SendMessage function (winuser.h)

Sends the specified message to a window or windows. The SendMessage function calls the window procedure for the specified window and does not return until the window procedure has processed the message.

To send a message and return immediately, use the SendMessageCallback or SendNotifyMessage function. To post a message to a thread's message queue and return immediately, use the PostMessage or PostThreadMessage function.


LRESULT SendMessage(
  [in] HWND   hWnd,
  [in] UINT   Msg,
  [in] WPARAM wParam,
  [in] LPARAM lParam


[in] hWnd

Type: HWND

A handle to the window whose window procedure will receive the message. If this parameter is HWND_BROADCAST ((HWND)0xffff), the message is sent to all top-level windows in the system, including disabled or invisible unowned windows, overlapped windows, and pop-up windows; but the message is not sent to child windows.

Message sending is subject to UIPI. The thread of a process can send messages only to message queues of threads in processes of lesser or equal integrity level.

[in] Msg

Type: UINT

The message to be sent.

For lists of the system-provided messages, see System-Defined Messages.

[in] wParam


Additional message-specific information.

[in] lParam


Additional message-specific information.

Return value


The return value specifies the result of the message processing; it depends on the message sent.


When a message is blocked by UIPI the last error, retrieved with GetLastError, is set to 5 (access denied).

Applications that need to communicate using HWND_BROADCAST should use the RegisterWindowMessage function to obtain a unique message for inter-application communication.

The system only does marshalling for system messages (those in the range 0 to (WM_USER-1)). To send other messages (those >= WM_USER) to another process, you must do custom marshalling.

If the specified window was created by the calling thread, the window procedure is called immediately as a subroutine. If the specified window was created by a different thread, the system switches to that thread and calls the appropriate window procedure. Messages sent between threads are processed only when the receiving thread executes message retrieval code. The sending thread is blocked until the receiving thread processes the message. However, the sending thread will process incoming nonqueued messages while waiting for its message to be processed. To prevent this, use SendMessageTimeout with SMTO_BLOCK set. For more information on nonqueued messages, see Nonqueued Messages.

An accessibility application can use SendMessage to send WM_APPCOMMAND messages to the shell to launch applications. This functionality is not guaranteed to work for other types of applications.


For an example, see Displaying Keyboard Input.


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]
Target Platform Windows
Header winuser.h (include Windows.h)
Library User32.lib
DLL User32.dll
API set ext-ms-win-ntuser-message-l1-1-0 (introduced in Windows 8)

See also



Messages and Message Queues