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OpenGL 1.1 for AIX: Reference Manual

glDrawElements Subroutine


Renders primitives from array data.


OpenGL C bindings library: libGL.a

C Syntax

void glDrawElements(GLenum mode,
                     GLsizei count,
                     GLenum type,
                     const GLvoid *indices)


mode Specifies what kind of primitives to render. Symbolic constants GL_POINTS, GL_LINE_STRIP, GL_LINE_LOOP, GL_LINES, GL_TRIANGLE_STRIP, GL_TRIANGLE_FAN, GL_TRIANGLES, GL_QUAD_STRIP, GL_QUADS, and GL_POLYGON are accepted.
count Specifies the number of elements to be rendered.
type Specifies the type of the values in indices. Must be one of GL_UNSIGNED_BYTE, GL_UNSIGNED_SHORT, or GL_UNSIGNED_INT.
indices Specifies a pointer to the location where the indices are stored.


The glDrawElements subroutine lets you specify multiple geometric primitives with very few subroutine calls. Instead of calling a GL function to pass each individual vertex, normal, texture coordinate, edge flage, or color, you can prespecify separate arrays of vertexes, normals, and so on and use them to construct a sequence of primitives with a single call to glDrawElements.

When glDrawElements is called, it uses count sequential elements from indices to construct a sequence of geometric primitives. GLenum mode specifies what kind of primitives are constructed and how the array elements construct these primitives. If GL_VERTEX_ARRAY is not enabled, no geometric primitives are generated.

Vertex attributes that are modified by glDrawElements have an unspecified value after glDrawElements returns. For example, if GL_COLOR_ARRAY is enabled, the value of the current color is undefined after glDrawElements executes. Attributes that are not modified remain well defined.


The glDrawElements subroutine is available only if the GL version is 1.1 or greater.

The glDrawElements subroutine is included in display lists. If glDrawElements is entered into a display list, the necessary array data (determined by the array pointers and enables) is also entered into the display list. Because the array pointers and enables are client side state, their values affect display lists when the lists are created, not when the lists are executed.


GL_INVALID_ENUM is generated if mode is not an accepted value.

GL_INVALID_VALUE is generated if count is negative.

GL_INVALID_OPERATION is generated if glDrawElements is executed between the execution of glBegin and the corresponding glEnd.

Associated Gets


glIsEnabled with argument GL_TEXTURE_1D

Related Information

The glArrayElement subroutine, glColorPointer subroutine, glDrawArrays subroutine, glEdgeFlagPointer subroutine, glGetPointerv subroutine, glIndexPointer subroutine, glNormalPointer subroutine, glTexCoordPointer subroutine, glVertexPointer subroutine.

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