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  • Using a command line
  • Using the DDEActive constant
  • Miscellaneous
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Stored procedures
From version 27, this function is kept for backward compatibility. It is recommended to use ExeRun.
Starts the execution of a program (an executable for example) from the current application.
// Start Notepad in default mode
DDEStart("NOTEPAD.EXE Readme.txt")
<Result> = DDEStart(<Program name> [, <Mode> [, <Wait> [, <Working directory>]]])
<Result>: Boolean
  • True if the program was started,
  • False otherwise.
<Program name>: Character string
Name of program to start with its path and/or the parameters that must be passed to the program (if necessary).
If no path is specified, the program is sought in the current directory first, then in the directory of Windows and in the directories accessible by PATH.
If the executable corresponds to a long name with space characters, you must use the following syntax:
<Program name> = " " " Long_name_with_spaces" " Command_line"
<Mode>: Optional integer constant
Mode for starting the program (no action on the DOS programs):
(Default value)
The program run is active: it is run by "taking control" over the current program
DDEIconizeThe program run is inactive: it is run minimized
DDEInactiveThe program run is inactive: it is run while the current program keeps focus
DDEMaximizeThe program run is active: It is run by "taking control" over the current program (the execution window has the maximum size allowed)
exeNoHandleInheritanceIndicates that the program should not inherit handles from the parent (applies to ALL handles, including files). The program is independent of the application that launched it.
This constant can be combined with other constants to define how the program is launched.

Java This parameter is ignored. The program run is active, it "takes control" over the current program.
<Wait>: Optional boolean
Amount of time before resuming the execution of the current program:
  • True: the current program resumes its execution when the program run is over.
  • False (default value): the current program and the launched program run in parallel.
<Working directory>: Optional character string
Working directory of the application to be started.

Using a command line

To pass parameters in command line to the executable run, you must specify the name and full path of the executable to run.
If the program run was developed with WINDEV/WEBDEV, CommandLine allows you to retrieve the command line.

Using the DDEActive constant

If the process where the application is run (with the DDEActive constant) runs a code allowing the calling program to regain focus, the called program loses control.
In order for the called program to keep focus, you must avoid:
  • calling another window or dialog box after the call to DDEStart,
  • that the button (if any) whose process contains a call to DDEStart is set as "Tab stop" ("Accessible by TAB" option),
  • calling SetFocusAndReturnToUserInput after DDEStart.


  • DDEStart does not modify the current directory. The current directory before running DDEStart is identical to the current directory after running DDEStart.
  • If the program run does not take into account the specified runtime mode, the program is run by default in DDEActive mode.
Component: wd270std.dll
Minimum version required
  • Version 9
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