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Sizing Options in the DataGrid Control

Various options are available to control how the DataGrid sizes itself. The DataGrid, and individual rows and columns in the DataGrid, can be set to size automatically to their contents or can be set to specific values. By default, the DataGrid will grow and shrink to fit the size of its contents.

Cautions When Using Automatic Sizing

By default, the Height and Width properties of the DataGrid are set to Double.NaN ("Auto" in XAML), and the DataGrid will adjust to the size of its contents.

When placed inside a container that does not restrict the size of its children, such as a Canvas or StackPanel, the DataGrid will stretch beyond the visible bounds of the container and scrollbars will not be shown. This condition has both usability and performance implications.

When bound to a data set, if the Height of the DataGrid is not restricted, it will continue to add a row for each data item in the bound data set. This can cause the DataGrid to grow outside the visible bounds of your application as rows are added. The DataGrid will not show scrollbars in this case because its Height will continue to grow to accommodate the new rows.

An object is created for each row in the DataGrid. If you are working with a large data set and you allow the DataGrid to automatically size itself, the creation of a large number of objects may affect the performance of your application.

To avoid these issues when you work with large data sets, it is recommended that you specifically set the Height of the DataGrid or place it in a container that will restrict its Height, such as a Grid. When the Height is restricted, the DataGrid will only create the rows that will fit within its specified Height, and will recycle those rows as needed to display new data.

Setting the DataGrid Size

The DataGrid can be set to automatically size within specified boundaries, or the DataGrid can be set to a specific size. The following table shows the properties that can be set to control the DataGrid size.

Property

Description

Height

Sets a specific height for the DataGrid.

MaxHeight

Sets the upper bound for the height of the DataGrid. The DataGrid will grow vertically until it reaches this height.

MinHeight

Sets the lower bound for the height of the DataGrid. The DataGrid will shrink vertically until it reaches this height.

Width

Sets a specific width for the DataGrid.

MaxWidth

Sets the upper bound for the width of the DataGrid. The DataGrid will grow horizontally until it reaches this width.

MinWidth

Sets the lower bound for the width of the DataGrid. The DataGrid will shrink horizontally until it reaches this width.

DataGrid Rows

By default, a DataGrid row's Height property is set to Double.NaN ("Auto" in XAML), and the row height will expand to the size of its contents. The height of all rows in the DataGrid can be specified by setting the DataGrid.RowHeight property. Users can change the row height by dragging the row header dividers.

DataGrid Row Headers

To display row headers, the HeadersVisibility property must be set to DataGridHeadersVisibility.Row or DataGridHeadersVisibility.All. By default, row headers are displayed and they automatically size to fit their content. The row headers can be given a specific width by setting the DataGrid.RowHeaderWidth property.

DataGrid Columns

The DataGrid uses values of the DataGridLength and the DataGridLengthUnitType structure to specify absolute or automatic sizing modes.

The following table shows the values provided by the DataGridLengthUnitType structure.

Name

Description

Auto

The default automatic sizing mode sizes DataGrid columns based on the contents of both cells and column headers.

SizeToCells

The cell-based automatic sizing mode sizes DataGrid columns based on the contents of cells in the column, not including column headers.

SizeToHeader

The header-based automatic sizing mode sizes DataGrid columns based on the contents of column headers only.

Pixel

The pixel-based sizing mode sizes DataGrid columns based on the numeric value provided.

Star

The star sizing mode is used to distribute available space by weighted proportions.

In XAML, star values are expressed as n* where n represents a numeric value. 1* is equivalent to *. For example, if two columns in a DataGrid had widths of * and 2*, the first column would receive one portion of the available space and the second column would receive two portions of the available space.

The DataGridLengthConverter class can be used to convert data between numeric or string values and DataGridLength values.

By default, the DataGrid.ColumnWidth property is set to SizeToHeader, and the DataGridColumn.Width property is set to Auto. When the sizing mode is set to Auto or SizeToCells, columns will grow to the width of their widest visible content. When scrolling, these sizing modes will cause columns to expand if content that is larger than the current column size is scrolled into view. The column will not shrink after the content is scrolled out of view.

Columns in the DataGrid can also be set to automatically size only within specified boundaries, or columns can be set to a specific size. The following table shows the properties that can be set to control column sizes.

Property

Description

DataGrid.MaxColumnWidth

Sets the upper bound for all columns in the DataGrid.

DataGridColumn.MaxWidth

Sets the upper bound for an individual column. Overrides DataGrid.MaxColumnWidth.

DataGrid.MinColumnWidth

Sets the lower bound for all columns in the DataGrid.

DataGridColumn.MinWidth

Sets the lower bound for an individual column. Overrides DataGrid.MinColumnWidth.

DataGrid.ColumnWidth

Sets a specific width for all columns in the DataGrid.

DataGridColumn.Width

Sets a specific width for an individual column. Overrides DataGrid.ColumnWidth.

DataGrid Column Headers

By default, DataGrid column headers are displayed. To hide column headers, the HeadersVisibility property must be set to DataGridHeadersVisibility.Row or DataGridHeadersVisibility.None. By default, when column headers are displayed, they automatically size to fit their content. The column headers can be given a specific height by setting the DataGrid.ColumnHeaderHeight property.

Resizing with the Mouse

Users can resize DataGrid rows and columns by dragging the row or column header dividers. The DataGrid also supports automatic resizing of rows and columns by double-clicking the row or column header divider. To prevent a user from resizing particular columns, set the DataGridColumn.CanUserResize property to false for the individual columns. To prevent users from resizing all columns, set the DataGrid.CanUserResizeColumns property to false. To prevent users from resizing all rows, set the DataGrid.CanUserResizeRows property to false.

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