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How to: Find DataTemplate-Generated Elements

This example shows how to find elements that are generated by a DataTemplate.

In this example, there is a ListBox that is bound to some XML data:

<ListBox Name="myListBox" ItemTemplate="{StaticResource myDataTemplate}"
    <Binding Source="{StaticResource InventoryData}" XPath="Books/Book"/>

The ListBox uses the following DataTemplate:

<DataTemplate x:Key="myDataTemplate">
  <TextBlock Name="textBlock" FontSize="14" Foreground="Blue">
      <Binding XPath="Title"/>

If you want to retrieve the TextBlock element generated by the DataTemplate of a certain ListBoxItem, you need to get the ListBoxItem, find the ContentPresenter within that ListBoxItem, and then call FindName on the DataTemplate that is set on that ContentPresenter. The following example shows how to perform those steps. For demonstration purposes, this example creates a message box that shows the text content of the DataTemplate-generated text block.

// Getting the currently selected ListBoxItem
// Note that the ListBox must have
// IsSynchronizedWithCurrentItem set to True for this to work
ListBoxItem myListBoxItem =

// Getting the ContentPresenter of myListBoxItem
ContentPresenter myContentPresenter = FindVisualChild<ContentPresenter>(myListBoxItem);

// Finding textBlock from the DataTemplate that is set on that ContentPresenter
DataTemplate myDataTemplate = myContentPresenter.ContentTemplate;
TextBlock myTextBlock = (TextBlock)myDataTemplate.FindName("textBlock", myContentPresenter);

// Do something to the DataTemplate-generated TextBlock
MessageBox.Show("The text of the TextBlock of the selected list item: "
    + myTextBlock.Text);

The following is the implementation of FindVisualChild, which uses the VisualTreeHelper methods:

private childItem FindVisualChild<childItem>(DependencyObject obj)
    where childItem : DependencyObject
    for (int i = 0; i < VisualTreeHelper.GetChildrenCount(obj); i++)
        DependencyObject child = VisualTreeHelper.GetChild(obj, i);
        if (child != null && child is childItem)
            return (childItem)child;
            childItem childOfChild = FindVisualChild<childItem>(child);
            if (childOfChild != null)
                return childOfChild;
    return null;