Recording Metafiles

The Metafile class, which inherits from the Image class, allows you to record a sequence of drawing commands. The recorded commands can be stored in memory, saved to a file, or saved to a stream. Metafiles can contain vector graphics, raster images, and text.

The following example creates a Metafile object. The code uses the Metafile object to record a sequence of graphics commands and then saves the recorded commands in a file named SampleMetafile.emf. Note that the Metafile constructor receives a device context handle, and the Graphics constructor receives the address of the Metafile object. The recording stops (and the recorded commands are saved to the file) when the Graphics object goes out of scope. The last two lines of code display the metafile by creating a new Graphics object and passing the address of the Metafile object to the DrawImage method of that Graphics object. Note that the code uses the same Metafile object to record and to display (play back) the metafile.

Metafile metafile(L"SampleMetafile.emf", hdc); 
   Graphics graphics(&metafile);
   Pen greenPen(Color(255, 0, 255, 0));
   SolidBrush solidBrush(Color(255, 0, 0, 255));

   // Add a rectangle and an ellipse to the metafile.
   graphics.DrawRectangle(&greenPen, Rect(50, 10, 25, 75));
   graphics.DrawEllipse(&greenPen, Rect(100, 10, 25, 75));

   // Add an ellipse (drawn with antialiasing) to the metafile.
   graphics.DrawEllipse(&greenPen, Rect(150, 10, 25, 75));

   // Add some text (drawn with antialiasing) to the metafile.
   FontFamily fontFamily(L"Arial");
   Font font(&fontFamily, 24, FontStyleRegular, UnitPixel);
   graphics.DrawString(L"Smooth Text", 11, &font, 
      PointF(50.0f, 50.0f), &solidBrush);
} // End of recording metafile.

// Play back the metafile.
Graphics playbackGraphics(hdc);
playbackGraphics.DrawImage(&metafile, 200, 100);


To record a metafile, you must construct a Graphics object based on a Metafile object. The recording of the metafile ends when that Graphics object is deleted or goes out of scope.


A metafile contains its own graphics state, which is defined by the Graphics object used to record the metafile. Any properties of the Graphics object (clip region, world transformation, smoothing mode, and the like) that you set while recording the metafile will be stored in the metafile. When you display the metafile, the drawing will be done according to those stored properties.

In the following example, assume that the smoothing mode was set to SmoothingModeNormal during the recording of the metafile. Even though the smoothing mode of the Graphics object used for playback is set to SmoothingModeHighQuality, the metafile will be played according to the SmoothingModeNormal setting. It is the smoothing mode set during the recording that is important, not the smoothing mode set prior to playback.

graphics.DrawImage(&meta, 0, 0);