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Posted 26 Mar 2003

A File Open Dialog for the PocketPC 2002

, 26 Jan 2004
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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

AnswerRe: anyone ported this to VS 2005? Pin
Vincent_RICHOMME10-Aug-06 8:39
memberVincent_RICHOMME10-Aug-06 8:39 
QuestionManaged Code Equivalent of this? Pin
Vasudevan Deepak Kumar14-Mar-06 5:10
memberVasudevan Deepak Kumar14-Mar-06 5:10 
AnswerRe: Managed Code Equivalent of this? Pin
João Paulo Figueira14-Mar-06 5:16
memberJoão Paulo Figueira14-Mar-06 5:16 
I wrote something like this in C#, but never thought it would be worthwile to publish...

João Paulo Figueira
Embedded MVP
GeneralSaving Bitmaps in WinCE Pin
Justin Clayden12-Dec-05 17:01
memberJustin Clayden12-Dec-05 17:01 
QuestionCan I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
haamsteer17-Oct-05 10:10
memberhaamsteer17-Oct-05 10:10 
AnswerRe: Can I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
João Paulo Figueira17-Oct-05 12:18
memberJoão Paulo Figueira17-Oct-05 12:18 
GeneralRe: Can I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
franprak6-Mar-07 18:35
memberfranprak6-Mar-07 18:35 
GeneralRe: Can I use that on my (GLP) project? Pin
João Paulo Figueira6-Mar-07 23:59
memberJoão Paulo Figueira6-Mar-07 23:59 
QuestionCan not found Deque.h Pin
lvguangchuan6-Oct-05 12:21
memberlvguangchuan6-Oct-05 12:21 
AnswerRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
João Paulo Figueira6-Oct-05 13:18
memberJoão Paulo Figueira6-Oct-05 13:18 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
NaviGer21-May-06 6:48
memberNaviGer21-May-06 6:48 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
NaviGer21-May-06 6:52
memberNaviGer21-May-06 6:52 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h Pin
João Paulo Figueira21-May-06 7:16
memberJoão Paulo Figueira21-May-06 7:16 
GeneralRe: Can not found Deque.h [modified] Pin
Andy Byron28-Sep-06 8:14
memberAndy Byron28-Sep-06 8:14 
GeneralSmall improvements Pin
Dmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 6:53
sussDmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 6:53 
GeneralRe: Small improvements Pin
João Paulo Figueira18-Aug-05 6:56
memberJoão Paulo Figueira18-Aug-05 6:56 
GeneralRe: Small improvements Pin
Dmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 7:11
sussDmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 7:11 
GeneralRe: Small improvements Pin
Dmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 7:13
sussDmitry Yakimov18-Aug-05 7:13 
QuestionBrowsing desktop computer? Pin
george ivanov17-May-05 21:47
membergeorge ivanov17-May-05 21:47 
AnswerRe: Browsing desktop computer? Pin
João Paulo Figueira17-May-05 22:44
memberJoão Paulo Figueira17-May-05 22:44 
QuestionHow to sort treeview? Pin
Roger Sager11-Nov-04 2:33
memberRoger Sager11-Nov-04 2:33 
AnswerRe: How to sort treeview? Pin
João Paulo Figueira11-Nov-04 7:48
memberJoão Paulo Figueira11-Nov-04 7:48 
Generalnon-STL version w/code Pin
tim234229-Oct-04 13:55
membertim234229-Oct-04 13:55 
GeneralRe: non-STL version w/code Pin
João Paulo Figueira30-Oct-04 5:54
memberJoão Paulo Figueira30-Oct-04 5:54 
Questionhow to show image by clicking on button using VB 6 Pin
mai nageeb5-Oct-04 3:50
sussmai nageeb5-Oct-04 3:50 

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