MFC Desktop Applications

The Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) Library provides an object-oriented wrapper over much of the Win32 and COM APIs. Although it can be used to create very simple desktop applications, it is most useful when you need to develop more complex user interfaces with multiple controls. You can use MFC 11.0 to create applications with Office-style user interfaces.

The MFC Reference covers the classes, global functions, global variables, and macros that make up the Microsoft Foundation Class Library version 11.0.

The individual hierarchy charts included with each class are useful for locating base classes. The MFC Reference usually does not describe inherited member functions or inherited operators. For information on these functions, refer to the base classes depicted in the hierarchy diagrams.

The documentation for each class includes a class overview, a member summary by category, and topics for the member functions, overloaded operators, and data members.

Public and protected class members are documented only when they are normally used in application programs or derived classes. See the class header files for a complete listing of class members.


The MFC classes and their members cannot be used in applications that execute in the Windows Runtime.

In This Section

  • Hierarchy Chart Categories
    Describes the MFC hierarchy chart by category.

  • ATL/MFC Shared Classes
    Provides links to classes that are shared between MFC and ATL.

  • MFC Samples
    Provides links to samples that demonstrate how to use MFC.

  • Visual C++ Libraries
    Provides links to the various libraries provided with Visual C++, including ATL, MFC, OLE DB Templates, the C run-time library, and the Standard C++ Library.

  • Debugging in Visual Studio
    Provides links to using the Visual Studio debugger to correct logic errors in your application or stored procedures.