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Posted 5 Sep 2000

Calling a VB ActiveX DLL from a MFC Client

, 13 Sep 2000
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A simple way to call a VB ActiveX DLL from a VC/MFC Client
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    In this article I'll present a way of calling a VB ActiveX DLL from a MFC client application. There are other ways to do so but I find this by far the easiest. Any information presented here is only for learning purposes.

    I shall briefly point out the steps you need to follow-

    • Create an ActiveX server component with VB. This is the ActiveX DLL you need to create with VB.
    • Create an dialog based MFC application using the MFC Appwizard.
    • Import the server's (DLL) type library into the MFC client app.
    • Initialize the COM library
    • Retrieve the CLSID of the server component.
    • Create an instance of the COM server component.
    • Use the COM object
    • Uninitialize the COM library

    First create a new ActiveX DLL project using VB 6.0. Name the project prjdll and the class clsdll. Add a new function fnCallDll to the class. My function just displays a messagebox and looks like

    Public Function fnCallDll()
    	MsgBox "VB ActiveX DLL"
    End Function

    Save and compile this project to create prjdll.dll. This is our server component.

    Now we are going to develop the client. Create a new dialog based application in VC++ using MFC Appwizard and save the project.

    We are going to import the server component's type library using the #import statement. Copy the prjdll.dll file to the directory where you have saved your MFC Appwizard project. Click the FileView tab of the Project Workspace window, expand the Header Files folder, open the file stdafx.h and add the following code (appears greyed)

    # import "prjdll.dll"
    using namespace prjdll; 

    You must add the above code after

    // Microsoft Visual C++ will insert additional declarations immediately  

    and before


    in the stdafx.h file.Importing the prjdll.dll file helps the compiler to link to the dll's type library at runtime. The #import tells the compiler to generate the wrapper class, which will encapsulate the functionalities of the server component. If the server component is created using VB we need the import the associated .dll file and if the component is created using VC++, we need to import the .tlb file.The name of the wrapper class will be same as the server component name, by default.

    Compile the stdafx.cpp file. The compiler generates a .tlh and a .tli file in your projects Debug or Release directory (depending on your configuration). These are the type library header and implementation files. Open the .tlh file by double-clicking it and find out word immediately after the word namespace. This is usually the name of the project that we earlier created using VB.Look at the code we inserted earlier to the stdafx.h file.The using namespace is required so that we can access the server's methods.

    Place a codebutton control (IDC_BUTTON1) on the dialog. Double-click the control to add a command handler OnButton1() for the button. Now add the following code in the handler-

    HRESULT hresult;
    CLSID clsid;
    CoInitialize(NULL);	//initialize COM library
    hresult=CLSIDFromProgID(OLESTR("prjdll.clsdll"), &clsid);    //retrieve CLSID of component
    _clsdll *t; 
    hresult=CoCreateInstance(clsid,NULL,CLSCTX_INPROC_SERVER,__uuidof(_clsdll),(LPVOID *) &t);
    	AfxMessageBox("Creation Failed");
    t->fnCallDll ();  //call method
    t->Release();   //call method
    CoUninitialize();  //Unintialize the COM library         

    The name of the CoClass is _clsdll. The CoCreateInstance function returns the address of the interface pointer requested. Now the pointer t can happily be used to access the functionality of the server component.

    That's it. On clicking the button a Messagebox should pop up.


    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

    Amit Dey
    Web Developer
    India India
    Amit Dey is a freelance programmer from Bangalore,India. Chiefly programming VC++/MFC, ATL/COM and PocketPC and Palm platforms. Apart from programming and CP, he is a self-taught guitar and keyboard player.

    He can be contacted at

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    Comments and Discussions

    QuestionCan we run the above vc++ application by replacing the existing dll with Updated dll (add a new public function) without builing the vc++ application Pin
    rameshbabu_peddapalli15-Oct-08 19:15
    memberrameshbabu_peddapalli15-Oct-08 19:15 
    QuestionHow to create Dll in VB dotnet. Pin
    ashokrana00718-Sep-08 7:30
    memberashokrana00718-Sep-08 7:30 
    QuestionWhat about the events ? Pin
    DevMan7730-Jul-08 3:43
    memberDevMan7730-Jul-08 3:43 
    QuestionHow to pass CString Array in VC to a VB programmed DLL? Pin
    urwangshd23-Nov-07 9:27
    memberurwangshd23-Nov-07 9:27 
    QuestionAnybody knows, How to dynamically include the dll Pin
    JothiMurugeswaran15-Nov-07 19:40
    memberJothiMurugeswaran15-Nov-07 19:40 
    QuestionDoubt in loading a dll in VC++ Project Pin
    ganesa moorthy3-Jul-07 6:52
    memberganesa moorthy3-Jul-07 6:52 
    AnswerRe: Doubt in loading a dll in VC++ Project Pin
    JothiMurugeswaran20-Nov-07 0:37
    memberJothiMurugeswaran20-Nov-07 0:37 
    GeneralString And ByRef Parameters Pin
    Kaveh minavi mehr19-Jun-07 8:41
    memberKaveh minavi mehr19-Jun-07 8:41 
    GeneralCalling a COM DLL from MFC Client Pin
    Sabareeswaran28-Dec-06 23:28
    memberSabareeswaran28-Dec-06 23:28 
    Generaldiff bw ax & com dll Pin
    GANsJob26-Dec-06 2:15
    memberGANsJob26-Dec-06 2:15 
    QuestionCreation Failed Pin
    xtiancorrea3-Sep-05 21:18
    memberxtiancorrea3-Sep-05 21:18 
    AnswerRe: Creation Failed Pin
    RivF22-Dec-05 8:49
    memberRivF22-Dec-05 8:49 
    AnswerRe: Creation Failed Pin
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    memberElmue8-Aug-07 4:21 
    QuestionRe: Creation Failed Pin
    11166628-Aug-07 18:20
    member11166628-Aug-07 18:20 
    AnswerRe: Creation Failed Pin
    world.wild.web3-Oct-07 6:12
    memberworld.wild.web3-Oct-07 6:12 
    GeneralRe: Creation Failed Pin
    11166628-Aug-07 19:26
    member11166628-Aug-07 19:26 
    Generalproblem with dll create in C# Pin
    MihaiChioariu10-Aug-05 6:19
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    Shenthil26-Jul-05 1:43
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    Generalcalling vc++ dll from vb dll Pin
    Anonymous26-Apr-05 18:26
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    Mohamed Jaffar Sagir16-Mar-05 22:14
    memberMohamed Jaffar Sagir16-Mar-05 22:14 
    GeneralRe: Trying to open workspace .dsw gives the error &quot; &quot;This makefile was not generated by developer studio&quot; Pin
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