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Programming Windows®, Fifth Edition by Charles Petzold

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Chapter 18. Metafiles

Metafiles are to vector graphics as bitmaps are to raster graphics. While bitmaps generally originate from real-world images, metafiles are constructed by humans, generally helped out by computer programs. A metafile consists of a series of binary records that correspond to graphics function calls, generally to draw straight lines, curves, filled areas, and text.

"Paint" programs create bitmaps; "draw" programs create metafiles. In a well-designed drawing program, you can easily "grab" a particular graphical object (such as a line) and move it somewhere else. That's because all the individual components of the picture are stored as separate records. In a paint program, such feats are not possible—you're generally restricted ...

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