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How to: Schedule Work on the User Interface (UI) Thread

This example shows how to use the TaskScheduler.FromCurrentSynchronizationContext method in a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application to schedule a task on the same thread that the user interface (UI) control was created on.

To create the WPF project

  1. In Visual Studio, create a WPF application project and name it.

  2. In design view, drag an Image control from the Toolbox to the design surface. In XAML view, specify the horizontal alignment as "Left." The size does not matter because the control will be dynamically resized at run time. Accept the default name, "image1".

  3. Drag a button from the Toolbox to the lower left part of the application window. Double-click the button to add a Click event handler. In XAML view, specify the Content property of the button as "Make a Mosaic" and specify its horizontal alignment as "Left".

  4. In the MainWindow.xaml.cs file, use the following code to replace the entire contents of the file. Make sure that the name of the namespace matches the project name.

  5. Press F5 to run the application. Every time you click the button, a new arrangement of tiles should be displayed.


The following example creates a mosaic of images that are randomly selected from a specified directory. The WPF objects are used to load and resize the images. Then, the raw pixels are passed to a task that uses a ParallelFor() loop to write the pixel data into a large single-byte array. No synchronization is required because no two tiles occupy the same array elements. The tiles can also be written in any order because their position is calculated independently of any other tile. The large array is then passed to a task that runs on the UI thread, where the pixel data is loaded into an Image control.


using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;

using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Windows;
using System.Windows.Controls;
using System.Windows.Data;
using System.Windows.Documents;
using System.Windows.Input;
using System.Windows.Media;
using System.Windows.Media.Imaging;
using System.Windows.Navigation;
using System.Windows.Shapes;

namespace wpfApplication1
    /// <summary>
    /// Interaction logic for MainWindow.xaml
    /// </summary>
    public partial class MainWindow : Window
        private int fileCount;
        int colCount;
        int rowCount;
        private int tilePixelHeight;
        private int tilePixelWidth;
        private int largeImagePixelHeight;
        private int largeImagePixelWidth;
        private int largeImageStride;
        PixelFormat format;
        BitmapPalette palette;

        public MainWindow()

            // For this example, values are hard-coded to a mosaic of 8x8 tiles.
            // Each tile is 50 pixels high and 66 pixels wide and 32 bits per pixel.
            colCount = 12;
            rowCount = 8;
            tilePixelHeight = 50;
            tilePixelWidth = 66;
            largeImagePixelHeight = tilePixelHeight * rowCount;
            largeImagePixelWidth = tilePixelWidth * colCount;
            largeImageStride = largeImagePixelWidth * (32 / 8);
            this.Width = largeImagePixelWidth + 40;
            image1.Width = largeImagePixelWidth;
            image1.Height = largeImagePixelHeight;


        private void button1_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)

            // For best results use 1024 x 768 jpg files at 32bpp.
            string[] files = System.IO.Directory.GetFiles(@"C:\Users\Public\Pictures\Sample Pictures\", "*.jpg");

            fileCount = files.Length;
            Task<byte[]>[] images = new Task<byte[]>[fileCount];
            for (int i = 0; i < fileCount; i++)
                int x = i;
                images[x] = Task.Factory.StartNew(() => LoadImage(files[x]));

            // When they�ve all been loaded, tile them into a single byte array.
            var tiledImage = Task.Factory.ContinueWhenAll(
                images, (i) => TileImages(i));

            // We are currently on the UI thread. Save the sync context and pass it to
            // the next task so that it can access the UI control "image1".
            var UISyncContext = TaskScheduler.FromCurrentSynchronizationContext();

            //  On the UI thread, put the bytes into a bitmap and
            // and display it in the Image control.
            var t3 = tiledImage.ContinueWith((antedecent) =>
                // Get System DPI.
                Matrix m = PresentationSource.FromVisual(Application.Current.MainWindow)
                double dpiX = m.M11;
                double dpiY = m.M22;

                BitmapSource bms = BitmapSource.Create( largeImagePixelWidth,
                    palette, //use default palette
                image1.Source = bms;
            }, UISyncContext);

        byte[] LoadImage(string filename)
            // Use the WPF BitmapImage class to load and 
            // resize the bitmap. NOTE: Only 32bpp formats are supported correctly.
            // Support for additional color formats is left as an exercise
            // for the reader. For more information, see documentation for ColorConvertedBitmap.

            BitmapImage myBitmapImage = new BitmapImage();
            myBitmapImage.UriSource = new Uri(filename);
            tilePixelHeight = myBitmapImage.DecodePixelHeight = tilePixelHeight;
            tilePixelWidth = myBitmapImage.DecodePixelWidth = tilePixelWidth;

            format = myBitmapImage.Format;
            int size = (int)(myBitmapImage.Height * myBitmapImage.Width);
            int stride = (int)myBitmapImage.Width * 4;
            byte[] dest = new byte[stride * tilePixelHeight];

            myBitmapImage.CopyPixels(dest, stride, 0);

            return dest;

        int Stride(int pixelWidth, int bitsPerPixel)
            return (((pixelWidth * bitsPerPixel + 31) / 32) * 4);

        // Map the individual image tiles to the large image
        // in parallel. Any kind of raw image manipulation can be
        // done here because we are not attempting to access any 
        // WPF controls from multiple threads.
        byte[] TileImages(Task<byte[]>[] sourceImages)
            byte[] largeImage = new byte[largeImagePixelHeight * largeImageStride];
            int tileImageStride = tilePixelWidth * 4; // hard coded to 32bpp

            Random rand = new Random();
            Parallel.For(0, rowCount * colCount, (i) =>
                // Pick one of the images at random for this tile.
                int cur = rand.Next(0, sourceImages.Length);
                byte[] pixels = sourceImages[cur].Result;

                // Get the starting index for this tile.
                int row = i / colCount;
                int col = (int)(i % colCount);
                int idx = ((row * (largeImageStride * tilePixelHeight)) + (col * tileImageStride));

                // Write the pixels for the current tile. The pixels are not contiguous
                // in the array, therefore we have to advance the index by the image stride
                // (minus the stride of the tile) for each scanline of the tile.
                int tileImageIndex = 0;
                for (int j = 0; j < tilePixelHeight; j++)
                    // Write the next scanline for this tile.
                    for (int k = 0; k < tileImageStride; k++)
                        largeImage[idx++] = pixels[tileImageIndex++];
                    // Advance to the beginning of the next scanline.
                    idx += largeImageStride - tileImageStride;
            return largeImage;


This example demonstrates how to move data off the UI thread, modify it by using parallel loops and Task objects, and then pass it back to a task that runs on the UI thread. This approach is useful when you have to use the Task Parallel Library to perform operations that either are not supported by the WPF API, or are not sufficiently fast. Another way to create an image mosaic in WPF is to use a WrapPanel object and add images to it. The WrapPanel will handle the work of positioning the tiles. However, this work can only be performed on the UI thread.

This example has some limitations. For example, only 32-bits-per-pixel images are supported; images in other formats are corrupted by the BitmapImage object during the resizing operation. Also, the source images must all be larger than the tile size. As a further exercise, you can add functionality to handle multiple pixel formats and file sizes.