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(
LPTSTR lpszPath,

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:path1path2sample.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

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