm"
TMainVCLForm *MainVCLForm;
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
__fastcall TMainVCLForm::TMainVCLForm(TComponent* Owner)
	: TForm(Owner)
{
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainVCLForm::File2Click(TObject *Sender)
{
	if (OpenPictureDialog1->Execute()) {
		Image1->Picture->LoadFromFile(OpenPictureDialog1->FileName);
		PictureLoaded = true;
		PrintPicture1->Enabled = true;
        PrinterSetup1->Enabled = true;
	}
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainVCLForm::FormShow(TObject *Sender)
{

	PictureLoaded = false;
	PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem->Checked = true;
	PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem->Checked = false;

	// get printers list and put in combobox
	PrintersComboBox->Items = Printer()->Printers;

	// make the currently selected printer the Item in the ComboBox
	PrintersComboBox->ItemIndex = 0;
	for (int i = 0; i < Printer()->Printers->Count-1; i++) {
		if (Printer()->Printers->Strings[Printer()->PrinterIndex] == PrintersComboBox->Items->Strings[i]) {
			PrintersComboBox->ItemIndex = i;
		}
	}

}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainVCLForm::PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	// set menu item checked for print to printer
	PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem->Checked = true;
	PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem->Checked = false;
	// set PrintDialog PrintToFile checkbox off
	// Note: to allow user to override the menu item - make sure
	//   PrintDialog Options poPrintToFile is set to true
	//   so that the PrintToFile checkbox appears in the dialog
	PrintDialog1->PrintToFile = false;
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainVCLForm::PrintToFileDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	// set menu item checked for print to file
	PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem->Checked = false;
	PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem->Checked = true;
	// set PrintDialog PrintToFile checkbox on
	// Note: to allow user to override the menu item - make sure
	//   PrintDialog Options poPrintToFile is set to true
	//   so that the PrintToFile checkbox appears in the dialog
	PrintDialog1->PrintToFile = true;
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainVCLForm::PrintPicture1Click(TObject *Sender)
{

	// check if a picture is loaded
	if (PictureLoaded) {
		if (PrintDialog1->Execute()) {

			// Call BeginDoc - to get the dimensions for selected printer
			Printer()->BeginDoc();

			try {
				// use StretchDraw to do full size bitmap printing
				// notes:
				//   printer settings can be made using the
				//     PrintDialog and PrinterSetupDialog
				//   you can also control page layout in code:
				//     Property is Orientation:
				//       poPortrait
				//       poLandscape
				Printer()->Canvas->StretchDraw(
					Rect(0, 0, Printer()->PageWidth,Printer()->PageHeight),
					Image1->Picture->Graphic);
			}
			__finally {
				// end the document and the printing will begin
				Printer()->EndDoc();
			}
		}
	}

}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainVCLForm::PrinterSetup1Click(TObject *Sender)
{
	// Printer Setup
    PrinterSetupDialog1->Execute();
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainVCLForm::PrintPicture2Click(TObject *Sender)
{
    Application->Terminate();
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

FMXPrinterUnit.cpp

//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

#include <fmx.h>
#include "FMX.Printer.hpp"
#include "System.SysUtils.hpp"
#pragma hdrstop

#include "FMXPrintUnit.h"
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
#pragma package(smart_init)
#pragma resource "*.fmx"
TMainFMXForm *MainFMXForm;
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
__fastcall TMainFMXForm::TMainFMXForm(TComponent* Owner)
	: TForm(Owner)
{
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------
void __fastcall TMainFMXForm::PrintMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	TRectF SrcRect, DestRect;

	if (PrintDialog1->Execute()) {
		// Set the default DPI for the printer. The SelectDPI routine defaults
		//	 to the closest available resolution as reported by the driver.
		// Printer->ActivePrinter->SelectDPI(1200, 1200);

		// Printer->ActivePrinter->ActiveDPIIndex = 1; // you can also the DPI index

		// Set canvas filling style
		// Printer->Canvas->Fill->Color = claBlack;
		// Printer->Canvas->Fill->Kind = TBrushKind(1);

		// Start printing
		Printer::Printer()->BeginDoc();

		// Set the Source and Destination TRects

		SrcRect = TRectF(0, 0, Image1->Bitmap->Width, Image1->Bitmap->Height);
		DestRect = TRectF(0, 0, Printer::Printer()->PageWidth, Printer::Printer()->PageHeight);

		// Print the picture, on all the surface of the page and all opaque.
		Printer::Printer()->Canvas->DrawBitmap(Image1->Bitmap, SrcRect, DestRect, 1);

		// Finish the printing job
		Printer::Printer()->EndDoc();
	}

}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

void __fastcall TMainFMXForm::OpenBitmapMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	// open a bitmap for printing
	if (OpenDialog1->Execute()) {
		Image1->Bitmap->LoadFromFile(OpenDialog1->FileName);
		PrintMenuItem->Enabled = true;
		PrinterSetupMenuItem->Enabled = true;
        PictureLoaded = true;
	}
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

void __fastcall TMainFMXForm::ExitMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	// exit the application
    Application->Terminate();
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

void __fastcall TMainFMXForm::PrinterSetupMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	// use the Printer Setup dialog box
	PrinterSetupDialog1->Execute();
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

void __fastcall TMainFMXForm::FormShow(TObject *Sender)
{
	// on form show event handler

	PictureLoaded = false;
	PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem->IsChecked = true;
	PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem->IsChecked = false;

	// populate the ComboBox with the printer device names
	PrintersComboBox->ItemIndex = 0;
	for (int i = 0; i < Printer::Printer()->Count-1; i++) {
		PrintersComboBox->Items->Add(Printer::Printer()->Printers[i]->Title);
		// set the ComboBox ItemIndex to the active printer
		if (Printer::Printer()->Printers[i]->Title == Printer::Printer()->ActivePrinter->Title) {
			PrintersComboBox->ItemIndex = i;
		}
	}
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

void __fastcall TMainFMXForm::PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	// set menu item checked for print to printer
	PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem->IsChecked = true;
	PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem->IsChecked = false;
	// set PrintDialog PrintToFile checkbox off
	// Note: to allow user to override the menu item - make sure
	//   PrintDialog Options poPrintToFile is set to true
	//   so that the PrintToFile checkbox appears in the dialog
	PrintDialog1->PrintToFile = false;
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

void __fastcall TMainFMXForm::PrintToFileDestinationMenuItemClick(TObject *Sender)
{
	// set menu item checked for print to file
	PrintToPrinterDestinationMenuItem->IsChecked = false;
	PrintToFileDestinationMenuItem->IsChecked = true;
	// set PrintDialog PrintToFile checkbox on
	// Note: to allow user to override the menu item - make sure
	//   PrintDialog Options poPrintToFile is set to true
	//   so that the PrintToFile checkbox appears in the dialog
	PrintDialog1->PrintToFile = true;
}
//---------------------------------------------------------------------------

The VCL and FMX applications in Action

VCL app in action
FMX app in action

References

VCL Printing

Printing in VCL Applications
Vcl.Printers

FMX Printing

Printing from a FireMonkey Application
FMX.Printer

YouTube Videos

Creating your First VCL Application for Windows with C++Builder
Creating Your First C++ Windows App
Why C++Builder?

Source Code

Source Code for VCL and FMX printing projects (zip file)

About C++Builder

C++Builder Product Page – Native Apps that Perform. Build Windows C++ Apps 10x Faster with Less Code

C++Builder Product Editions – C++Builder is available in four editions – Professional, Enterprise, Architect and Community (free). C++Builder is also available as part of the RAD Studio development suite.

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