How To Get a Long Filename from a Short Filename

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The Dir() function can be used to return a long filename but it does not include path information. By parsing a given short path/filename into its constituent directories, you can use the Dir() function to build a long path/filename. This article demonstrates how to accomplish this behavior.


The following code example includes a function that will convert short filenames into their long filename equivalents and also includes a simple demonstration of the function's use.

Step-by-Step Example

  1. Start Visual Basic. Form1 is created by default.
  2. Place a Command button onto Form1.
  3. From the Insert menu, select Module to add a single code module to the project.
  4. Add the following code to Module1:
       Public Function GetLongFilename _
         (ByVal sShortName As String) _
         As String
         Dim sLongName As String
         Dim sTemp As String
         Dim iSlashPos As Integer
         'Add \ to short name to prevent Instr from failing
         sShortName = sShortName & "\"
         'Start from 4 to ignore the "[Drive Letter]:\" characters
         iSlashPos = InStr(4, sShortName, "\")
         'Pull out each string between \ character for conversion
         While iSlashPos
           sTemp = Dir(Left$(sShortName, iSlashPos - 1), _
             vbNormal + vbHidden +    vbSystem + vbDirectory)
           If sTemp = "" Then
             'Error 52 - Bad File Name or Number
             GetLongFilename = ""
             Exit Function
           End If
           sLongName = sLongName & "\" & sTemp
           iSlashPos = InStr(iSlashPos + 1, sShortName, "\")
         'Prefix with the drive letter
         GetLongFilename = Left$(sShortName, 2) & sLongName
       End Function
  5. Add the following to the Command1_Click event:
       Private Sub Command1_Click()
         'Assumes C:\Program Files\Common Files is a valid path
         Print GetLongFilename("C:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1")
       End Sub
  6. Choose Start from the Run menu, or press the F5 key to start.
  7. Click the Command button.
If the path you have supplied is valid, the long equivalent will be printed on the form. If it is not valid, nothing will print, in which case you will need to supply a valid short filename in the Command1_Click event code.


Article ID: 154822 - Last Review: February 27, 2014 - Revision: 4.1
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