Menu items are vital part when dealing with a big functional application. Application can have large numbers of sections and categories. Menu resources makes it possible to link different sections together. User can navigate different subsections ans can access different dialogs. Menu items are static resources. they can be constructed by resource editor. Insert new menu resource and give a name of the menu. Now add sub items and add IDs.


LoadMenu() loads menu resource from executable and returns the handle to the menu.




Name of the menu resource.

Return value

Handle to a newly loaded menu (HMENU).

Menu Resource

Menu resource can be added using Insert -> Resource -> Menu in VC++ Editor. We inserted a menu resource named as IDR_MENU1 and then added this resource in project.

Add menu items, Insert -> Resource -> Menu in VC++ Editor

We added a top menu named as "File". We added additional sub menu items under this menu item. We need to add unique identities for each menu items.

Menu Demo output

LoadMenu AppendMenu Demo Application screen shot

Menu Demo code

We can load a menu resource and set it to a main window in three ways-

  • Load Menu and supply handle to CreateWindow() as an argument,
  • Load Menu and set this menu to the window using SetMenu
  • Load Menu and set this menu to the window during window creation (WM_CREATE)
Note: Our example has all three options. We do not require all three. Thus use any one while testing this demo.

#include <windows.h>
#include "resource.h"

HMENU hMainMenu;
                         UINT message, 
                         WPARAM wParam,
                         LPARAM lParam);

int APIENTRY WinMain(HINSTANCE hInstance,
                     HINSTANCE hPrevInstance,
                     LPSTR     lpCmdLine,
                     int       nCmdShow)
  MSG msg;
  HWND hWnd;
  HMENU hMenu;

  ZeroMemory(&wc, sizeof(WNDCLASS));           = CS_HREDRAW | CS_VREDRAW;
  wc.lpfnWndProc     = (WNDPROC)WndProc;
  wc.hInstance       = hInstance;
  wc.hCursor         = LoadCursor(NULL, IDC_ARROW);
  wc.hbrBackground   = (HBRUSH)(COLOR_BACKGROUND);
  wc.lpszClassName   = (LPCTSTR)"MyMenuClass";

  hWnd = CreateWindow("MyMenuClass", "LoadMenu", WS_OVERLAPPEDWINDOW,
      CW_USEDEFAULT, 0, CW_USEDEFAULT, 0, NULL, hMainMenu, hInstance, NULL);
  SetMenu(hWnd, hMainMenu);
  ShowWindow(hWnd, nCmdShow);

  while (GetMessage(&msg, NULL, 0, 0)) 
  return 0;


  switch (message) 
    case WM_CREATE:
      /* Load our dynamic menu */
      hMainMenu = LoadMenu(MAKEINTRESOURCE(IDR_MENU1));
      SetMenu(hWnd, hMainMenu);
    case WM_COMMAND:
      DefWindowProc(hWnd, message, wParam, lParam);
    case WM_DESTROY:
      /* Free menu handles */
      return DefWindowProc(hWnd, message, wParam, lParam);
   return 0;

About our authors: Team EQA

Further readings

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