Home > Posts > How to space StackPanel items in XAML (has no Padding property)

How to space StackPanel items in XAML (has no Padding property)

While adding some properties to the back panels of ClipFlair windows, I came upon the issue of how to space items in a StackPanel. A Padding property is missing from multiple item containers (only single content controls have such), but a nice solution is described at: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/932510/how-do-i-space-out-the-child-elements-of-a-stackpanel

Sergey Aldoukhov suggested there (WPF example):

Use Margin or Padding, applied to the scope within the container:

<StackPanel>
    <StackPanel.Resources>
        <Style TargetType="{x:Type TextBox}">
            <Setter Property="Margin" Value="0,10,0,0"/>
        </Style>
    </StackPanel.Resources>

    <TextBox Text="Apple"/>
    <TextBox Text="Banana"/>
    <TextBox Text="Cherry"/>
</StackPanel>

EDIT: In case you would want to re-use the margin between two containers, you can convert the margin value to a resource in an outer scope, f.e.

<Window.Resources>
    <Thickness x:Key="tbMargin">0,10,0,0</Thickness>
</Window.Resources>

and then refer to this value in the inner scope

<StackPanel.Resources>
   <Style TargetType="{x:Type TextBox}">
        <Setter Property="Margin" Value="{StaticResource tbMargin}"/>
    </Style>
</StackPanel.Resources>

 

Following up on Sergey’s suggestion there, you can define and reuse a whole Style (with various property setters, including Margin) instead of just a Thickness object:

<Style x:Key="MyStyle" TargetType="SomeItemType">
  <Setter Property="Margin" Value="0,5,0,5" />
  ...
</Style>

  <StackPanel>
    <StackPanel.Resources>
      <Style TargetType="SomeItemType" BasedOn="{StaticResource MyStyle}" />
    </StackPanel.Resources>
  ...
  </StackPanel>

Note that the trick here is the use of Style Inheritance for the implicit style, inheriting from the style in some outer (probably merged from external XAML file) resource dictionary.

Sidenote:

At first, I naively tried to use the implicit style to set the Style property of the control to that outer Style resource (say defined with the key "MyStyle"):

<StackPanel>
  <StackPanel.Resources>
    <Style TargetType="SomeItemType">
      <Setter Property="Style" Value={StaticResource MyStyle}" />
    </Style>
  </StackPanel.Resources>
</StackPanel>

which caused Visual Studio 2010 to shut down immediately with CATASTROPHIC FAILURE error (HRESULT: 0x8000FFFF (E_UNEXPECTED)), as described at https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/details/753211/xaml-editor-window-fails-with-catastrophic-failure-when-a-style-tries-to-set-style-property#

 

Note btw that there’s an even nicer solution that Elaz Katz mentioned at that StackOverflow discussion:

http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/eladkatz/archive/2011/05/29/what-is-the-easiest-way-to-set-spacing-between-items-in-stackpanel.aspx

It shows how to create an attached behavior, so that syntax like this would work:

<StackPanel local:MarginSetter.Margin="5">
   <TextBox Text="hello" />
   <Button Content="hello" />
   <Button Content="hello" />
</StackPanel>

 

Finally, another idea could be to use WPF’s UniformGrid, although that will try to space its children evenly in the available space:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.windows.controls.primitives.uniformgrid.aspx

http://www.longhorncorner.com/uploadfile/raj1979/uniformgrid-in-wpf/

Note that it has been ported to Silverlight too:

http://www.jeff.wilcox.name/2009/01/uniform-grid/

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