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GetDIBits function

The GetDIBits function retrieves the bits of the specified compatible bitmap and copies them into a buffer as a DIB using the specified format.


int GetDIBits(
  _In_    HDC          hdc,
  _In_    HBITMAP      hbmp,
  _In_    UINT         uStartScan,
  _In_    UINT         cScanLines,
  _Out_   LPVOID       lpvBits,
  _Inout_ LPBITMAPINFO lpbi,
  _In_    UINT         uUsage


hdc [in]

A handle to the device context.

hbmp [in]

A handle to the bitmap. This must be a compatible bitmap (DDB).

uStartScan [in]

The first scan line to retrieve.

cScanLines [in]

The number of scan lines to retrieve.

lpvBits [out]

A pointer to a buffer to receive the bitmap data. If this parameter is NULL, the function passes the dimensions and format of the bitmap to the BITMAPINFO structure pointed to by the lpbi parameter.

lpbi [in, out]

A pointer to a BITMAPINFO structure that specifies the desired format for the DIB data.

uUsage [in]

The format of the bmiColors member of the BITMAPINFO structure. It must be one of the following values.


The color table should consist of an array of 16-bit indexes into the current logical palette.


The color table should consist of literal red, green, blue (RGB) values.


Return value

If the lpvBits parameter is non-NULL and the function succeeds, the return value is the number of scan lines copied from the bitmap.

If the lpvBits parameter is NULL and GetDIBits successfully fills the BITMAPINFO structure, the return value is nonzero.

If the function fails, the return value is zero.

This function can return the following value.

Return codeDescription

One or more of the input parameters is invalid.



If the requested format for the DIB matches its internal format, the RGB values for the bitmap are copied. If the requested format doesn't match the internal format, a color table is synthesized. The following table describes the color table synthesized for each format.

1_BPPThe color table consists of a black and a white entry.
4_BPPThe color table consists of a mix of colors identical to the standard VGA palette.
8_BPPThe color table consists of a general mix of 256 colors defined by GDI. (Included in these 256 colors are the 20 colors found in the default logical palette.)
24_BPPNo color table is returned.


If the lpvBits parameter is a valid pointer, the first six members of the BITMAPINFOHEADER structure must be initialized to specify the size and format of the DIB. The scan lines must be aligned on a DWORD except for RLE compressed bitmaps.

A bottom-up DIB is specified by setting the height to a positive number, while a top-down DIB is specified by setting the height to a negative number. The bitmap color table will be appended to the BITMAPINFO structure.

If lpvBits is NULL, GetDIBits examines the first member of the first structure pointed to by lpbi. This member must specify the size, in bytes, of a BITMAPCOREHEADER or a BITMAPINFOHEADER structure. The function uses the specified size to determine how the remaining members should be initialized.

If lpvBits is NULL and the bit count member of BITMAPINFO is initialized to zero, GetDIBits fills in a BITMAPINFOHEADER structure or BITMAPCOREHEADER without the color table. This technique can be used to query bitmap attributes.

The bitmap identified by the hbmp parameter must not be selected into a device context when the application calls this function.

The origin for a bottom-up DIB is the lower-left corner of the bitmap; the origin for a top-down DIB is the upper-left corner.


For an example, see Capturing an Image.


Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]


Wingdi.h (include Windows.h)





See also

Bitmaps Overview
Bitmap Functions