How to Find WPF Child Control by Name or Type?


(jms) #1

I need to search a WPF control hierarchy for controls that match a given name or type.

How can I do that?


(SAM) #2

You can use the VisualTreeHelper to find controls. Below is a method that uses the VisualTreeHelper to find a parent control of a specified type. You can use the VisualTreeHelper to find controls in other ways as well.

public static class UIHelper
{
   /// <summary>
   /// Finds a parent of a given item on the visual tree.
   /// </summary>
   /// <typeparam name="T">The type of the queried item.</typeparam>
   /// <param name="child">A direct or indirect child of the queried item.</param>
   /// <returns>The first parent item that matches the submitted type parameter. 
   /// If not matching item can be found, a null reference is being returned.</returns>
   public static T FindVisualParent<T>(DependencyObject child)
     where T : DependencyObject
   {
      // get parent item
      DependencyObject parentObject = VisualTreeHelper.GetParent(child);

      // we’ve reached the end of the tree
      if (parentObject == null) return null;

      // check if the parent matches the type we’re looking for
      T parent = parentObject as T;
      if (parent != null)
      {
         return parent;
      }
      else
      {
         // use recursion to proceed with next level
         return FindVisualParent<T>(parentObject);
      }
   }
}

Call it like this:

Window owner = UIHelper.FindVisualParent<Window>(myControl);

(Yay) #3

WPF Snoop is a useful tool in looking at the visual tree - I’d strongly recommend using it while testing or using this algorithm to check your work.

There is a small error in Tri Q’s Algorithm. After the child is found, if childrenCount is > 1 and we iterate again we can overwrite the properly found child. Therefore I added a if (foundChild != null) break; into my code to deal with this condition.

/// <summary>
/// Finds a Child of a given item in the visual tree. 
/// </summary>
/// <param name="parent">A direct parent of the queried item.</param>
/// <typeparam name="T">The type of the queried item.</typeparam>
/// <param name="childName">x:Name or Name of child. </param>
/// <returns>The first parent item that matches the submitted type parameter. 
/// If not matching item can be found, 
/// a null parent is being returned.</returns>
public static T FindChild<T>(DependencyObject parent, string childName)
   where T : DependencyObject
{    
  // Confirm parent and childName are valid. 
  if (parent == null) return null;
  T foundChild = null;
  int childrenCount = VisualTreeHelper.GetChildrenCount(parent);
  for (int i = 0; i < childrenCount; i++)
  {
    var child = VisualTreeHelper.GetChild(parent, i);
    // If the child is not of the request child type child
    T childType = child as T;
    if (childType == null)
    {
      // recursively drill down the tree
      foundChild = FindChild<T>(child, childName);
      // If the child is found, break so we do not overwrite the found child. 
      if (foundChild != null) break;
    }
    else if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(childName))
    {
      var frameworkElement = child as FrameworkElement;
      // If the child's name is set for search
      if (frameworkElement != null && frameworkElement.Name == childName)
      {
        // if the child's name is of the request name
        foundChild = (T)child;
        break;
      }
    }
    else
    {
      // child element found.
      foundChild = (T)child;
      break;
    }
  }
  return foundChild;
}

Call it like this:

TextBox foundTextBox = UIHelper.FindChild<TextBox>(Application.Current.MainWindow, "myTextBoxName");

Note Application.Current.MainWindow can be any parent window.