FindElementsInHostCoordinates(Rect, UIElement) method

VisualTreeHelper.FindElementsInHostCoordinates(Rect, UIElement) method

Retrieves a set of objects that are located within a specified Rect frame of an app UI. The set of objects represents the components of a visual tree that share a rectangular area, and might include elements that overdraw.


public static IEnumerable<UIElement> FindElementsInHostCoordinates(
  Rect intersectingRect, 
  UIElement subtree



Type: Rect

The Rect to use as the determination area. This frame 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 within the specified intersectingRect, then the return value contains only the subtree object and elements that are drawing on top of its space. If the subtree object doesn't exist within the intersectingRect frame, the return value will be empty.

null is a valid parameter value; see Remarks.

Return value

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

An enumerable set of UIElement objects that are in the visual tree composition in the specified Rect frame.

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, and also multiple elements fully or partially in the intersectingRect frame. 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, listed by visual tree order (which is usually the same as inverse of XAML declaration 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 over an area is useful for two scenarios: basic hit testing and hit testing that is filtering for a specific element.

Basic hit testing

For basic hit testing, the goal is to discover which element is highest in the z-order of an app UI. If you are hit-testing for a mouse interaction you might use a point, but for touch-oriented hit testing it's often appropriate to use a rectangular area. You might have hit testing scenarios where you want to know what element exists at the top z-order before any touch event takes place. Or you might have a point that you want to expand to be a rectangle to see what's near a center point and which element might be the intended target.

For this scenario, you should pass the rectangle you're interested in hit-testing as the value of the intersectingRect 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 want to be the final stop for hit testing.

The order of element in the returned IEnumerable of UIElement items is accounting for both coordinate space in the area and for the z-order. So it's possible to get hits for items that are not at the highest z-order and therefore couldn't be the source of input events. To make sure, you can do an element-filtered hit test for any items from the returned list that you're interested in, using the same intersectingRect but passing the element of interest as subtree.

Element-filtered hit testing

Sometimes you want to know whether a specific element exists within an area of the UI. If so, you can specify that area for intersectingRect and specify the element you're looking for as the subtree parameter. If the return value is not empty, that means that the element exists somewhere in that area. When you're hit-testing an area, the order in the return set isn't as useful for determining z-order because the set includes elements at more than one x-y coordinate. The set has a mix of elements drawing at various x-y coordinates and also elements that might be fully or partially overdrawn. To really examine an overdraw situation, use the overloads of FindElementsInHostCoordinates that use a Point, so that the x-y coordinates and the visual tree order are no longer a factor. See FindElementsInHostCoordinates(Point,UIElement).

If the return value is empty, that means that the subtree element didn't exist in the area.

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 Rect(75,75,50,50), canvas);
    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 last declared XAML element is first returned, if within the area
// shown - renders, underneath 'center' in part of the area but visible on the edges
// hidden - entirely under 'shown', not visible but part of the area, an overdraw
// outermost - draws under all the above
// canvas - the 'subtree' value, and the last element reported

    hits = VisualTreeHelper.FindElementsInHostCoordinates(
      new Rect(75,75,50,50), center);
    foreach (UIElement element in hits) {
        //run logic here, such as log the results
// results in only 'center', because it was 'subtree' and it's also topmost

    hits = VisualTreeHelper.FindElementsInHostCoordinates(
      new Rect(75,75,50,50), bottomright);
// results in an empty set, 'bottomright' isn't in the specified rect

Requirements (Windows 10 device family)

Device family

Universal, introduced version 10.0.10240.0

API contract

Windows.Foundation.UniversalApiContract, introduced version 1.0


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



Requirements (Windows 8.x and Windows Phone 8.x)

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

Mouse interactions



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