When a C++ subclass object is being passed to a function which accepts base class objects, the C++ compiler implementation is so the subclass object pointer gets shifted down to point to the corresponding virtual table. So, the object may be passed to a function starting from the offset of that virtual table.

I'm trying to find a way how to pass the pointer to an offset within an object to a function in IDA decompiled view.

I tried to set the type of the function argument something like struct->field * or struct.field * but that doesn't work.

  • Its not quite clear what you're asking here. Could you please elaborate?
    – NirIzr
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 7:58
  • On this page: hex-rays.com/products/decompiler/manual/cmd_numform.shtml you can find the following text: Please note that v2 must be declared as a pointer to the corresponding structure field, otherwise the conversion may fail. So, I just want to know how to declare a pointer to the structure field? Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


In order to get Hexrays to detect that your subtype passed as an argument is actually a member of a bigger parent type, you have to declare the parent type as a structure, and declare the corresponding field in this parent struct as a pointer to the subtype.

The function argument type is irrelevant for this purpose, and should have the type of the substruct.


  • So, I can create a subtype and pass its pointer to the function. But in this case, I would need to do some tricks if the functions uses negative offsets. But is it possible to pass a structure field as a function argument? v2 must be declared as a pointer to the corresponding structure field how can this be achieved? Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:37
  • The whole principle of the CONTAINING_RECORD macro is to use negative offset to actually get a reference to the parent structure. See the link I just added to my answer for more details. Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 20:58

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