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(This is the documentation for SDL3, which is under heavy development and the API is changing! SDL2 is the current stable version!)


Displays a dialog that lets the user select a file on their filesystem.

Header File

Defined in <SDL3/SDL_dialog.h>


void SDL_ShowOpenFileDialog(SDL_DialogFileCallback callback, void *userdata, SDL_Window *window, const SDL_DialogFileFilter *filters, int nfilters, const char *default_location, SDL_bool allow_many);

Function Parameters

SDL_DialogFileCallback callback an SDL_DialogFileCallback to be invoked when the user selects a file and accepts, or cancels the dialog, or an error occurs. The first argument is a null-terminated list of C strings, representing the paths chosen by the user. The list will be empty if the user canceled the dialog, and it will be NULL if an error occurred. If an error occurred, it can be fetched with SDL_GetError(). The second argument is the userdata pointer passed to the function. The third argument is the index of the filter selected by the user, or one past the index of the last filter (therefore the index of the terminating NULL filter) if no filter was chosen, or -1 if the platform does not support detecting the selected filter.
void * userdata an optional pointer to pass extra data to the callback when it will be invoked.
SDL_Window * window the window that the dialog should be modal for. May be NULL. Not all platforms support this option.
const SDL_DialogFileFilter * filters a list of SDL_DialogFileFilter's. May be NULL. Not all platforms support this option, and platforms that do support it may allow the user to ignore the filters.
int nfilters the number of filters. Ignored if filters is NULL.
const char * default_location the default folder or file to start the dialog at. May be NULL. Not all platforms support this option.
SDL_bool allow_many if non-zero, the user will be allowed to select multiple entries. Not all platforms support this option.


This function should only be invoked from the main thread.

This is an asynchronous function; it will return immediately, and the result will be passed to the callback.

The callback will be invoked with a null-terminated list of files the user chose. The list will be empty if the user canceled the dialog, and it will be NULL if an error occurred.

Note that the callback may be called from a different thread than the one the function was invoked on.

Depending on the platform, the user may be allowed to input paths that don't yet exist.

On Linux, dialogs may require XDG Portals, which requires DBus, which requires an event-handling loop. Apps that do not use SDL to handle events should add a call to SDL_PumpEvents in their main loop.


This function is available since SDL 3.0.0.

See Also

CategoryAPI, CategoryAPIFunction, CategoryDialog

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