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CFileFinder - Extend the functionality of CFileFind MFC class

, 15 Aug 2002
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Search for files by name, size, date, text contents. The search can be performed in a single folder or including it's subfolders.

Sample Image - image.gif


CFileFinder uses CFileFind to perform a file search starting from a directory and including optionally it's subdirectories in the search.

  • A list of file paths is mantained internally.
  • If we make use of the callback mechanism, new found file paths can be obtained immediatly.
  • The class allows not only searches based on a file mask but also on the file size, file dates, text contents and file attributes.

Class methods


int FindFiles(LPCTSTR szBaseFolder, LPCTSTR szFileMask, BOOL bSubFolders = FALSE)

Search for files which match the mask szFileMask. This file mask can include one or more wildcard characters (* and ?)


int Find(CFileFinder::CFindOpts &opts)

Find files matching the conditions established in the CFindOpts class parameter (See explanation of CFindOpts below)


BOOL FindTextInFile(LPCTSTR szFile, LPCTSTR szText)

Return TRUE if the text szText was found in the file szFile. It's internally used by the Find method. It's declared public to allow applications make use of this functionality.


int GetFileCount()

Return the count of items found up to the moment the call is performed or the total of files found in the last Find or FindFiles operation.


CPath GetFilePath(int nIndex)

Return a CPath object with the required file index path. In the CPath class there are two useful operators defined: operator LPCTSTR () and operator = (LPCTSTR szPath) which allows, for instance, direct assign from and to a CString object.

// ...

CString str1("c:\\temp\\list.txt"), str2;
CPath path;

path = str1;
str2 = path;

// at this point, str2 contains the 
// string "c:\temp\list.txt"

For more information about the CPath class see the related article.


int FindPathItem(LPCTSTR szPath)

Return the index of the file whose path matches szPath or -1 if the file is not in the list.


void RemoveAt(int nIndex)

Remove item at nIndex position.


void RemoveAll()

Remove all items from the list.


void SetCallback(FILEFINDERPROC pFileFinderProc, void *pCustomParam)

Set the callback function pointer used by the search process from the Find method. The callback function is defined in the following way:

void FileFinderProc(CFileFinder *pFinder, 
        DWORD   dwCode, void    *pCustomParam);
  • pFinder .- The calling CFileFinder object
  • dwCode .- The calling reason:
    • FF_FOUND - A new file was found
    • FF_DISCARDED - A file matched the file mask but not all the conditions
    • FF_FOLDER - The search in a new folder started
    • FF_FINDTEXT - Searching for text in a file. This gives our applications the chance to process messages while searching text on big files.
  • pCustomParam .- The same pointer passed to the function SetCallback.

The name of the new found file, when the dwCode parameter is FF_FOUND, can be obtained with a call like this:

pFinder->GetFilePath(pFinder->GetFileCount() - 1);


void StopSearch()

If this method is called from within the FileFinderProc callback function, the find process is stopped but the list of files is not deleted.


LPCTSTR GetSearchingFolder()

Calling this method from FileFinderProc when the dwCode parameter is FF_FOLDER, the name of the folder being searched is retrieved.

The CFindOpts class

This class help us configuring the search to be carried out. Its methods are simple helpers to set the class members easily for the most common searches.

Class members explained

  • dwOptionsFlags - This flags indicate the constrains to be taken into account apart from the file mask
    • FIND_SIZE - If the size of a file that matches the file mask is not in the range [nMinSize, nMaxSize], the file is discarded.
    • FIND_DATEMODIFIED - The last modified file date must be in the range [tMinModified, tMaxModified]
    • FIND_DATECREATED - The creation file date must be in the range [tMinCreated, tMaxCreated]
    • FIND_DATEACCESSED - The last accessed file date must be in the range [tMinAccessed, tMaxAccessed]
    • FIND_ATTRIBUTES - The attributes of the file found must match the dwFileAttributes member (this member can take the same values as the one with the same name in WIN32_FIND_DATA struct)
    • FIND_TEXT - The file has to contain the text specified in sFindText
  • sBaseFolder - The search root folder
  • sFileMask - The file mask (e.g.: "*.txt", "fi?e.*")
  • sFindText - Text that must be found in a file to consider it a match. Note that the flag FIND_TEXT must be added to dwOptionsFlags. If sFindText is empty the text search is not performed even if the FIND_TEXT is set
  • bSubfolders - A boolean indicating whether the search must include subdirectories or not
  • nMinSize / nMinSize - The file size range when the FIND_SIZE flag is set
  • tMinCreated / tMaxCreated - The file creation date range when the FIND_DATECREATED flag is set
  • tMinModified / tMaxModified - The file last modified range when the FIND_DATEMODIFIED flag is set
  • tMinAccessed / tMaxAccessed - The file last accessed range when the FIND_DATEACCESSED flag is set
  • dwFileAttributes - The file attributes when the FIND_ATTRIBUTES is set

Class methods

void Reset()

  • empty sBaseFolder
  • set sFileMask to "*.*"
  • set bSubFolders to FALSE
  • set nMinSize, nMaxSize to 0
  • reset dwFileAttributes and dwOptionsFlags flags
  • set all date members to the current date and time

void FindNormalFiles()

  • add normal files (FILE_ATTRIBUTE_ARCHIVE) to the search
  • add FIND_ATTRIBUTES to dwOptionsFlags

void FindAllFiles()

  • add all files attributes to the search, even hidden files, system files.
  • add FIND_ATTRIBUTES to dwOptionsFlags

void FindDirectories()

  • add directories to the search (directories have an own attribute: FILE_ATTRIBUTE_DIRECTORY)
  • add FIND_ATTRIBUTES to dwOptionsFlags

void FindText(LPCTSTR szText)

  • set sFindText to szText
  • add FIND_TEXT to dwOptionsFlags


The CPath class requires linking with the library shlwapi.lib

Sample code can be found in the source of the sample application provided with this article


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Samuel Gonzalo
Software Developer (Senior)
Spain Spain
I studied Telecommunication with spezialization in Sound & Image. I was always very interested in programming at university as well and that is how I earn a living.

Since some years ago, I am also succesfully involved in software architecture and design.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionGot CInvalidArgException error while finding text. Pin
Member 1075462517-May-14 0:15
memberMember 1075462517-May-14 0:15 
QuestionHere is a BUG with compiling... Pin
cyfage12-Aug-12 15:15
membercyfage12-Aug-12 15:15 
AnswerRe: Here is a BUG with compiling... Pin
Samuel Gonzalo26-Aug-12 0:35
memberSamuel Gonzalo26-Aug-12 0:35 
AnswerRe: Here is a BUG with compiling... Pin
Samuel Gonzalo26-Aug-12 0:42
memberSamuel Gonzalo26-Aug-12 0:42 
GeneralUnicode support Pin
malfaro23-Aug-10 11:38
membermalfaro23-Aug-10 11:38 
GeneralFileFinder and Path code for VS2008 Pin
AntoineBab2-Jan-10 23:34
memberAntoineBab2-Jan-10 23:34 
Hello, I found Samuel's classes very very usefull, but I'm in trouble with compiling FileFinder and Path files in Visual Studio 2008 with Unicode and non-unicode strings. Can someone give me the modified code of theses files and the compile options to forward in my project.
Thanks, excuses for my english, I'm a french MFC (beginner) programmer.
Thank's again a lot.
GeneralRe: FileFinder and Path code for VS2008 Pin
lows22-Jan-10 3:47
memberlows22-Jan-10 3:47 
Questionhow to search office word 2003 Pin
JackJianShen2-Sep-09 23:09
memberJackJianShen2-Sep-09 23:09 
GeneralQuestion to the function "CPath CFileFinder::GetFilePath(int nIndex)" Pin
Golden Lee2-Apr-09 17:28
memberGolden Lee2-Apr-09 17:28 
GeneralRe: Question to the function "CPath CFileFinder::GetFilePath(int nIndex)" Pin
Samuel Gonzalo15-Jul-09 21:27
memberSamuel Gonzalo15-Jul-09 21:27 
GeneralCompiling with VS2008 Pin
RedFraggle25-Feb-09 13:32
memberRedFraggle25-Feb-09 13:32 
GeneralChanging the access date Pin
anitaj7-Jul-08 21:24
memberanitaj7-Jul-08 21:24 
GeneralTHNX Pin
CTAPYLLIKA20-Mar-08 21:55
memberCTAPYLLIKA20-Mar-08 21:55 
QuestionInheritance ? Pin
./w10-Oct-07 14:21
member./w10-Oct-07 14:21 
AnswerRe: Inheritance ? Pin
Samuel Gonzalo19-Nov-07 12:04
memberSamuel Gonzalo19-Nov-07 12:04 
GeneralMAX_PATH Pin
superagenteg3-Oct-07 1:57
membersuperagenteg3-Oct-07 1:57 
GeneralRe: MAX_PATH Pin
Samuel Gonzalo19-Nov-07 12:28
memberSamuel Gonzalo19-Nov-07 12:28 
GeneralWarnings are appeared when I try to Rebuild the solution [modified] Pin
Nenad B23-Mar-07 5:18
memberNenad B23-Mar-07 5:18 
Questionhow to search through Zip folders Pin
maddy_sv30-Nov-06 4:48
membermaddy_sv30-Nov-06 4:48 
Generalsome extensions Pin
aldo hexosa5-Nov-06 16:31
memberaldo hexosa5-Nov-06 16:31 
GeneralCorrection for file matching logic Pin
Steve Mayfield11-Sep-06 13:41
memberSteve Mayfield11-Sep-06 13:41 
GeneralVC 7.1 compilation problems [modified] Pin
Yenidai_23-Jun-06 1:18
memberYenidai_23-Jun-06 1:18 
General_finder.SetCallback(FileFinderProc, this); ERROR [modified] Pin
locoone11-Jun-06 13:28
memberlocoone11-Jun-06 13:28 
Generalplease use static Callback Function! Pin
swqswqswqswq17-Jun-06 21:42
memberswqswqswqswq17-Jun-06 21:42 
QuestionDoes not work over the network? Pin
Kyp8311-Jul-05 8:23
memberKyp8311-Jul-05 8:23 

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