Truncating Long File Names and Displaying an Ellipses

I've seen a few articles that illustrate different techniques used in order to display an ellipses in the path. However, a simpler approach might be to use the new Shell path function: PathCompactPath.

BOOL PathCompactPath(
 HDC    hDC,
 LPTSTR lpszPath,
 UINT   dx
This function truncates a file path to fit within a given pixel width by replacing path components with ellipses.
  • Returns TRUE if successful, or FALSE otherwise.
Handle to the device context used for font metrics.
Address of the string to be modified.
Width, in pixels, that the string will be forced to fit within.

This function uses the font currently selected in hDC to calculate the width of the text. This function will not compact the path beyond the base file name preceded by ellipses.


#include <windows.h>
#include <iostream.h>
#include "Shlwapi.h"
HDC hdc;  /* display DC handle for current font metrics */ 

void main( void )

 // String path name 1.
 char buffer_1[] = "C:\\path1\\path2\\sample.txt";
 char *lpStr1;
 lpStr1 = buffer_1;
 // String path name 2.
 char buffer_2[] = "C:\\path1\\path2\\sample.txt";
 char *lpStr2;
 lpStr2 = buffer_2;
 // String path name 3.
 char buffer_3[] = "C:\\path1\\path2\\sample.txt";
 char *lpStr3;
 lpStr3 = buffer_3;

 // String path name 4.
 char buffer_4[] = "C:\\path1\\path2\\sample.txt";
 char *lpStr4;
 lpStr4 = buffer_4;
 // Variable to get the return from "PathCompactPath".
 int retval;	
 cout << "The un-truncated path is                " << lpStr1 << endl;

 retval = PathCompactPath(hdc,lpStr1,125);
 cout << "The truncated path at 125 pixels is :   " << lpStr1 << endl;

 retval = PathCompactPath(hdc,lpStr2,120);
 cout << "The truncated path at 120 pixels is :   " << lpStr2 << endl;

 retval = PathCompactPath(hdc,lpStr3,110);
 cout << "The truncated path at 110 pixels is :   " << lpStr3 << endl;

 retval = PathCompactPath(hdc,lpStr4,25);
 cout << "The truncated path at  25 pixels is :   " << lpStr4 << endl;

Output of Example

The un-truncated path is C:\path1\path2\sample.txt
The truncated path at 125 pixels is : C:\path1\...\sample.txt
The truncated path at 120 pixels is : C:\pat...\sample.txt
The truncated path at 110 pixels is : C:\p...\sample.txt
The truncated path at 25 pixels is : ...\sample.txt


  • long path tool

    Posted by derikogay on 01/28/2014 05:47am

    Well, you can use Long Path Tool for such problems,it works good I will say.

  • Same can be done without shlwapi.dll

    Posted by Legacy on 03/14/2000 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Peter Ritchie

    Both DrawText and DrawTextEx support the DT_PATH_ELLIPSIS flag that allows truncation of a path to fit a specific width (or rectangle) in much the same was a described in this article.

  • am i missing something here ?

    Posted by Legacy on 08/02/1999 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Gunnar Bolle

    or isn't that just the help article for PathCompactPath from the MSDN Library ?
    IMO submitting KB or help articles from MSDN library isn't very helpfull - especially if you forget to mention that this function only works with ie 4 installed. (95/NT)

Leave a Comment
  • Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

Top White Papers and Webcasts

  • As the mobile enterprise marketplace expands and customer needs grow more diverse, Samsung recognizes that solution partners and developers play an essential role by continually innovating to meet their customers' needs. Samsung works to provide these developers and partners with the latest tools and resources needed to create these solutions. Read this program guide to learn how the Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program provides partners and developers with Samsung enterprise software development kits (SDKs) …

  • U.S. companies are desperately trying to recruit and hire skilled software engineers and developers, but there's simply not enough quality talent to go around. In response, companies often resort to inferior solutions -- hiring substandard developers and engineers, recruiting talent on a part-time or temporary basis, poaching people from competitors, or burdening an already stressed IT staff for more of their labor. Fortunately, there's a better solution. Read this white paper to learn the business value of …

Most Popular Programming Stories

More for Developers

RSS Feeds

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date