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setlayeredwindowattributes (user32)

C# Signature:

public static extern bool SetLayeredWindowAttributes(IntPtr hwnd, uint crKey, byte bAlpha, uint dwFlags);

VB Signature:

Public Declare Auto Function SetLayeredWindowAttributes Lib "User32.Dll" _
    (ByVal hWnd As IntPtr, ByVal crKey As Integer, ByVal Alpha As Byte, ByVal dwFlags As Integer) As Boolean

User-Defined Types:

public enum LayeredWindowFlags
     LWA_ALPHA = 0x00000002,
     LWA_COLORKEY = 0x00000001,


A layered window is created by specifying WS_EX_LAYERED when creating the window with the CreateWindowEx function or by setting WS_EX_LAYERED via SetWindowLong after the window has been created.

Windows 8: The WS_EX_LAYERED style is supported for top-level windows and child windows. Previous Windows versions support WS_EX_LAYERED only for top-level windows.

Tips & Tricks:

C# Sample Code:

    public const int GWL_EXSTYLE = -20;
    public const int WS_EX_LAYERED = 0x80000;
    public const int LWA_ALPHA = 0x2;
    public const int LWA_COLORKEY = 0x1;

    //set the window style to alpha appearance
    private void button4_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
        SetWindowLong(Handle, GWL_EXSTYLE, GetWindowLong(Handle, GWL_EXSTYLE) ^ WS_EX_LAYERED);
        SetLayeredWindowAttributes(Handle, 0, 128, LWA_ALPHA);

Alternative Managed API:

If you just want to change the transparency of a Form you own, then use the Opacity property.


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