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GLUI is a GLUT-based C++ user interface library which provides controls such as buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, and spinners to OpenGL applications. It is window-system independent, using GLUT or FreeGLUT.



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Welcome to the GLUI User Interface Library

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This distribution contains the latest community-maintained fork of the GLUI Library, now under the ZLIB license.

It is based on the GLUI v2.1 beta version from Paul Rademacher plus changes made in GLUI v2.2 onwards.

The (original) manual is available: glui_manual.pdf.

The (original) GLUI web page is at


Version 2.37, October 15, 2015

Version 2.36, November 4, 2007

  • GLUI 2.36 Downloads
  • License changed to the more permissive ZLIB license with the blessing of Paul Rademacher, Nigel Stewart, Bill Baxter, John Kew, Orion Sky Lawlor and all other developers.

Version 2.35, July 7, 2006

  • GLUI 2.35 Downloads
  • Applied patch [950354] "Good Idle For Spinners" written by Alain Durat. This makes it so GLUI doesn't suck up 100% of your CPU time when nothing is happening.

Many changes submitted by Orion Sky Lawlor.

  • Comments: I've added doxygen comments to all of glui.h. Use "make docs" to generate Doxygen in doc/html/index.html.
  • Bug fix: rollout actually resizes properly when opened (bin/example5 demonstrated this bug).
  • Bug fix: scroll bars have a (saner) time-based speed limit. This is visible in scrolling around in bin/example6.
  • Appearance: double-buffering can be turned on globally, eliminating flicker when, e.g., resizing bin/example5 window. This is on by default; turn double-buffering off in GLUI::init or set glui->buffer_mode to GLUI::buffer_front.
  • Appearance: the texture used in the GLUI_Rotation control sphere is now mipmapped, which is much smoother than nearest-neighbor. It's also a stored (glGenTextures) texture, which is much much faster.
  • Optimization: I moved GLUI_Node::add_child_to_control to a more linker-friendly location. Now non-deprecated executables are up to 100KB smaller on disk.
  • Optimization: glui_img's are now 1 byte per pixel instead of 3 ints per pixel. This saves 50KB+ space on disk in the library and each executable.

Version 2.3, March 22, 2005

  • WARNING: Introduces some incompatible changes with previous versions!!

  • GLUI_String is now a std::string This is the main source of most incompatibilities, but I felt it was a necessary change, because the previous usage of a fixed-sized buffer was just too unsafe. I myself was bitten a few times passing a char* buffer of insufficient size into GLUI as a live variable. It is still possible to use a char buffer, but it is not recommended.

    If you used GLUI_String before as a live var type, the easiest way to get your code compiling again is to change those to "char buf[300]". The better way, though, is to update your code to treat it as a std::string.

    For instance, if you used to pass mystr to functions that take 'const char*', now use mystr.c_str() method, instead. If you used strcpy(mystr, b) to set the value, now just do mystr=b. If you used sprintf(mystr,...) to set the value, now do glui_format_string(mystr,...). If you used to clear the string with mystr[0]='\0', now just clear it with mystr="".

  • Enhanced GLUI_EditText Control keys can be used for navigation and control. The bindings are bash-like: Ctrl-B for previous char, Ctrl-F for forward char, etc. bindings. Also control keys that aren't bound to commands are simply ignored, whereas before they would be inserted as invisible characters.

  • Added GLUI_CommandLine class This is a GLUI_EditText with a history mechanism.

  • New, more object oriented construction API. Now instead of calling

    glui->add_button_to_panel( panel, "my button", myid, mycallback );

    you should just call the button constructor:

    new GLUI_Button( panel, "my button", myid, mycallback );

    And similarly to add it to a GLUI instead of a panel, rather than:

    glui->add_button( glui, "my button", myid, mycallback );

    just call the constructor with the GLUI as the first argument:

    new GLUI_Button( glui, "my button", myid, mycallback );

    The old scheme is now deprecated, but still works. The benefit of this new scheme is that now the GLUI class doesn't have to know about all the different types of GLUI_Controls that exist. Previously GLUI had to both know about all the controls, and know how to initialize them. Now the responsibility for initialization belongs to the GLUI_Control subclasses themselves, where it belongs. Additionally it means that you can create your own GLUI_Control subclasses which will be on equal footing with the built-in controls, whereas before any user-created controls would always be "second-class citizens" since they would have to be constructed differently from the built-ins.

  • Removed need for type-declaring arguments when argment type suffices. This effects GLUI_Spinner and GLUI_EditText (and GLUI_CommandLine?).

    For example, instead of calling

    new GLUI_Spinner( glui, "myspin", GLUI_SPINNER_INT, &live_int_var );

    you can just omit the GLUI_SPINNER_INT part, because the type of the live_int_var tells the compiler which type you want.

    new GLUI_Spinner( glui, "myspin", &live_int_var );

    If you're not using a live, var, you can still use the GLUI_SPINNER_INT type argument. See glui.h for all the new constructor signatures. Note this only works with the new construction API, not with the old "add_blah_to_panel" style of API.

  • GLUI_Rotation uses your matrix live-variable now. GLUI used to ignore the matrix in your live variable. This version doesn't ignore it, so you'll need to set it to the identity matrix yourself if that's what you want it to start as. There could probably be some improvements to this API, though.

  • Improvements to 'const' usage. Most char*'s in GLUI functions used to be non-const even when the functions did not modify the string. I changed everywhere appropriate to use const char* instead.

  • Updated license info in the headers Paul's web page says that GLUI is LGPL, but that wasn't declared in the code itself. I've modified all the headers with the standard LGPL notice.

  • Updated examples for the API changes

  • Created project files for Visual Studio .NET (MSVC7.1)

That's about it. Enjoy!

If you find yourself with too much time on your hands, the things I think would be most useful for future improvements to GLUI would be:

  1. The GLUI_TextBox and GLUI_Tree definitely need some work, still.
  2. Clipboard integration under Windows/X-Win. I have some code that works on Win32 that I once integrated with GLUI, but I lost that version somewhere. I still have the Win32 clipboard code, though if anyone wants to work on integrating it. I have some X-Win clipboard code, too, but I never got it working quite right.
  3. Remove the dependency on GLUT, making the connection with window system APIs into a more plug-in/adapter modular design.
    So e.g. if you want to use GLUT, you'd link with the GLUI lib and a GLUI_GLUT lib, and call one extra GLUI_glut_init() function or something.

Definitly consider submitting a patch if you've made some nice improvements to GLUI. Hopefully being an LGPL sourceforge project will attract some new interest to the GLUI project.

Bill Baxter
baxter at cs unc edu


Thanks to John Kew of Natural Solutions Inc., there are some new widgets. These are demonstrated in example6.cpp.

The new widgets are:

  • GLUI_Scrollbar - A scrollbar slider widget
  • GLUI_TextBox - A multi-line text widget
  • GLUI_List - A static choice list
  • GLUI_FileBrowser - A simple filebrowser based on GLUI_List
  • GLUI_Tree - Hierarchical tree widget
  • GLUI_TreePanel - Manager for the tree widget

And one other change:

  • GLUI_Rollout has optional embossed border


Welcome to the GLUI User Interface Library, v2.0 beta!

This distribution contains the full GLUI sources, as well as five example programs.


The directory 'msvc' contains a Visual C++ workspace entitled 'glui.dsw'. To recompile the library and examples, open this workspace and run the menu command "Build:Batch Build:Build". The 3 executables will be in the 'bin' directory, and the library in the 'lib' directory.

To create a new Windows executable using GLUI, create a "Win32 Console Application" in VC++, add the GLUI library (in 'msvc/lib/glui32.lib'), and add the OpenGL libs:

glui32.lib glut32.lib glu32.lib opengl32.lib   (Microsoft OpenGL)

Include the file "glui.h" in any file that uses the GLUI library.


An SGI/HP makefile is found in the file 'makefile' (certain lines may need to be commented/uncommented).

To include GLUI in your own apps, add the glui library to your makefile (before the glut library 'libglut.a'), and include "glui.h" in your sources.


GLUI is a GLUT-based C++ user interface library which provides controls such as buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, and spinners to OpenGL applications. It is window-system independent, using GLUT or FreeGLUT.







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