MFC Framework Cheatsheet

The Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) framework is a powerful library for developing Windows applications using C++. Whether you are a seasoned developer or just starting, having a handy cheatsheet can significantly boost your productivity. In this blog post, we’ll explore key aspects of the MFC framework through a comprehensive cheatsheet.

1. Getting Started

Creating an MFC Application

// YourApp.cpp
#include "stdafx.h"
#include "YourApp.h"


CYourAppApp theApp;

BOOL CYourAppApp::InitInstance()
  CMainFrame* pFrame = new CMainFrame;
  m_pMainWnd = pFrame;
  return TRUE;

2. UI Design with MFC

Adding Controls to Dialog

// YourDialog.cpp
void CYourDialog::DoDataExchange(CDataExchange* pDX)
  DDX_Text(pDX, IDC_EDIT_NAME, m_strName);
  DDX_Check(pDX, IDC_CHECK_ENABLED, m_bEnabled);

  ON_BN_CLICKED(IDC_BUTTON_OK, &CYourDialog::OnBnClickedOk)

3. Working with Views and Documents

Creating a View Class

// YourView.cpp
class CYourView : public CView
  virtual void OnDraw(CDC* pDC);
  // Other member functions and variables


4. Handling Events in MFC

Command Handling

// YourView.cpp
void CYourView::OnLButtonDown(UINT nFlags, CPoint point)
  // Handle left mouse button down event

5. File I/O in MFC

Reading from a File

// YourDoc.cpp
void CYourDoc::OnFileOpen()
  CFileDialog dlg(TRUE, nullptr, nullptr, OFN_FILEMUSTEXIST | OFN_HIDEREADONLY,
    _T("Text Files (*.txt)|*.txt|All Files (*.*)|*.*||"));
  if (dlg.DoModal() == IDOK)
    CString filePath = dlg.GetPathName();
    // Process the file

6. Database Operations

Executing SQL Queries

// YourDatabaseView.cpp
CDatabase database;
database.OpenEx(_T("DSN=YourDSN;"), CDatabase::noOdbcDialog);
CRecordset recordset(&database);
recordset.Open(CRecordset::forwardOnly, _T("SELECT * FROM YourTable"));
while (!recordset.IsEOF())
  // Process the data

This cheatsheet covers essential aspects of the MFC framework, providing a quick reference for developers navigating the intricacies of Windows application development. Keep this handy, and you’ll find yourself mastering MFC with greater ease.


1. What is MFC and why use it for Windows development?

MFC, or Microsoft Foundation Class, is a C++ library facilitating Windows application development. It provides a framework for building GUI applications, handling user input, and managing resources. Developers choose MFC for its efficiency and integration with the Windows operating system.

2. How do I handle user input in MFC applications?

MFC simplifies user input handling through message maps. By associating events like button clicks or mouse movements with specific functions in your code, you can seamlessly manage user interactions. Utilize the ON_COMMAND and ON_WM_XXX macros in your message maps for effective event handling.

3. Can MFC be used for modern UI design?

While MFC originated in the era of classic Windows applications, it can still be used for modern UI design. However, for more contemporary interfaces, developers often combine MFC with other technologies, such as Direct2D or third-party UI libraries, to achieve a more polished and modern look.

4. How does MFC handle database operations?

MFC provides classes for working with databases through the Database Open Connectivity (ODBC) interface. Developers can establish connections, execute SQL queries, and retrieve data using classes like CDatabase and CRecordset. MFC simplifies database operations, making it easier to integrate data into Windows applications.

5. Is MFC still relevant in the age of .NET and modern web development?

Yes, MFC remains relevant for certain scenarios, particularly when developing Windows desktop applications. While newer technologies like .NET and web development frameworks have gained popularity, MFC is a stable and well-established choice for native Windows applications, especially those requiring close integration with the operating system.