Quick Info

Windows NT
Import Library
Header File
WinNT; Win95
Platform Notes
Windows 95: 16-bit coordinates only


The TextOut function writes a character string at the specified location, using the currently selected font.

BOOL TextOut(

HDC hdc,
// handle of device context
int nXStart,
// x-coordinate of starting position
int nYStart,
// y-coordinate of starting position
LPCTSTR lpString,
// address of string
int cbString
// number of characters in string



Identifies the device context.


Specifies the logical x-coordinate of the reference point that Windows uses to align the string.


Specifies the logical y-coordinate of the reference point that Windows uses to align the string.


Points to the string to be drawn. The string does not need to be zero-terminated, since cbString specifies the length of the string.


Specifies the number of characters in the string.

Return Values

If the function succeeds, the return value is nonzero.

If the function fails, the return value is zero. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


The interpretation of the reference point depends on the current text-alignment mode. An application can retrieve this mode by calling the GetTextAlign function; an application can alter this mode by calling the SetTextAlign function.

By default, the current position is not used or updated by this function. However, an application can call the SetTextAlign function with the fMode parameter set to TA_UPDATECP to permit Windows to use and update the current position each time the application calls TextOut for a specified device context. When this flag is set, Windows ignores the nXStart and nYStart parameters on subsequent TextOut calls.

When the TextOut function is placed inside a path bracket, the system generates a path for the TrueType text that includes each character plus its character box. The region generated is the character box minus the text, rather than the text itself. You can obtain the region enclosed by the outline of the TrueType text by setting the background mode to transparent before placing the TextOut function in the path bracket. Following is sample code that demonstrates this procedure.

// Obtain the window's client rectangle

GetClientRect(hwnd, &r);

// THE FIX: by setting the background mode

// to transparent, the region is the text itself

// SetBkMode(hdc, TRANSPARENT);

// Bracket begin a path


// Send some text out into the world

TextOut(hdc, r.left, r.top, "Defenestration can be hazardous", 4);

// Bracket end a path


// Derive a region from that path

SelectClipPath(hdc, RGN_AND);

// This generates the same result as SelectClipPath()

// SelectClipRgn(hdc, PathToRegion(hdc));

// Fill the region with grayness

FillRect(hdc, &r, GetStockObject(GRAY_BRUSH));

See Also

, SetTextAlign, TabbedTextOut

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