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UI Automation Properties Overview

NoteNote

This documentation is intended for .NET Framework developers who want to use the managed UI Automation classes defined in the System.Windows.Automation namespace. For the latest information about UI Automation, see Windows Automation API: UI Automation.

UI Automation providers expose properties on Microsoft UI Automation elements. These properties enable UI Automation client applications to discover information about pieces of the user interface (UI), especially controls, including both static and dynamic data.

This topic contains the following sections.

This section gives a broad overview of Microsoft UI Automation properties. More specific information is given in the following topics:

Every property is identified by a number and a name. The names of properties are used only for debugging and diagnosis. Providers use the numeric IDs to identify incoming property requests. Client applications, however, only use AutomationProperty, which encapsulates the number and name, to identify properties they wish to retrieve.

AutomationProperty objects representing particular properties are available as fields in various classes. For security reasons, UI Automation providers obtain these objects from a separate set of classes that are contained in Uiautomationtypes.dll.

The following table categorizes properties by the classes that contain the AutomationProperty IDs.

Kinds of properties

Clients get IDs from

Providers get IDs from

Properties common to all elements (see following tables)

AutomationElement

AutomationElementIdentifiers

Position of a docking window

DockPattern

DockPatternIdentifiers

State of an element that can expand and collapse

ExpandCollapsePattern

ExpandCollapsePatternIdentifiers

Properties of an item in a grid

GridItemPattern

GridItemPatternIdentifiers

Properties of a grid

GridPattern

GridPatternIdentifiers

Current and supported view of an element that has multiple views

MultipleViewPattern

MultipleViewPatternIdentifiers

Properties of an element that moves over a range of values, such as a slider

RangeValuePattern

RangeValuePatternIdentifiers

Properties of a scrolling window

ScrollPattern

ScrollPatternIdentifiers

Status and container of an item that can be selected, as in a list

SelectionItemPattern

SelectionItemPatternIdentifiers

Properties of a control that contains selection items

SelectionPattern

SelectionPatternIdentifiers

Column and row headers of an item in a table

TableItemPattern

TableItemPatternIdentifiers

Column and row headers, and orientation, of a table

TablePattern

TablePatternIdentifiers

State of a toggle control

TogglePattern

TogglePatternIdentifiers

Capabilities of an element that can be moved, rotated, or resized

TransformPattern

TransformPatternIdentifiers

Value and read/write capabilities of an element that has a value

ValuePattern

ValuePatternIdentifiers

Capabilities and state of a window

WindowPattern

WindowPatternIdentifiers

The following tables categorize the properties whose IDs are found in AutomationElement and AutomationElementIdentifiers. These properties are common to all controls. All but a few of them are likely to be static over the lifetime of the provider application; most dynamic properties are associated with control patterns.

The Property Access column lists any other accessors for each property, in addition to GetCurrentPropertyValue and GetCachedPropertyValue. For more information on getting properties in a client application, see UI Automation Properties for Clients.

NoteNote

For specific information about each property, follow the link in the Property Access column.

Display Characteristics
Element Type
Identification
Interaction
Support for Patterns
Miscellaneous

UI Automation providers should present the following properties in the language of the operating system:

Closely tied in with the properties in UI Automation is the concept of property-changed events. For dynamic properties, the client application needs a way to know that a property value has changed, so that it can update its cache of information or react to the new information in some other way.

Providers raise events when something in the UI changes. For example, if a check box is selected or cleared, a property-changed event is raised by the provider's implementation of the Toggle pattern. Providers can raise events selectively, depending on whether any clients are listening for events, or listening for specific events.

Not all property changes raise events; that is entirely up to the implementation of the UI Automation provider for the element. For example, the standard proxy providers for list boxes do not raise an event when the SelectionProperty changes. In this case, the application instead must listen for an ElementSelectedEvent.

Clients listen for events by subscribing to them. Subscribing to events means creating delegate methods that can handle the events, and then passing the methods to UI Automation along with the specific events that will be dealt with in those methods. For property-changed events in particular, clients must implement AutomationPropertyChangedEventHandler.

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