TabbedTextOut function

The TabbedTextOut function writes a character string at a specified location, expanding tabs to the values specified in an array of tab-stop positions. Text is written in the currently selected font, background color, and text color.


LONG TabbedTextOut(
  _In_       HDC     hDC,
  _In_       int     X,
  _In_       int     Y,
  _In_       LPCTSTR lpString,
  _In_       int     nCount,
  _In_       int     nTabPositions,
  _In_ const LPINT   lpnTabStopPositions,
  _In_       int     nTabOrigin


hDC [in]

A handle to the device context.

X [in]

The x-coordinate of the starting point of the string, in logical units.

Y [in]

The y-coordinate of the starting point of the string, in logical units.

lpString [in]

A pointer to the character string to draw. The string does not need to be zero-terminated, since nCount specifies the length of the string.

nCount [in]

The length of the string pointed to by lpString.

nTabPositions [in]

The number of values in the array of tab-stop positions.

lpnTabStopPositions [in]

A pointer to an array containing the tab-stop positions, in logical units. The tab stops must be sorted in increasing order; the smallest x-value should be the first item in the array.

nTabOrigin [in]

The x-coordinate of the starting position from which tabs are expanded, in logical units.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the return value is the dimensions, in logical units, of the string. The height is in the high-order word and the width is in the low-order word.

If the function fails, the return value is zero.


If the nTabPositions parameter is zero and the lpnTabStopPositions parameter is NULL, tabs are expanded to eight times the average character width.

If nTabPositions is 1, the tab stops are separated by the distance specified by the first value in the lpnTabStopPositions array.

If the lpnTabStopPositions array contains more than one value, a tab stop is set for each value in the array, up to the number specified by nTabPositions.

The nTabOrigin parameter allows an application to call the TabbedTextOut function several times for a single line. If the application calls TabbedTextOut more than once with the nTabOrigin set to the same value each time, the function expands all tabs relative to the position specified by nTabOrigin.

By default, the current position is not used or updated by the TabbedTextOut function. If an application needs to update the current position when it calls TabbedTextOut, the application can call the SetTextAlign function with the wFlags parameter set to TA_UPDATECP. When this flag is set, the system ignores the X and Y parameters on subsequent calls to the TabbedTextOut function, using the current position instead.

Note  For Windows Vista and later, TabbedTextOut ignores text alignment when it draws text.


Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]


Winuser.h (include Windows.h)





Unicode and ANSI names

TabbedTextOutW (Unicode) and TabbedTextOutA (ANSI)

See also

Fonts and Text Overview
Font and Text Functions