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ControlTemplate Class

Specifies the visual structure and behavioral aspects of a Control that can be shared across multiple instances of the control.

Namespace:  System.Windows.Controls
Assembly:  PresentationFramework (in PresentationFramework.dll)

[LocalizabilityAttribute(LocalizationCategory.None, Readability = Readability.Unreadable)]
public class ControlTemplate : FrameworkTemplate

XAML Values


Object element for ControlTemplate or a derived class.


A single XAML element as the immediate child of the ControlTemplate (or a derived class). Templates must have a single root node. In order to generate a useful template, the element chosen as VisualTreeRootNode is expected to support a content model of its own, often a model that supports multiple child elements.


One or more elements that complete the intended template. If the element chosen as VisualTreeRootNode only supports a single child, then there can only be one element declared as VisualTreeNodeContents. It is also possible (though uncommon) to provide text content if the chosen VisualTreeRootNode supports a text content property.

The ControlTemplate allows you to specify the visual structure of a control. The control author can define the default ControlTemplate and the application author can override the ControlTemplate to reconstruct the visual structure of the control.

Control templating is one of the many features offered by the WPF styling and templating model. The styling and templating model provides you with such great flexibility that in many cases you do not need to write your own controls. If you are an application author that wants to change the visualization of your control or to replace the ControlTemplate of an existing control, see the Styling and Templating topic for examples and an in-depth discussion.

If you are writing your own control, see Create a Custom Control in the Control Authoring Overview.

A ControlTemplate is intended to be a self-contained unit of implementation detail that is invisible to outside users and objects, including styles. The only way to manipulate the content of the control template is from within the same control template.

The following shows a Button Style that sets the ControlTemplate of a Button:

<Style TargetType="Button">
  <!--Set to true to not get any properties from the themes.-->
  <Setter Property="OverridesDefaultStyle" Value="True"/>
  <Setter Property="Template">
      <ControlTemplate TargetType="Button">
          <Ellipse Fill="{TemplateBinding Background}"/>
          <ContentPresenter HorizontalAlignment="Center"

When this gets applied, the Button appears as an Ellipse:

Button ControlTemplate sample

When you set the Template property of a Control to a new ControlTemplate as in the above example, you are replacing the entire template. What the Button looks like when it is in focus or pressed is all part of the default appearance of the button that you are replacing. Therefore, depending on your needs, you may want to put in your definition what your button should look like when it is pressed, and so on, as in the following example:

<Style TargetType="Button">
  <Setter Property="SnapsToDevicePixels" Value="true"/>
  <Setter Property="OverridesDefaultStyle" Value="true"/>
  <Setter Property="FocusVisualStyle" Value="{StaticResource ButtonFocusVisual}"/>
  <Setter Property="MinHeight" Value="23"/>
  <Setter Property="MinWidth" Value="75"/>
  <Setter Property="Template">
      <ControlTemplate TargetType="Button">
          Background="{StaticResource NormalBrush}"
          BorderBrush="{StaticResource NormalBorderBrush}">
          <Trigger Property="IsKeyboardFocused" Value="true">
            <Setter TargetName="Border" Property="BorderBrush" Value="{StaticResource DefaultedBorderBrush}" />
          <Trigger Property="IsDefaulted" Value="true">
            <Setter TargetName="Border" Property="BorderBrush" Value="{StaticResource DefaultedBorderBrush}" />
          <Trigger Property="IsMouseOver" Value="true">
            <Setter TargetName="Border" Property="Background" Value="{StaticResource DarkBrush}" />
          <Trigger Property="IsPressed" Value="true">
            <Setter TargetName="Border" Property="Background" Value="{StaticResource PressedBrush}" />
            <Setter TargetName="Border" Property="BorderBrush" Value="{StaticResource PressedBorderBrush}" />
          <Trigger Property="IsEnabled" Value="false">
            <Setter TargetName="Border" Property="Background" Value="{StaticResource DisabledBackgroundBrush}" />
            <Setter TargetName="Border" Property="BorderBrush" Value="{StaticResource DisabledBorderBrush}" />
            <Setter Property="Foreground" Value="{StaticResource DisabledForegroundBrush}"/>

Note that this example references resources that are not shown here. For the complete sample, see Styling with ControlTemplates Sample. That sample provides examples of control templates for many controls and is the best way for you to get started with creating control templates.

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0