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A File Open Dialog for the PocketPC 2002

, 26 Jan 2004 CPOL
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An implementation of a full-browsing file open dialog.

Sample screenshot


On the PocketPC, the File Open dialog is not very versatile. In fact, you are limited to a small number of directories, which may be too limiting for your own purposes. I started to think about a possible solution for this problem after reading a post in the Mobile / Embedded forum, where a reader complains about the limitations of CFileDialog.

This article describes a solution for this problem, by implementing a more advanced File Open dialog.


The dialog is implemented in the CFileOpenDlg class in the demo application. Its usage is very straightforward, as you can see from the sample below:

void CChildView::OnFileOpen() 
    CFileOpenDlg    dlg;

    if(IDOK == dlg.DoModal())
        CString    strFullPath(dlg.GetPath());

        strFullPath += dlg.GetFileName();


In order to get the full path name, you have to append the path and the file name, as reported by GetPath() and GetFileName().

File filters are set through the SetFilter method. By default, the dialog uses SetFilter("*"), so all files are displayed. Please note that this filter will only affect file browsing, not directory browsing.

Using The Class

Unfortunately, this class is not completely encapsulated because it needs some resources, namely the bitmaps for the list header and the dialog itself. When porting this code to your application, some cutting and pasting will be necessary. Apart from that, you will need the CExDialog and CExDlgEngine classes in order to be able to print a header in the dialog. This code is heavily based on prior art, which you can find in this article: How can I create a dialog title like in Control Panel property pages?

Limitations and Future Improvements

There are a number of limitations that will be addressed in future updates:

  • On-demand loading of the directory tree. The loading is now made in just one step and, if you have a complex directory tree, this will show in a slower operation. By loading the tree in an on-demand fashion, both start-up time and memory consumption will be greatly reduced.
  • File sorting. There is no provision for sorting files in this dialog.

Release History

26 January 2004

Third release in CodeProject with the following updates:

  • Folder tree is loaded on demand.
  • Folders use the system image list icons.
  • File list now supports sorting (ascending and descending) on any column.
  • The sorted column displays a light grey background and the header shows an arrow reflecting the sort direction.

15 May 2003

Removed references to spurious #includes and symbols.

14 May 2003

Second release in CodeProject with the following updates:

  • The device name is reported in the tree view.
  • The file list now supports file icons.
  • The OK and Cancel buttons were replaced by toolbar buttons (the cancel button is not very nice, but hey - I'm not a graphics designer)
  • Views can be switched between split view, tree view and list view.
  • You can move the split between tree and list by clicking and dragging.

27 Mar 2003

First release in CodeProject.

Thank You

Amit Dey provided the code and idea for using the system image list. Also, he provided guidance when I completely goofed the first time I tried it.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

João Paulo Figueira
Software Developer (Senior) Frotcom International
Portugal Portugal
I work on R&D for Frotcom International, a company that develops web-based fleet management solutions.

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Comments and Discussions

Questionhow to run .ppt file on smartdevice application Pin
Member 412018925-Sep-08 0:38
memberMember 412018925-Sep-08 0:38 
GeneralMak it work across a LAN Pin
jima2z6-Jan-07 4:22
memberjima2z6-Jan-07 4:22 
Generalshell open command Pin
M i s t e r L i s t e r17-Oct-06 18:02
memberM i s t e r L i s t e r17-Oct-06 18:02 
GeneralCode ported to PPC2003 and WM5 under VS2005 [modified] Pin
Vincent_RICHOMME10-Aug-06 7:38
memberVincent_RICHOMME10-Aug-06 7:38 
GeneralRe: Code ported to PPC2003 and WM5 under VS2005 Pin
JasonHo24-Aug-06 1:32
memberJasonHo24-Aug-06 1:32 
QuestionRe: Code ported to PPC2003 and WM5 under VS2005 Pin
goddamnelectric9-Jan-07 23:06
membergoddamnelectric9-Jan-07 23:06 
GeneralRe: Code ported to PPC2003 and WM5 under VS2005 Pin
noob_the_penguin7-Jun-07 1:32
membernoob_the_penguin7-Jun-07 1:32 
GeneralRe: Code ported to PPC2003 and WM5 under VS2005 Pin
Vincent_RICHOMME7-Jun-07 11:31
memberVincent_RICHOMME7-Jun-07 11:31 
GeneralFileOpen2: A Command Line Version [modified] Pin
NaviGer27-May-06 0:23
memberNaviGer27-May-06 0:23 
I made some additions to João Paulo Figueira File Open Dialog.

The best would be, if I could upload the whole project with the source code here

Here is the description:


A File Open Dialog for the PocketPC 2002 - 2005
The Original of this software was written by João Paulo Figueira,
first published at

With contributions from Dmitry Yakimov and tim2342

With additions for command line use, selection of
an initial directory and a 'File Input Window'.
The whole OLE stuff wa removed Wink | ;)
by NaviGer (Hans-Gerhard Flohr)

License: MIT / X11


You can call the FileOpen2.exe with a command line parameter.
The command line parameter is a name of file, which contains
the open / save definitions.
The selected path (and the filename) are returned in the command file.
The previous contents of the command file is destroyed.
If the result begins with a '=' character, the user has pressed the ok button.
If the result begins with a '!' character, the user has pressed the cancel button.

Note: This Version runs only on Windows Mobile from WM2003 -2005
due to the use of the aygshell.dll

The following keys are decoded in the Command file:

Title= :The title of the file open window
InitialDir= :The initial directory (may also contain the file name)
OpenText= :The text, which shall be shown in the dialog

Now the keys from the Microsoft CFileDialog Class definition:
BOOL bOpenFileDialog,
LPCTSTR lpszDefExt = NULL,
LPCTSTR lpszFileName = NULL,
LPCTSTR lpszFilter = NULL,

OpenMode=0 :1= Open, 0 Save
DefExt= :Default extension (currently not supported)
FileName= :The filename, to open or to which to save
Flags= :Flags according to the MS specification, only: OFN_HIDEREADONLY and OFN_OVERWRITEPROMPT
Filter= :File filter, according to the MS specification.GPS.
Must contain '|' as delimiters

Example of the contents of a command file:

Title=Test Open
InitialDir=\Storage Card\POIObserver
Filter=GPS File (*.txt,*.gps)|*.txt;*.gps|All Files (*.*)|*.*||");

Example of the contents of the command file after returning:

=\Storage Card\POIObserver\ZO_FS.TXT
when the user had pressed the cancel button or
!\Storage Card\POIObserver\ZO_FS.TXT
when the user had pressed the cancel button.


Non existing command file
You may also specify a name of a non existing file, the result of the selection
is written back to that file (if possible).

Why not a DLL?
Many software developers have problems with user written DLLs and .NET.
So it is easier, to write to a file, close it, and call FileOpen2.exe as a child process.
When the child process terminates, the result can be read from the same file.

MS specific:
I noted, that MS is not able to interpret the '|' delimiters in the
file filter, although noted in the description.
So, if the calling FileOpen2 fails, you have to convert the filter string for the

CString csFilter = _T("GPS Log File (*.txt)"); csFilter += _T('|');
csFilter += _T("*.txt"); csFilter += _T('|');
csFilter += _T("GPS Log File (*.gps)"); csFilter += _T('|');
csFilter += _T("*.gps"); csFilter += _T("||");

int Position;
while((Position = csFilter.ReverseFind(_T('|'))) >= 0)
csFilter.SetAt(Position, _T('\0'));


TCHAR *tcFilter = _T("GPS ASC File (*.ASC)|*.ASC|All Files (*.*)|*.*||");

TCHAR *ptcPosition;
while((ptcPosition = _tcsrchr(tcFilter, _T('|'))) != NULL)
*ptcPosition = _T('\0');

-- modified at 13:28 Sunday 4th June, 2006
Questionanyone ported this to VS 2005? Pin
miggedy21-Mar-06 17:12
membermiggedy21-Mar-06 17:12 
AnswerRe: anyone ported this to VS 2005? Pin
Vincent_RICHOMME10-Aug-06 7:39
memberVincent_RICHOMME10-Aug-06 7:39 
QuestionManaged Code Equivalent of this? Pin
Vasudevan Deepak Kumar14-Mar-06 4:10
memberVasudevan Deepak Kumar14-Mar-06 4:10 
AnswerRe: Managed Code Equivalent of this? Pin
João Paulo Figueira14-Mar-06 4:16
memberJoão Paulo Figueira14-Mar-06 4:16 
GeneralSaving Bitmaps in WinCE Pin
Justin Clayden12-Dec-05 16:01
memberJustin Clayden12-Dec-05 16:01 
QuestionCan I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
haamsteer17-Oct-05 9:10
memberhaamsteer17-Oct-05 9:10 
AnswerRe: Can I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
João Paulo Figueira17-Oct-05 11:18
memberJoão Paulo Figueira17-Oct-05 11:18 
GeneralRe: Can I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
franprak6-Mar-07 17:35
memberfranprak6-Mar-07 17:35 
GeneralRe: Can I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
João Paulo Figueira6-Mar-07 22:59
memberJoão Paulo Figueira6-Mar-07 22:59 
QuestionCan not found Deque.h Pin
lvguangchuan6-Oct-05 11:21
memberlvguangchuan6-Oct-05 11:21 
AnswerRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
João Paulo Figueira6-Oct-05 12:18
memberJoão Paulo Figueira6-Oct-05 12:18 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
NaviGer21-May-06 5:48
memberNaviGer21-May-06 5:48 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
NaviGer21-May-06 5:52
memberNaviGer21-May-06 5:52 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
João Paulo Figueira21-May-06 6:16
memberJoão Paulo Figueira21-May-06 6:16 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h [modified] Pin
Andy Byron28-Sep-06 7:14
memberAndy Byron28-Sep-06 7:14 
GeneralSmall improvements Pin
Dmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 5:53
sussDmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 5:53 

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