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How can I get a WinForms text control's text string, given a pointer to its CWnd.

Posted on 2014-09-16
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Last Modified: 2014-09-20
I have a Winforms app whose window contains several controls.   From a separate MFC process I need to be able to retrieve the value of one of the text controls in the Winforms app.

I enumerate those controls to get a CWnd pointer for each  one.  That all works fine.

The window has several pushbuttons and several text controls.  On each pushbutton, when I call GetWindowText() I get the pushbutton's caption returned.  As expected.

However when I call GetWindowText() on a text object I get nothing back even though there is clearly a non-null string there.

I'm assuming that one cannot use GetWindowText()  on a Winforms text object but I don't know what I can use that would give me back the text that's stored within a text object.
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Question by:allanephillips
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Expert Comment

by:chaau
ID: 40327032
I think GetWindowText should work fine. Can you post some code, there could be a problem. Also, can you check that the windows class of your edit controls is a correct one. It should have a value similar to "WindowsForms10.EDIT.app.0.34f5582_r9_ad1" (ignore the last bit, it is always different). It must have "EDIT" in it
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Expert Comment

by:chaau
ID: 40327048
Please note that for normal Winform Edit controls the EDIT window will be a child of the form. If the edit is a toggle EDIT (with up and down arrows) then it will be part of a composite control and the actual EDIT control will be one level below. Check the spy++ for the well know WinForms program below:A WinForm windowIts spy
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Author Comment

by:allanephillips
ID: 40327084
Well the window class that I seem to be seeing is: "WindowsForms10.Window.8.app.0.202c666".  It sounds as though that is not the right one.

When I use spy++ I don't see any descendant window that has ".EDIT" in its class name so it may be that the window that spy++ shows that looks like an edit control really isn't one.
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Accepted Solution

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chaau earned 500 total points
ID: 40327089
it may as well be a "custom control". The developers of the WinForm app may have developed a custom control, or imported an OCX control (e.g. a mask edit control or something). In this case you need to explore some other options, like windows hooking
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Expert Comment

by:sarabande
ID: 40328131
when using spy, you could "search" for the control by dragging the search icon of spy to the text control.

try to get the window handle of the parent window and the id of the text control. then you can do:

HWND hwndTextCtrl == ::GetDlgItem(hwndParent, id);
TCHAR text[1024] = { 0 };
int len = ::GetWindowText(hwndTextCtrl,  text, 1024);

Open in new window


note, the windows form uses utf-16 character set which is called UNICODE by MS. the mfc application might use 'multibyte character set' where the TCHAR is a single char. if that is the case and the GetWindowText returns a positive length but the text seems to be empty, you may try to using WCHAR instead of TCHAR and call the ::GetWindowTextL which could handle wide strings.

Sara
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Author Closing Comment

by:allanephillips
ID: 40334845
The solution really just told me that there is likely no way to get at the data in what's probably a "Custom Control".   I guess I'll have to try to get the data using an OCR converter.
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