Direct2D is a hardware-accelerated, immediate-mode, 2-D graphics API that provides high performance and high-quality rendering for 2-D geometry, bitmaps, and text. The Direct2D API is designed to interoperate well with GDI, GDI+, and Direct3D.

Developer audience

Direct2D is designed primarily for use by the following classes of developers:

  • Developers of large, enterprise-scale, native applications.
  • Developers who create control toolkits and libraries for consumption by downstream developers.
  • Developers who require server-side rendering of 2-D graphics.
  • Developers who use Direct3D graphics and need simple, high-performance 2-D and text rendering for menus, user-interface (UI) elements, and Heads-up Displays (HUDs).

Run-time requirements

  • Windows 7 or Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Platform Update for Windows Vista and later.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Platform Update for Windows Server 2008 and later.

The Platform Update for Windows Vista and Platform Update for Windows Server 2008 are a set of run-time libraries that enables developers to target applications to Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008. These updates will be available to all Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 customers through Windows Update. Third-party applications that require Platform Update for Windows Vista or Platform Update for Windows Server 2008 can have Windows Update detect whether the required updated is installed; if it is not, Windows Update will download and install it in the background. For more information about both updates, see Platform Update for Windows Vista.


In this section


What's new in Direct2D

Here are some of the new additions to Direct2D.

About Direct2D

Introduces Direct2D, an API that provides Win32 developers with the ability to perform 2-D graphics rendering tasks with superior performance and visual quality.

Direct2D Quickstart for Windows 8

Summarizes the steps required to draw with Direct2D and provides example code.

Getting Started with Direct2D

Describes how to get started creating Direct2D applications and provides example code.

Programming Guide

This section contains conceptual programming topics that describe how to use the Direct2D API.

API Reference

Describes the Direct2D API in detail.

Tools and Utilities

Tools and utilities provided for Direct2D.


Sample applications that demonstrate the Direct2D API.

Direct2D Glossary

Describes terms commonly used by the Direct2D documentation.


Additional resources