Given a 16-bit TAG from an item in a Shim Database (SDB) file, this function gets a plain-language description.


PCWSTR SdbTagToString (TAG tag);


The tag argument is a 16-bit tag from an SDB file.

Return Value

The function returns the address of a read-only null-terminated Unicode string that describes the given tag.


The SdbTagToString function is exported by name from APPHELP.DLL in version 5.1 and higher, and before then from SDBAPIU.DLL.

Documentation Status

The SdbTagToString function is documented, though apparently only ever online, never in documentation supplied with any Software Development Kit (SDK). No header in any known SDK has a C-language declaration. Neither does any known SDK provide an import library.


The function simply looks up the given tag in a conversion table and returns the address of the corresponding string. There is no failure: if the tag is invalid, the returned string describes the tag as invalid. The string is in APPHELP’s read-only data.

The descriptive string is of a sort that would be immediately suitable for an XML tag or for the name in a name="value" statement. For tags that Microsoft documents, Microsoft’s symbolic name for the tag is TAG_name. What makes this function worth documenting given that Microsoft already documents it is that the conversion table tells of very many more tags than Microsoft documents.