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Working with WPF Grid Panel

Posted by Mahesh Chand Articles | WPF December 17, 2009
In this article, you will learn how to use a WPF Grid Panel using XAML and C#.
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Introduction

Grid Panel is the most complicated but versatile panel among all panels in WPF. A Grid panel can be used to design complicated user interfaces where we need to place multiple elements in a tabular for of rows and columns layout.

The Grid element in XAML represents a Grid panel. The following code snippet creates a Grid element and sets its background, width, height, vertical and horizontal alignment properties.

  1. <Grid Name="GridPanel" Background="Blue" Width="280" Height="220"  
  2.    VerticalAlignment="Top" HorizontalAlignment="Center" >  
  3. </Grid>  
The output looks like Figure 1.



Figure 1

Grid Properties


Grid has three major properties - RowDefinitions, ColumnDefinitions, and ShowGridLines. The RowDefinitions property is a collection of RowDefintion. The ColumnDefinitions property represents a collection of ColumnDefinition. The ShowGridLines property represents if grid lines of a Grid panel are visible or not.

Create Grid

The Grid element in XAML represents a WPF Grid control. The following code snippet creates a Grid control, sets it width and foreground color and make sure grid lines are visible.
  1. <Grid Name="MCGrid" Width="400" Background="LightSteelBlue" ShowGridLines="True" \>  
The ColumnDefinitions property is used to add columns and the RowDefinitions property is used to add rows to a Grid. The following code snippet adds three columns and three rows to a grid.
  1. <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  2.    <ColumnDefinition/>  
  3.    <ColumnDefinition/>  
  4.    <ColumnDefinition/>  
  5. </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  6. <Grid.RowDefinitions>  
  7.    <RowDefinition Height="45"/>  
  8.    <RowDefinition Height="45"/>  
  9.    <RowDefinition Height="45"/>  
  10. </Grid.RowDefinitions>  
Any control in WPF can be placed within a grid by using its Grid.Row and Grid.Column properties that represents what column and what row a control will be placed in. The values of rows and columns start with 0. That means, if there are three columns in a grid, first column would be represented by number 0. The following code snippet puts a TextBlock control in a cell that is in second row and third column.
  1. <TextBlock Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="2" Foreground="Green"  
  2. Text="Age" Height="20" VerticalAlignment="Top" />  
Listing 1 is the complete code to create a Grid with three columns and three rows and some text data in the grid cells.
  1. <Window x:Class="GridSample.Window1"  
  2.    xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation"  
  3.    xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml"  
  4.    Title="Window1" Height="300" Width="450" WindowStyle="ThreeDBorderWindow">  
  5.    <Grid Name="MCGrid" Width="400" Background="LightSteelBlue" ShowGridLines="True">  
  6.       <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  7.          <ColumnDefinition />  
  8.          <ColumnDefinition />  
  9.          <ColumnDefinition />  
  10.       </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  11.       <Grid.RowDefinitions>  
  12.          <RowDefinition Height="45" />  
  13.          <RowDefinition Height="45" />  
  14.          <RowDefinition Height="45" />  
  15.       </Grid.RowDefinitions>  
  16.   
  17.       <TextBlock FontSize="14" FontWeight="Bold" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="0" Foreground="Green"  
  18.          Text="Author Name" Height="20" VerticalAlignment="Top" />  
  19.       <TextBlock FontSize="14" FontWeight="Bold" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="1" Foreground="Green"  
  20.          Text="Age" Height="20" VerticalAlignment="Top" />  
  21.       <TextBlock FontSize="14" FontWeight="Bold" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="2" Foreground="Green"  
  22.          Text="Book" Height="20" VerticalAlignment="Top"/>  
  23.   
  24.       <TextBlock FontSize="12" Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="0">Mahesh Chand</TextBlock>  
  25.       <TextBlock FontSize="12" Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="1">33</TextBlock>  
  26.       <TextBlock FontSize="12" Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="2">GDI+ Programming</TextBlock>  
  27.       <TextBlock FontSize="12" Grid.Row="2" Grid.Column="0">Mike Gold</TextBlock>  
  28.       <TextBlock FontSize="12" Grid.Row="2" Grid.Column="1">35</TextBlock>  
  29.       <TextBlock FontSize="12" Grid.Row="2" Grid.Column="2">Programming C#</TextBlock>   
  30.    </Grid>  
  31. </Window>  
Listing 1

The output looks like this Figure 2.



Figure 2

Create a Grid Dynamically


The Grid class in WPF represents a Grid control. The following code snippet creates a Grid control, sets its width, horizontal alignment, vertical alignment, show grid lines, and background color.
  1. Grid DynamicGrid = new Grid();  
  2. DynamicGrid.Width = 400;  
  3. DynamicGrid.HorizontalAlignment = HorizontalAlignment.Left;  
  4. DynamicGrid.VerticalAlignment = VerticalAlignment.Top;  
  5. DynamicGrid.ShowGridLines = true;  
  6. DynamicGrid.Background = new SolidColorBrush(Colors.LightSteelBlue);  
The following code snippet adds three columns and three rows to Grid.
  1. // Create Columns  
  2. ColumnDefinition gridCol1 = new ColumnDefinition();  
  3. ColumnDefinition gridCol2 = new ColumnDefinition();  
  4. ColumnDefinition gridCol3 = new ColumnDefinition();  
  5. DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Add(gridCol1);  
  6. DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Add(gridCol2);  
  7. DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Add(gridCol3);  
  8.   
  9. // Create Rows  
  10. RowDefinition gridRow1 = new RowDefinition();  
  11. gridRow1.Height = new GridLength(45);  
  12. RowDefinition gridRow2 = new RowDefinition();  
  13. gridRow2.Height = new GridLength(45);  
  14. RowDefinition gridRow3 = new RowDefinition();  
  15. gridRow3.Height = new GridLength(45);  
  16. DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Add(gridRow1);  
  17. DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Add(gridRow2);  
  18. DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Add(gridRow3);  
Once rows and columns are added to Grid, you can add any contents to Grid cells by using SetRow and SetColumn methods. SetRow and SetColumn methods take first parameter as the control name and second parameter as row number and column number respectively. The following code snippet creates a TextBlock control and displays it in Cell(0,0) that represents the first row and first column of Grid.
  1. // Add first column header  
  2. TextBlock txtBlock1 = new TextBlock();  
  3. txtBlock1.Text = "Author Name";  
  4. txtBlock1.FontSize = 14;  
  5. txtBlock1.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  6. txtBlock1.Foreground = new SolidColorBrush(Colors.Green);  
  7. txtBlock1.VerticalAlignment = VerticalAlignment.Top;  
  8. Grid.SetRow(txtBlock1, 0);  
  9. Grid.SetColumn(txtBlock1, 0);  
Once a control is created and its position within Grid is set, next step is to add control to Grid by using Grid.Children.Add method. This code snippet adds a TextBlock to Grid.
  1. DynamicGrid.Children.Add(txtBlock1);  
The complete code is listed in Listing 2.
  1. private void CreateDynamicWPFGrid()  
  2. {  
  3.    // Create the Grid  
  4.    Grid DynamicGrid = new Grid();  
  5.    DynamicGrid.Width = 400;  
  6.    DynamicGrid.HorizontalAlignment = HorizontalAlignment.Left;  
  7.    DynamicGrid.VerticalAlignment = VerticalAlignment.Top;  
  8.    DynamicGrid.ShowGridLines = true;  
  9.    DynamicGrid.Background = new SolidColorBrush(Colors.LightSteelBlue);  
  10.   
  11.    // Create Columns  
  12.    ColumnDefinition gridCol1 = new ColumnDefinition();  
  13.    ColumnDefinition gridCol2 = new ColumnDefinition();  
  14.    ColumnDefinition gridCol3 = new ColumnDefinition();  
  15.    DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Add(gridCol1);  
  16.    DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Add(gridCol2);  
  17.    DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Add(gridCol3);  
  18.   
  19.    // Create Rows  
  20.    RowDefinition gridRow1 = new RowDefinition();  
  21.    gridRow1.Height = new GridLength(45);  
  22.    RowDefinition gridRow2 = new RowDefinition();  
  23.    gridRow2.Height = new GridLength(45);  
  24.    RowDefinition gridRow3 = new RowDefinition();  
  25.    gridRow3.Height = new GridLength(45);  
  26.    DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Add(gridRow1);  
  27.    DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Add(gridRow2);  
  28.    DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Add(gridRow3);  
  29.   
  30.    // Add first column header  
  31.    TextBlock txtBlock1 = new TextBlock();  
  32.    txtBlock1.Text = "Author Name";  
  33.    txtBlock1.FontSize = 14;  
  34.    txtBlock1.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  35.    txtBlock1.Foreground = new SolidColorBrush(Colors.Green);  
  36.    txtBlock1.VerticalAlignment = VerticalAlignment.Top;  
  37.    Grid.SetRow(txtBlock1, 0);  
  38.    Grid.SetColumn(txtBlock1, 0);  
  39.   
  40.    // Add second column header  
  41.    TextBlock txtBlock2 = new TextBlock();  
  42.    txtBlock2.Text = "Age";  
  43.    txtBlock2.FontSize = 14;  
  44.    txtBlock2.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  45.    txtBlock2.Foreground = new SolidColorBrush(Colors.Green);  
  46.    txtBlock2.VerticalAlignment = VerticalAlignment.Top;  
  47.    Grid.SetRow(txtBlock2, 0);  
  48.    Grid.SetColumn(txtBlock2, 1);  
  49.   
  50.    // Add third column header  
  51.    TextBlock txtBlock3 = new TextBlock();  
  52.    txtBlock3.Text = "Book";  
  53.    txtBlock3.FontSize = 14;  
  54.    txtBlock3.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  55.    txtBlock3.Foreground = new SolidColorBrush(Colors.Green);  
  56.    txtBlock3.VerticalAlignment = VerticalAlignment.Top;  
  57.    Grid.SetRow(txtBlock3, 0);  
  58.    Grid.SetColumn(txtBlock3, 2);  
  59.   
  60.    //// Add column headers to the Grid  
  61.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(txtBlock1);  
  62.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(txtBlock2);  
  63.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(txtBlock3);  
  64.   
  65.    // Create first Row  
  66.    TextBlock authorText = new TextBlock();  
  67.    authorText.Text = "Mahesh Chand";  
  68.    authorText.FontSize = 12;  
  69.    authorText.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  70.    Grid.SetRow(authorText, 1);  
  71.    Grid.SetColumn(authorText, 0);  
  72.   
  73.    TextBlock ageText = new TextBlock();  
  74.    ageText.Text = "33";  
  75.    ageText.FontSize = 12;  
  76.    ageText.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  77.    Grid.SetRow(ageText, 1);  
  78.    Grid.SetColumn(ageText, 1);  
  79.   
  80.    TextBlock bookText = new TextBlock();  
  81.    bookText.Text = "GDI+ Programming";  
  82.    bookText.FontSize = 12;  
  83.    bookText.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  84.    Grid.SetRow(bookText, 1);  
  85.    Grid.SetColumn(bookText, 2);  
  86.    // Add first row to Grid  
  87.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(authorText);  
  88.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(ageText);  
  89.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(bookText);  
  90.   
  91.    // Create second row  
  92.    authorText = new TextBlock();  
  93.    authorText.Text = "Mike Gold";  
  94.    authorText.FontSize = 12;  
  95.    authorText.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  96.    Grid.SetRow(authorText, 2);  
  97.    Grid.SetColumn(authorText, 0);  
  98.   
  99.    ageText = new TextBlock();  
  100.    ageText.Text = "35";  
  101.    ageText.FontSize = 12;  
  102.    ageText.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  103.    Grid.SetRow(ageText, 2);  
  104.    Grid.SetColumn(ageText, 1);  
  105.   
  106.    bookText = new TextBlock();  
  107.    bookText.Text = "Programming C#";  
  108.    bookText.FontSize = 12;  
  109.    bookText.FontWeight = FontWeights.Bold;  
  110.    Grid.SetRow(bookText, 2);  
  111.    Grid.SetColumn(bookText, 2);  
  112.   
  113.    // Add second row to Grid  
  114.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(authorText);  
  115.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(ageText);  
  116.    DynamicGrid.Children.Add(bookText);  
  117.   
  118.    // Display grid into a Window  
  119.    RootWindow.Content = DynamicGrid;  
  120. }  
Listing 2

Managing Column Width and Row Height

The ColumnDefinition has three properties that are used to manage the width of a column in a Grid. These properties are Width, MaxWidth, and MinWidth. The Width property represents the width of a column. The MaxWidth and MinWidth are used to set maximum and minimum width of a column.

The RowDefinition has three properties that are used to manage the height of a row in a Grid. These properties are Height, MaxHeight, and MinHeight. The Height property represents the height of a row. The MaxHeight and MinHeight are used to set maximum and minimum height of a row.

The code listed in Listing 3 sets the width of columns and height of rows in a Grid panel at design-time using XAML.
  1. <Grid Name="MCGrid" VerticalAlignment="Top"  
  2.    HorizontalAlignment="Left" Background="LightSteelBlue" ShowGridLines="False">  
  3.    <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  4.       <ColumnDefinition Width="120"/>  
  5.       <ColumnDefinition Width="50" />  
  6.       <ColumnDefinition Width="250"/>  
  7.    </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  8.    <Grid.RowDefinitions>  
  9.       <RowDefinition Height="25" />  
  10.       <RowDefinition Height="22" />  
  11.       <RowDefinition Height="22" />  
  12.       <RowDefinition Height="22" />  
  13.       <RowDefinition Height="22" />  
  14.       <RowDefinition Height="22" />  
  15.    </Grid.RowDefinitions>  
  16.   
  17.    <TextBlock FontSize="14" FontWeight="Bold" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="0"  
  18.       Text=" Author Name" Height="25"  
  19.       VerticalAlignment="Top"  
  20.       Background="DarkBlue" Foreground="WhiteSmoke" />  
  21.    <TextBlock FontSize="14" FontWeight="Bold" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="1"  
  22.       Text=" Age" Height="25" VerticalAlignment="Top"  
  23.       Background="DarkBlue" Foreground="WhiteSmoke" />  
  24.    <TextBlock FontSize="14" FontWeight="Bold" Grid.Row="0" Grid.Column="2"   
  25.       Text=" Book" Height="25" VerticalAlignment="Top"  
  26.       Background="DarkBlue" Foreground="WhiteSmoke" />  
  27.   
  28.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="0">Mahesh Chand</TextBlock>  
  29.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="1">33</TextBlock>  
  30.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="1" Grid.Column="2">GDI+ Programming</TextBlock>  
  31.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="2" Grid.Column="0">John Trotter</TextBlock>  
  32.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="2" Grid.Column="1">42</TextBlock>  
  33.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="2" Grid.Column="2">ADO.NET Programming Cookbook</TextBlock>  
  34.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="3" Grid.Column="0">Mike Gold</TextBlock>  
  35.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="3" Grid.Column="1">35</TextBlock>  
  36.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="3" Grid.Column="2">Programming C#</TextBlock>  
  37.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="4" Grid.Column="0">Raj Kumar</TextBlock>  
  38.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="4" Grid.Column="1">22</TextBlock>  
  39.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="4" Grid.Column="2">XAML Development with C#</TextBlock>  
  40.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="5" Grid.Column="0">Praveen Kumar</TextBlock>  
  41.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="5" Grid.Column="1">28</TextBlock>  
  42.    <TextBlock Grid.Row="5" Grid.Column="2">WPF and Visual Studio 2010</TextBlock>  
  43. </Grid>  
Listing 3

The output of Listing looks like Figure 3.



Figure 3

Add and Remove Columns


The Add method of Grid.ColumnDefinitions adds a new column to Grid.
  1. DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Add(new ColumnDefinition());  
The Grid.ColumnDefinitions.Insert method adds a column at a given position. The following code adds a new column at position 3 in a Grid.
  1. DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Insert(3, new ColumnDefinition());  
The RemoveAt method of Grid.ColumnDefinitions deletes a column at the given position.
  1. DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.RemoveAt(3);  
The Clear method of Grid.ColumnDefinitions deletes all columns in a Grid.
  1. DynamicGrid.ColumnDefinitions.Clear();  
Add and Remove Rows

The Add method of Grid.RowDefinitions adds a new row to a Grid.
  1. DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Add(new RowDefinition());  
The Grid.RowDefinitions.Insert method adds a row at a given position.
  1. DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Insert(3, new RowDefinition ());  
The RemoveAt method of Grid.RowDefinitions deletes a row at the given position.
  1. DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.RemoveAt(3);  
The Clear method of Grid.RowDefinitions deletes all rows in a Grid.
  1. DynamicGrid.RowDefinitions.Clear();  
Resize WPF Grid Rows with a GridSplitter

The following code snippet adds a Grid splitter to a Grid that you can use to resize a Grid row.
  1. <Grid Name="DynamicGrid" Width="466" Background="LightSteelBlue" ShowGridLines="True"  
  2.    Canvas.Top="119" Canvas.Left="8" Height="200">  
  3.    <Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  4.       <ColumnDefinition />  
  5.       <ColumnDefinition />  
  6.       <ColumnDefinition />  
  7.    </Grid.ColumnDefinitions>  
  8.    <Grid.RowDefinitions>  
  9.       <RowDefinition Height="50*" />  
  10.       <RowDefinition Height="Auto" />  
  11.       <RowDefinition Height="50*" />  
  12.    </Grid.RowDefinitions>  
  13.   
  14.    <GridSplitter  
  15.       ResizeDirection="Rows"  
  16.       Grid.Column="0"  
  17.       Grid.ColumnSpan="10"  
  18.       Grid.Row="1"  
  19.       Width="Auto"  
  20.       Height="3"  
  21.       HorizontalAlignment="Stretch"  
  22.       VerticalAlignment="Stretch"  
  23.       Margin="0"  
  24.       Background="Green"/>  
  25. </Grid>  
Formatting Grid

The Background property of Grid sets the background colors of a Grid. The following code snippet uses linear gradient brushes to draw the background of a Grid.
  1. <Grid.Background>  
  2.    <LinearGradientBrush StartPoint="0,0" EndPoint="1,1" >  
  3.       <GradientStop Color="Blue" Offset="0.1" />  
  4.       <GradientStop Color="Orange" Offset="0.25" />  
  5.       <GradientStop Color="Green" Offset="0.75" />  
  6.       <GradientStop Color="Red" Offset="1.0" />  
  7.    </LinearGradientBrush>  
  8. </Grid.Background>  
The new Grid looks like Figure 4.



Figure 4

Setting Image as Background of a Grid


To set an image as background of a Grid, we can set an image as the Background of the Grid. The following code snippet sets the background of a Grid to an image. The code also sets the opacity of the image.
  1. <Grid.Background>  
  2.    <ImageBrush ImageSource="Flower.jpg" Opacity="0.3"/>  
  3. </Grid.Background>  
The new output looks like Figure 5.



Figure 5

Summary


In this article, we learned how to use a Grid panel in WPF at design-time in XAML and code-behind in C#. We also saw how set various properties of a Grid Panel. After that we learned how to work with rows and columns of a Grid panel. In the end of this article, we saw how to format a Grid panel.

 

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