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Microsoft KB Archive/102328

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Knowledge Base

How To Center a Dialog Using the Microsoft Foundation Classes

Article ID: 102328

Article Last Modified on 11/21/2006


  • Microsoft Foundation Class Library 4.2, when used with:
    • Microsoft C/C++ Professional Development System 7.0
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0 Professional Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.5 Professional Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.51
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.52 Professional Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0 Professional Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 2.0 Professional Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 2.1
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 4.0 Standard Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2003 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q102328

NOTE: Microsoft Visual C++ NET (2002) supported both the managed code model that is provided by the .NET Framework and the unmanaged native Windows code model. The information in this article applies to unmanaged Visual C++ code only.


In an application developed with the Microsoft Foundation Classes library, you may want to automatically center a dialog box with respect to its parent window when it is created.

To do this, it is necessary to ensure that the dialog box can be centered without regard to its parent window (to support the case in which the caller specified NULL as the parent window handle). You must add additional code to center the dialog box with respect to the desktop window when no parent is specified and with respect to the parent window otherwise.


The sample code below can be used as an example to override the OnInitDialog() member function of the CDialog class. The CenterDialog() function, defined below, is compatible with version 1.0 of the Microsoft Foundation Classes library.

If you develop your application with version 2.0 or later of the Microsoft Foundation Classes library, use the CenterWindow() function instead of the CenterDialog() function. CenterWindow() provides identical functionality, but it is not available in version 1.0 of the MFC library.

The MFC version 2.0 implementation of the CenterWindow() function can be found in the DLGCORE.CPP file (installed by default in the C:\MFC\SRC directory). In MFC version 3.0 and above, CenterWindow() is a member function of CWnd which is the base class of CDialog. In these MFC versions, the implementation of CWnd::CenterWindow() can be found in WINCORE.CPP (installed by default in the MFC\SRC subdirectory of the corresponding Visual C++ product directory).

Sample Code

    * Compiler options needed: (Standard Windows Requirements)

   void CMyDialog::CenterDialog(CWnd *MyDialogPtr)
      CPoint   Point;
      CRect    DialogRect;
      CRect    ParentRect;
      int      nWidth;
      int      nHeight;
      CWnd     *DesktopWindow = NULL;
      CWnd     *MainWindow;

      // Get the size of the dialog box.

      // Get the main window.
      MainWindow = AfxGetApp()->m_pMainWnd;

      // Determine if the main window exists. This can be useful when
      // the application creates the dialog box before it creates the
      // main window. If it does exist, retrieve its size to center
      // the dialog box with respect to the main window.
      if (MainWindow != NULL)
      // If the main window does not exist, center with respect to
      // the desktop window.
         DesktopWindow = MyDialogPtr->GetDesktopWindow();

      // Calculate the height and width for MoveWindow().
      nWidth = DialogRect.Width();
      nHeight = DialogRect.Height();

      // Find the center point and convert to screen coordinates.
      Point.x = ParentRect.Width() / 2;
      Point.y = ParentRect.Height() / 2;
      if (MainWindow)

      // Calculate the new X, Y starting point.
      Point.x -= nWidth / 2;
      Point.y -= nHeight / 2;

      // Move the window.
      MyDialogPtr->MoveWindow(Point.x, Point.y, nWidth, nHeight, FALSE);

   BOOL CMyDialog::OnInitDialog()

      // Remove the comment from 1 or 2 below to correspond with
      // the version of the Microsoft Foundation Classes library
      // you are using.

      // 1. Call CenterDialog() for version 1.0
      // CenterDialog(this);

      // 2. Call CenterWindow() for versions 2.0 and above
      // CenterWindow();

      return TRUE;

Additional query words: kbDlg

Keywords: kbhowto kbuidesign kbdlg KB102328