Click here to Skip to main content
15,171,851 members
Articles / Web Development / HTML
Posted 10 Jul 2014


18 bookmarked


Rate me:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
5.00/5 (10 votes)
10 Jul 2014CPOL2 min read
A small guide to use VTK in MFC

Sample Image - maximum width is 600 pixels


Recently, I was required to work with VTK, an interesting (and powerful) library for visualization. I have found a lack of documentation regarding using VTK in MFC, so, I decided to write a small guide for those who want to use VTK in MFC.


In my case, I have used Visual Studio 2008 and VTK 6.1. I have tried to compile VTK 6.1 with VC6, but it didn't work :).

Also, you can find here an reference about how to configure and build VTK library:

Necessary Steps

Step 1

First of all, you just need to download the source of library and data. And put them somewhere on your HDD. For example, let's chose C: partition. So, we have two folders: C:\VTK\VTK-6.1.0 and C:\VTK\VTKData-6.1.0.

Step 2

You need to download CMake from here. Unzip the file, and start cmake-gui.exe. You will have something like:

Image 2

On the code source edit box, type C:/VTK/VTK-6.1.0 and on binaries edit box, type C:/VTK/bin ... there, the CMake will create a bin folder inside of C:\VTK\. Push Configure button. The CMake will popup the following window:

Image 3

Just push Finish button, and wait ... when the CMake is finished the job, it will give you a message Configuring done and in the output list some red lines ...

Image 4

Step 3

Inside of C:\VTK\bin folder, you must have CMakeCache.txt file. Open it and edit the following lines:

//Build VTK examples.


//Build VTK examples.


//Request building vtkGUISupportMFC


//Request building vtkGUISupportMFC

Save the file, and go back to cmake-gui.exe.

Step 4

No press again Configure button. You will get the same message: Configuring done. And after that, press Generate button in order to generate solution file by Visual Studio 2008 compiler.

Step 5

Open VTK.sln solution file from C:\VTK\Bin\ installed folder. And compile and build ALL_BUILD project ... this task will take a long time ... And after building has ended, build Install project, in order to install VTK in C:\Program Files\ folder. Now you are ready to go! In order to use VTK inside of MFC project, you just need to include VTK headers and VTK library files, just like in TestBMP testing project attached. The headers are in C++->Additional Include Directories, and library files are in Linker->Input->Additional Dependencies. One more thing, in stdafx.h file, you will have to add:

#define vtkRenderingCore_AUTOINIT 4
#define vtkRenderingVolume_AUTOINIT 1(vtkRenderingVolumeOpenGL)

Using the Code

Let's consider that we have to read bitmap files. For that, we have to include inside of CDocument header:

#include "vtkBMPReader.h"

class CTestBMPDoc : public CDocument
protected: // create from serialization only

// Attributes
    vtkBMPReader* m_pvtkBMPReader;

and in implementation file:

    // TODO: add one-time construction code here

    m_pvtkBMPReader = NULL;

void CTestBMPDoc::OnCloseDocument()
    // TODO: Add your specialized code here and/or call the base class

    if(NULL != m_pvtkBMPReader)


BOOL CTestBMPDoc::OnOpenDocument(LPCTSTR lpszPathName)
    if (! CDocument::OnOpenDocument(lpszPathName))
        return FALSE;

    // TODO:  Add your specialized creation code here

    m_pvtkBMPReader = vtkBMPReader::New();
    return TRUE;

and to render bitmap files inside of CView class, we have to use some VTK objects: vtkMFCWindow, vtkRenderer, vtkImageActor. An example of using these objects in CView:

#include "vtkMFCWindow.h"
#include "vtkRenderer.h"
#include "vtkImageActor.h"

class CTestBMPView : public CView
protected: // create from serialization only

// Attributes
    CTestBMPDoc* GetDocument() const;

// Operations

    vtkMFCWindow* m_pvtkMFCWindow;
    vtkRenderer* m_pvtkRenderer;
    vtkImageActor* m_pvtkImageActor;

and in implementation CView file:

    // TODO: add construction code here

    m_pvtkMFCWindow = NULL;
    m_pvtkRenderer = vtkRenderer::New();
    m_pvtkImageActor = vtkImageActor::New();

    if(NULL != m_pvtkMFCWindow)
        delete m_pvtkMFCWindow;
void CTestBMPView::OnDestroy()
    if(NULL != m_pvtkRenderer)
    if(NULL != m_pvtkImageActor)


    // TODO: Add your message handler code here

BOOL CTestBMPView::OnEraseBkgnd(CDC* pDC)
    // TODO: Add your message handler code here and/or call default

    return TRUE;
//    return CView::OnEraseBkgnd(pDC);

void CTestBMPView::OnSize(UINT nType, int cx, int cy)
    CView::OnSize(nType, cx, cy);

    // TODO: Add your message handler code here

    if(NULL != m_pvtkMFCWindow)
        m_pvtkMFCWindow->MoveWindow(0, 0, cx, cy);

void CTestBMPView::OnInitialUpdate()

    // TODO: Add your specialized code here and/or call the base class

    m_pvtkMFCWindow = new vtkMFCWindow(this);
    m_pvtkRenderer->SetBackground(0.0, 0.0, 0.5);
    if(NULL != GetDocument()->m_pvtkBMPReader)
        //setup renderer

You will find more details inside the sample project. Enjoy it!


30 Jan 2015 - I updated the code archive, I added Release folder to the archive.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Romania Romania
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionSDI can't display, though lots of try Pin
zeng_liwen19-Jan-19 9:45
Memberzeng_liwen19-Jan-19 9:45 
AnswerRe: SDI can't display, though lots of try Pin
_Flaviu4-Aug-20 21:36
Member_Flaviu4-Aug-20 21:36 
QuestionVTK from mfc Pin
aroman19-Jul-18 5:00
Memberaroman19-Jul-18 5:00 
I have a couple of projects on GitHub, described on my blog, which use VTK from mfc:
Solving Poisson Equation – Computational Physics[^]
DFT for a Quantum Dot – Computational Physics[^]

I also have a couple that use VTK 2D charts with wxWidgets, but they are not described on the blog yet.

Maybe they can help others...
Adrian Roman

AnswerRe: VTK from mfc Pin
Southmountain3-Jul-21 11:29
MemberSouthmountain3-Jul-21 11:29 
QuestionDo you have a permission problem? Pin
bosua28-Jun-18 19:13
Memberbosua28-Jun-18 19:13 
QuestionDo you have the SDI version Pin
zeng_liwen21-Oct-17 3:26
Memberzeng_liwen21-Oct-17 3:26 
AnswerRe: Do you have the SDI version Pin
_Flaviu23-Oct-17 5:37
Member_Flaviu23-Oct-17 5:37 
GeneralRe: Do you have the SDI version Pin
zeng_liwen20-Mar-18 17:42
Memberzeng_liwen20-Mar-18 17:42 
Questionunresolved external symbol vtkMFCWindow::AssertValid and dump Pin
zeng_liwen8-Aug-17 0:37
Memberzeng_liwen8-Aug-17 0:37 
AnswerRe: unresolved external symbol vtkMFCWindow::AssertValid and dump Pin
_Flaviu9-Aug-17 22:09
Member_Flaviu9-Aug-17 22:09 
QuestionCannot build INSTALL of VTK when adding MFC Pin
Member 131050954-Apr-17 3:25
MemberMember 131050954-Apr-17 3:25 
AnswerRe: Cannot build INSTALL of VTK when adding MFC Pin
_Flaviu4-Apr-17 21:33
Member_Flaviu4-Apr-17 21:33 
GeneralRe: Cannot build INSTALL of VTK when adding MFC Pin
Member 131050955-Apr-17 2:02
MemberMember 131050955-Apr-17 2:02 
AnswerRe: Cannot build INSTALL of VTK when adding MFC Pin
_Flaviu10-Apr-17 21:32
Member_Flaviu10-Apr-17 21:32 
AnswerRe: Cannot build INSTALL of VTK when adding MFC Pin
_Flaviu10-Apr-17 21:36
Member_Flaviu10-Apr-17 21:36 
GeneralRe: Cannot build INSTALL of VTK when adding MFC Pin
Member 1310509524-Apr-17 0:15
MemberMember 1310509524-Apr-17 0:15 
Questionget several errors Pin
Member 1071490628-Dec-16 3:27
MemberMember 1071490628-Dec-16 3:27 
AnswerRe: get several errors Pin
_Flaviu28-Dec-16 9:02
Member_Flaviu28-Dec-16 9:02 
GeneralRe: get several errors Pin
Member 1071490628-Dec-16 17:25
MemberMember 1071490628-Dec-16 17:25 
Questionabout header file Pin
xuyunhai30-Oct-14 0:54
Memberxuyunhai30-Oct-14 0:54 
AnswerRe: about header file Pin
_Flaviu30-Oct-14 1:23
Member_Flaviu30-Oct-14 1:23 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Praise Praise    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.