UpdateLayeredWindow function (winuser.h)

Updates the position, size, shape, content, and translucency of a layered window.


BOOL UpdateLayeredWindow(
  [in]           HWND          hWnd,
  [in, optional] HDC           hdcDst,
  [in, optional] POINT         *pptDst,
  [in, optional] SIZE          *psize,
  [in, optional] HDC           hdcSrc,
  [in, optional] POINT         *pptSrc,
  [in]           COLORREF      crKey,
  [in, optional] BLENDFUNCTION *pblend,
  [in]           DWORD         dwFlags


[in] hWnd

Type: HWND

A handle to a layered window. A layered window is created by specifying WS_EX_LAYERED when creating the window with the CreateWindowEx function.

Windows 8:  The WS_EX_LAYERED style is supported for top-level windows and child windows. Previous Windows versions support WS_EX_LAYERED only for top-level windows.

[in, optional] hdcDst

Type: HDC

A handle to a DC for the screen. This handle is obtained by specifying NULL when calling the GetDC function. It is used for palette color matching when the window contents are updated. If hdcDst is NULL, the default palette will be used.

If hdcSrc is NULL, hdcDst must be NULL.

[in, optional] pptDst

Type: POINT*

A pointer to a structure that specifies the new screen position of the layered window. If the current position is not changing, pptDst can be NULL.

[in, optional] psize

Type: SIZE*

A pointer to a structure that specifies the new size of the layered window. If the size of the window is not changing, psize can be NULL. If hdcSrc is NULL, psize must be NULL.

[in, optional] hdcSrc

Type: HDC

A handle to a DC for the surface that defines the layered window. This handle can be obtained by calling the CreateCompatibleDC function. If the shape and visual context of the window are not changing, hdcSrc can be NULL.

[in, optional] pptSrc

Type: POINT*

A pointer to a structure that specifies the location of the layer in the device context. If hdcSrc is NULL, pptSrc should be NULL.

[in] crKey


A structure that specifies the color key to be used when composing the layered window. To generate a COLORREF, use the RGB macro.

[in, optional] pblend


A pointer to a structure that specifies the transparency value to be used when composing the layered window.

[in] dwFlags


This parameter can be one of the following values.

Value Meaning
Use pblend as the blend function. If the display mode is 256 colors or less, the effect of this value is the same as the effect of ULW_OPAQUE.
Use crKey as the transparency color.
Draw an opaque layered window.
Force the UpdateLayeredWindowIndirect function to fail if the current window size does not match the size specified in the psize.

If hdcSrc is NULL, dwFlags should be zero.

Return value

Type: BOOL

If the function succeeds, the return value is nonzero.

If the function fails, the return value is zero. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


The source DC should contain the surface that defines the visible contents of the layered window. For example, you can select a bitmap into a device context obtained by calling the CreateCompatibleDC function.

An application should call SetLayout on the hdcSrc device context to properly set the mirroring mode. SetLayout will properly mirror all drawing into an HDC while properly preserving text glyph and (optionally) bitmap direction order. It cannot modify drawing directly into the bits of a device-independent bitmap (DIB). For more information, see Window Layout and Mirroring.

The UpdateLayeredWindow function maintains the window's appearance on the screen. The windows underneath a layered window do not need to be repainted when they are uncovered due to a call to UpdateLayeredWindow, because the system will automatically repaint them. This permits seamless animation of the layered window.

UpdateLayeredWindow always updates the entire window. To update part of a window, use the traditional WM_PAINT and set the blend value using SetLayeredWindowAttributes.

For best drawing performance by the layered window and any underlying windows, the layered window should be as small as possible. An application should also process the message and re-create its layered windows when the display's color depth changes.

For more information, see Layered Windows.


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-window-l1-1-1 (introduced in Windows 8.1)

See also




Other Resources