VisualTreeHelper.FindElementsInHostCoordinates(Point, UIElement, Boolean) method

Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

Retrieves a set of objects that are located within a specified x-y coordinate point of an app UI. The set of objects represents the components of a visual tree that share that point.


static IIterable<UIElement>^ FindElementsInHostCoordinates(
  Point intersectingPoint, 
  UIElement^ subtree, 
  bool includeAllElements



Type: Point

The point to use as the determination point. This point is using the coordinate space of the app window, not of any specific element (and not of subtree if specified).


Type: UIElement

An object to search for. If the subtree object exists in the overall set of elements that exist at the specified intersectingPoint coordinates, then the return value contains only the subtree object and any objects that have a higher z-order than subtree, listed by inverse of z-order. If the subtree object doesn't exist at intersectingPoint coordinates, the return value will be empty.

Passing null is legal; see Remarks.


Type: System.Boolean [.NET] | Platform::Boolean [C++]

true to include all elements that intersect, including those elements considered to be invisible to hit testing. false to find only visible, hit-testable elements. The default is false.

Return value

Type: IIterable<UIElement> [C++] | System.Collections.Generic.IEnumerable<UIElement> [.NET]

An enumerable set of UIElement objects that are determined to be located in the visual tree composition at the specified point, listed by inverse of z-order.

The elements returned from the visual tree might be modified by the subtree parameter. See Remarks.


The return value is not a single element, it is a collection. The collection can have more than one element because there can be multiple UI elements stacked over each other in a z-order. The conventional hit-testing techniques exposed by the input event handlers, such as the sender value for a PointerPressed event, only account for the topmost element that has the highest z-order. FindElementsInHostCoordinates methods return the whole stack of elements that share that point or area in the app UI, ordered by inverse of z-order. Using FindElementsInHostCoordinates can thus be useful for examining cases where you've intentionally or unintentionally stacked elements. You may want to correct the order for rendering and hit-testing, or examine that order for other reasons.

FindElementsInHostCoordinates is useful for three scenarios: basic hit testing, hit testing that is filtering for a specific element, and determining whether there are elements in a visual tree that are overdrawing at the same point.

Basic hit testing

For basic hit testing, the goal is to discover which element is highest in the z-order of an app UI at a given point in x-y coordinates. In addition to being the element that draws topmost in the rendered UI, this element is also important because it's the reported event source if there are user interactions such as pointer events. You might have hit testing scenarios where you want to know what element exists at the top z-order before any input event takes place, so that you can anticipate it and perhaps correct any mistakes in z-order placement.

For this scenario, you should pass the point you're interested in hit-testing as the value of the intersectingPoint parameter. For the subtree parameter, you can pass it as null. Or you can specify subtree to be some element that you know is the root visual of a page, or is otherwise some element that you know is covering the entirety of the app window that's available for hit testing.

The element that is topmost in the z-order is always the first element in the returned IEnumerable of UIElement items. So for basic hit testing you're usually only interested in that very first item. Any additional items in the IEnumerable are other elements that are also at that point but are further back in the z-order and are drawing underneath that first item. The elements further back wouldn't report themselves as the source for an input event at that point, only the topmost element would.

Element-filtered hit testing

Sometimes you want to know whether a specific element exists at a certain point in the UI. If so, you can specify that point for intersectingPoint and specify the element you're looking for as the subtree parameter. If the return value is not empty, that means that the element does exist at that point in the UI. If the element is the first item in the return value, that means the element is topmost in the z-order at intersectingPoint. If there are other items in the return value and subtree isn't first, the other items represent the elements rendering at intersectingPoint that are higher in z-order (visually, these render on top of the subtree element). In that case subtree is the last element in the returned IEnumerable, not the first.

If the return value is empty, that means that the subtree element didn't exist there, at any z-order value.

Looking for overdraw or looking at the complete visual tree

A UI can be dynamic, especially if you're using collections from data binding for UI population. So there's occasionally a need to know which element is currently on top. You might be anticipating points in the app where the user might interact and verifying that the interactions you intend are currently possible. For this scenario, you typically specify a Point value that represents some known point such as (0,0) that is currently a valid coordinate that's within your app window. For the subtree parameter, you can pass it as null. Or you can specify subtree to be some element that you know is the root visual of a page, or is otherwise some element that you want to be the final stop for hit testing.

Note  If you pass null for subtree, you might see that the visual tree contains elements that aren't defined by page-level XAML, such as a Frame element and ContentPresenter. These come from the typical app initialization code that exists in most of the Microsoft Visual Studio project templates for a Windows Store app, which first creates the Frame to be the Window.Content value. The visual tree as shown by FindElementsInHostCoordinates methods extends all the way to Window.Content unless you otherwise filter it with a subtree element such as a Page root.

In the return value, you might be interested in each of the items within. So you could use foreach or similar language-specific techniques to iterate the collection and run your own logic on each of these elements. Remember that the first element in that collection is the one that is topmost in z-order.

If you are programming using C# or Microsoft Visual Basic, the return value type of this method is projected as an IEnumerable generic collection that contains UIElement items. If you are programming using Visual C++ component extensions (C++/CX), the return type of this method is IIterable<UIElement>.


Given this XAML UI:

<Canvas Name="canvas">
  <Rectangle Name="outermost" Fill="Red" Width="200" Height="200" />
  <Rectangle Canvas.Left="40" Canvas.Top="40" Name="hidden" Fill="Green" Width="120" Height="120"/>
  <Rectangle Canvas.Left="40" Canvas.Top="40" Name="shown" Fill="Orange" Width="120" Height="120"/>
  <Rectangle Canvas.Left="80" Canvas.Top="80" Name="center" Fill="Yellow" Width="40" Height="40"/>
  <Rectangle Canvas.Left="190" Canvas.Top="190" Name="bottomright" Fill="Pink" Width="10" Height="10"/>

Here are some example usages and results from FindElementsInHostCoordinates, using different subtree values:

private void Test(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
    IEnumerable<UIElement> hits;
    hits =  VisualTreeHelper.FindElementsInHostCoordinates(
      new Point(100,100), canvas, true);
    foreach (UIElement element in hits)
        //run logic here, such as log the results 
// results in the following set of elements, listed by Name:
// center - the element that is topmost in z-order at 100,100
// shown - also renders at 100,100 but is underneath 'center'
// hidden - is entirely underneath 'shown', 
//   and lower in z-order because 'hidden' declared before 'shown' in XAML
// outermost - draws under all the above at 100,100
// canvas - the 'subtree' value, so that's the last element reported

    hits = VisualTreeHelper.FindElementsInHostCoordinates(
      new Point(100, 100), center, true);
    foreach (UIElement element in hits) {
        //run logic here, such as log the results
// results in 'center', because it is 'subtree' and also topmost

    hits = VisualTreeHelper.FindElementsInHostCoordinates(
      new Point(100, 100), bottomright, true);
// results in an empty set, 'bottomright' doesn't render at 100,100


Minimum supported client

Windows 8

Minimum supported server

Windows Server 2012

Minimum supported phone

Windows Phone 8.1 [Windows Runtime apps only]


Windows::UI::Xaml::Media [C++]



See also

FindElementsInHostCoordinates(Point, UIElement)
FindElementsInHostCoordinates(Rect, UIElement)
FindElementsInHostCoordinates(Rect, UIElement, Boolean)
Mouse interactions ("Hit testing" section)



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