WPF Controls: Styles & Templates

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) has a lot of controls that can be highly customized.

Every WPF control has a Template which is the main control template, you can overwrite a control template entirely.

Most of WPF controls inherit from ContentControl which allows you to put anything inside them. A ListBox for example allows you to put highly customized controls for each item bound. An example of listbox items can be found in the image bellow. Each item is rendered as a sort of rectangle with some text inside.

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Styles are a list of values that will be set on the control properties. You can set properties and events.

A Style can be defined in any control Resource. If you define a Key you have to refer to it in the elements you want to apply the style to, it is like setting a class of a tag in CSS. And in some cases you can omit the x:Key and specify only the TargetType, by doing that you are going to apply the style to all elements of that tag. Like creating a CSS for tags.

<Style x:Key="hugeStyle" TargetType="Label">
<Setter Property="FontSize" Value="100" />

<Label Style="{StaticResource hugeStyle}" Content="Hugeee" />


WPF controls have templates that can be set. ItemsControl have the ItemTemplate that can be overwritten to display data in a custom format. By default a listbox converts the object to a string. If you want to display custom data in a custom format you have to change the template. In a template the context of your bindings is set to the element being bound.

<Label Content="{Binding Name}" />
<Label Content="{Binding Age}" />

This way you can customize any WPF control.