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Today's applications must support high-quality text rendering, resolution-independent outline fonts, and full Unicode text and layout support. DirectWrite, a DirectX API, provides these features and more:

  • A device-independent text layout system that improves text readability in documents and in UI.
  • High-quality, sub-pixel, ClearType text rendering that can use GDI, Direct2D, or application-specific rendering technology.
  • Hardware-accelerated text, when used with Direct2D.
  • Support for multi-format text.
  • Support for the advanced typography features of OpenType fonts.
  • Support for the layout and rendering of text in all supported languages.
  • GDI-compatible layout and rendering.

The API supports measuring, drawing, and hit-testing of multi-format text. DirectWrite handles text in all supported languages for global and localized applications, building on the key language infrastructure found in Windows 7. DirectWrite also provides a low-level glyph rendering API for developers who want to perform their own layout and Unicode-to-glyph processing.

Run-time requirements

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

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 DirectWrite

Here are some of the new additions to DirectWrite.

Programming Guide

The following topics provide an overview of the DirectWrite API.

API Reference

Describes the DirectWrite API.

Sample Code

This section contains information about sample programs for DirectWrite.