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Using a Resource Dictionary in WPF

, 11 Apr 2009
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In this short article, we are going to see a few tricks about using a Resource Dictionary in WPF, how we can merge it in XAML, and how we can use it in C#.

Introduction

In this short article, we are going to see a few tricks about using a resource dictionary in WPF, how we can merge it in XAML, and how we can use it in C#.

Adding a WPF Resource Dictionary

Since WPF applications have rich media and graphics support, reusable styles need to be utilized and in a managed way. We can define the styles in WPF XAML files, or perhaps we can manage to accumulate all our useful styles for a particular application in a resource dictionary file. Adding a resource dictionary is pretty simple. We have to select the project or folder in Solution Explorer and then right click and select “Add”. We will get a menu item called “Resource Dictionary”. Clicking on that menu item will popup up the Add New Item wizard with the Resource Dictionary Item template selected. Rename the item as you wish.

AddResourceDictionary

In a ResouceDictionary, we can keep our custom styles, DataTemplates, ControlTemplates, even custom definitions for Brush, Color, Background and a lot of other stuff. But, the important thing is that we have to assign a key to each of them since it is a Dictionary. Or perhaps, we can give names to the styles.

Using Resource Files in XAML

In this section, we are going to see how we can import a resource file to a XAML file for a user control or a Window or a page. Below is provided a simple code listing for demonstration. Since we can have a resource dictionary for each control, we are going to merge the other resource files to the existing resource dictionary.

<Window x:Class="WPFDemo.Window1"
    xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"
    xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"
    Title="Window1" Height="300" Width="300">
    <Window.Resources>
        <ResourceDictionary>
            <ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
                <ResourceDictionary 
                  Source="Resources/MyResourceDictionary.xaml">
                </ResourceDictionary>
                <ResourceDictionary 
                  Source="Resources/OthersStyle.xaml">
                </ResourceDictionary>
            </ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries>
        </ResourceDictionary>
    </Window.Resources>
    <Grid>
        <Image Source="/WPFDemo;component/Images/AddResourceDictionary.jpg"></Image>
    </Grid>
</Window>

Using Resource Files in C#

There can be cases where we need to access a resource dictionary that we have defined in our project, from C# code. If we have already merged our resource dictionary in XAML, it is easy to access the inner resources using the control.FindResource("KeyWillGoHere"); method. But ,if we haven’t merged the resources in XAML and we still need to use the resource dictionary, we have options to use the stuff directly in C# code. Here is a simple code snippet given for better understanding:

public partial class Window1 : Window
{
    private ResourceDictionary myresourcedictionary;
    private ResourceDictionary mystyles;

    public Window1()
    {
        InitializeComponent();
        
        myresourcedictionary = new ResourceDictionary();

        myresourcedictionary.Source = 
            new Uri("/WPFDemo;component/Resources/MyResourceDictionary.xaml", 
                UriKind.RelativeOrAbsolute);

        mystyles = new ResourceDictionary();

        mystyles.Source = new Uri("/WPFDemo;component/Resources/OthersStyle.xaml",
                UriKind.RelativeOrAbsolute);

    }

    public void ApplyStyle()
    {
        Style mybuttonstyle = mystyles["MyStyle"] as Style;
        Button mybutton = new Button();
        mybutton.Style = mybuttonstyle;
    }
}

We have used a URI to get hold of our resource dictionary content. I must mention one thing here that, while defining the URI, the project name goes first, then the relative path. The UriKind option is very important. If we don’t mention the UriKind, it will be unable to parse the URI and find the resource. Since this is a resource dictionary, we have to access the styles using keys, just like in a normal dictionary.

Summary

In this short article, we have seen how we can add a WPF ResourceDictionary to our app and how we can use the resource dictionary both in XAML and C#. Best of luck, and happy coding!

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Rahman Masudur
Software Developer (Senior) Satori Tech Solutions, Inc.
Australia Australia
About Md. Masudur Rahman
 
Masudur currently works at Satori Tech Solutions, Inc. as a software developer. Masudur Lives in Sydney, Australia.
 
Awards
 
26 May 2009: Monthly competition: Best ASP.NET article of April 2009
 
24 Mar 2009: Monthly competition: Best ASP.NET article of February 2009
 
Masudur Blog
 
Masudur put down his interesting learning experiences in his blog at http://munnaondotnet.blogspot.com/.

Comments and Discussions

 
AnswerNot bad Pinmembergamekoff6-Nov-13 22:38 
GeneralMy vote of 2 PinmemberAndy Missico27-Sep-13 10:12 
QuestionNo good Pinmemberstephenthomas2-Dec-12 12:14 
QuestionThanks man... PinmemberCrazyTasty13-Oct-12 15:26 
QuestionThank you PinmemberChenNoam3-Sep-12 21:43 
AnswerRe: Thank you PinmemberRahman Masudur3-Sep-12 23:24 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberMartin Lottering24-Jul-12 0:12 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pinmemberrama charan17-May-12 0:33 
QuestionChange position PinmemberAtlence29-Apr-12 7:34 
QuestionMy vote of 5 PinmemberCandyJoin29-Mar-12 9:49 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberErik Rude12-Mar-12 3:28 
GeneralMy vote of 1 PinmemberNew Coder On The Block2-Feb-12 6:17 
QuestionHow to refer resource dictionary inside another resource dictionary? Pinmembersriki2429-Dec-11 2:58 
GeneralMy vote of 4 PinmemberBulakaxa12-Oct-11 3:35 
GeneralMy vote of 4 PinmemberMauricio Leyzaola17-Sep-11 16:50 
QuestionThank you PinmemberMember 78431803-Aug-11 20:18 
GeneralMy vote of 1 PinmemberAlberto Molero22-Feb-11 2:31 
GeneralMy vote of 1 PinmemberMartin Daly8-Nov-10 0:09 
GeneralThanks guy you saved my time! PinmemberCuchuk Sergey2-Oct-10 2:37 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberSascha Andres16-Aug-10 3:01 
GeneralMy vote of 2 Pinmemberlimbique7-Aug-10 23:58 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmemberdave ajv11-Jul-10 13:39 
GeneralMy vote of 1 PingroupNorm .net16-Jun-10 4:26 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmemberchameau15-Jun-10 8:23 
GeneralUnable to find the uri Pinmemberdashingsidds19-Apr-10 1:14 

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