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Getting Started with WPF ComboBox

This tutorial will walk you through the creation of a sample application that contains RadComboBox.

Assembly References

In order to use the RadComboBox control in your projects, you have to add references to the following assemblies:

  • Telerik.Windows.Controls
  • Telerik.Windows.Controls.Input

Adding RadComboBox to the Project

Before proceeding with adding RadComboBox to your project, make sure the required assembly references are added to the project.

You can add RadComboBox manually by writing the XAML code in Example 1. You can also add the control by dragging it from the Visual Studio Toolbox and dropping it over the XAML view.

Example 1: Adding RadComboBox in XAML

<telerik:RadComboBox Width="100" /> 

In order to use RadComboBox in XAML you have to add the namespace declaration shown in Example 2:

Example 2: Declaring Telerik Namespace

If you run the application you will see an empty ComboBox as demonstrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The empty ComboBox generated by the code in Example 1

WPF RadComboBox The empty ComboBox generated by the code in Example 1

Populating with Data

In order to populate the RadComboBox control with data in XAML, you should add a few RadComboBoxItems to it and set their Content property as in Example 3.

Example 3: Adding RadComboBoxItems in XAML

<telerik:RadComboBox Width="100"> 
    <telerik:RadComboBoxItem Content="Item 1" /> 
    <telerik:RadComboBoxItem Content="Item 2" /> 

Running the application will result in a populated RadComboBox as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: RadComboBox with static items WPF RadComboBox RadComboBox with static items

Adding static RadComboBoxItems in XAML is good in scenarios when you know in advance the data in the combo box. However, in most cases, you have to bind your RadComboBox to a collection of business objects. For the purposes of this example, create a new class named Car and add several properties to it as shown in Example 4.

Example 4: Simple business class

public class Car 
    public string Make { get; set; } 
    public string Model { get; set; } 
    public Car(string make, string model) 
        this.Make = make; 
        this.Model = model; 
Public Class Car 
    Public Property Make() As String 
            Return m_Make 
        End Get 
        Set(value As String) 
            m_Make = Value 
        End Set 
    End Property 
    Private m_Make As String 
    Public Property Model() As String 
            Return m_Model 
        End Get 
        Set(value As String) 
            m_Model = Value 
        End Set 
    End Property 
    Private m_Model As String 
    Public Sub New(make As String, model As String) 
        Me.Make = make 
        Me.Model = model 
    End Sub 
End Class 

Next, you should create the view model containing a collection of Car objects.

Example 5: View model containing ObservableCollection of sample data

public class MyViewModel 
    private ObservableCollection<Car> cars; 
    public ObservableCollection<Car> Cars 
            if ( == null) 
       = this.CreateCars(); 
    private ObservableCollection<Car> CreateCars() 
        ObservableCollection<Car> cars = new ObservableCollection<Car>()  
            new Car("Opel", "Vectra"), 
            new Car("Ford", "Focus"), 
            new Car("Fiat", "Bravo") 
        return cars; 
Public Class MyViewModel 
    Private m_cars As ObservableCollection(Of Car) 
    Public ReadOnly Property Cars() As ObservableCollection(Of Car) 
            If Me.m_cars Is Nothing Then 
                Me.m_cars = Me.CreateCars() 
            End If 
            Return Me.m_cars 
        End Get 
    End Property 
    Private Function CreateCars() As ObservableCollection(Of Car) 
        Dim cars As New ObservableCollection(Of Car)() From { 
            New Car("Opel", "Vectra"), 
            New Car("Ford", "Focus"), 
            New Car("Fiat", "Bravo") 
        Return cars 
    End Function 
End Class 

Now that you have prepared the needed sample data, it is time to bind RadComboBox to it. For that purpose, you should set the RadComboBox's ItemsSource property to the collection of cars. Additionally, you should set DisplayMemberPath property to mark which property of the business object will be used as its visual representation inside RadComboBox.

Example 6 demonstrates how you can bind the ItemsSource collection in XAML. The local namespace in the example corresponds to the namespace where MyViewModel resides.

Example 6: Bind RadComboBox

    <local:MyViewModel x:Key="MyViewModel" /> 
<telerik:RadComboBox Width="100" DataContext="{StaticResource MyViewModel}" ItemsSource="{Binding Cars}"  
    DisplayMemberPath="Make" /> 

Running the application at this stage will result in a populated RadComboBox like in Figure 3.

Figure 3: RadComboBox bound to collection of Cars

Bound RadComboBox

Working with AutoComplete

AutoComplete is a feature provided by many browsers, programs and controls. It involves the program predicting a word or phrase that the user wants to type without the user actually typing it in completely. RadComboBox has full autocomplete support - while you type into the input area, the combo box returns the relative match for the currently typed text. Read more

Working with Edit Modes

The RadComboBox can be editable, allowing the user to type in its text box, or non-editable, where the text box is hidden. In addition, you could make the text box read only in order to keep the editable look but prevent the user from typing. The RadComboBox's API exposes several properties, allowing you to configure these modes. Read more

Opening and Closing DropDown Manually

To open or close the dropdown content of RadComboBox manually, set its IsDropDownOpen property.

Example 7: Open dropdown manually

<telerik:RadComboBox IsDropDownOpen="True" /> 

Setting DropDown Size

RadComboBox allows you to set the width and the max height of the dropdown content. To do this, set the DropDownWidth and MaxDropDownHeight properties of RadComboBox.

Example 8: Set dropdown content size

<telerik:RadComboBox MaxDropDownHeight="200" DropDownWidth="150" /> 

Setting a Theme

The controls from our suite support different themes. You can see how to apply a theme different than the default one in the Setting a Theme help article.

Changing the theme using implicit styles will affect all controls that have styles defined in the merged resource dictionaries. This is applicable only for the controls in the scope in which the resources are merged.

To change the theme, you can follow the steps below:

  • Choose between the themes and add reference to the corresponding theme assembly (ex: Telerik.Windows.Themes.Windows8.dll). You can see the different themes applied in the Theming examples from our WPF Controls Examples application.

  • Merge the ResourceDictionaries with the namespace required for the controls that you are using from the theme assembly. For the RadComboBox, you will need to merge the following resources:

    • Telerik.Windows.Controls
    • Telerik.Windows.Controls.Input

Example 9 demonstrates how to merge the ResourceDictionaries so that they are applied globally for the entire application.

Example 9: Merge the ResourceDictionaries

            <ResourceDictionary Source="/Telerik.Windows.Themes.Windows8;component/Themes/System.Windows.xaml"/> 
            <ResourceDictionary Source="/Telerik.Windows.Themes.Windows8;component/Themes/Telerik.Windows.Controls.xaml"/> 
            <ResourceDictionary Source="/Telerik.Windows.Themes.Windows8;component/Themes/Telerik.Windows.Controls.Input.xaml"/> 

Alternatively, you can use the theme of the control via the StyleManager.

Figure 4 shows a RadComboBox with the Windows8 theme applied.

Figure 4: RadComboBox with the Windows8 theme

RadComboBox with Windows8 theme

Telerik UI for WPF Learning Resources

See Also

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