Part 3 – Customizing a Table's Appearance

PDF for offline use:
Sample Code:

Let us know how you feel about this.


0/250
Thanks for the feedback!

The simplest way to change the appearance of a table is to use a different cell style. You can change which cell style is used when creating each cell in the UITableViewSource’s GetCell method.

This guide covers the following:

Cell Styles

There are four built-in styles:

  • Default – supports a UIImageView.
  • Subtitle – supports a UIImageView and subtitle.
  • Value1 – right aligned subtitle, supports a UIImageView.
  • Value2 – title is right-aligned and subtitle is left-aligned (but no image).

These screenshots show how each style appears:

The sample CellDefaultTable contains the code to produce these screens. The cell style is set in the UITableViewCell constructor, like this:

cell = new UITableViewCell (UITableViewCellStyle.Default, cellIdentifier);
//cell = new UITableViewCell (UITableViewCellStyle.Subtitle, cellIdentifier);
//cell = new UITableViewCell (UITableViewCellStyle.Value1, cellIdentifier);
//cell = new UITableViewCell (UITableViewCellStyle.Value2, cellIdentifier);

Supported properties of the cell style can then be set:

cell.TextLabel.Text = tableItems[indexPath.Row].Heading;
cell.DetailTextLabel.Text = tableItems[indexPath.Row].SubHeading;
cell.ImageView.Image = UIImage.FromFile("Images/" + tableItems[indexPath.Row].ImageName); // don't use for Value2

Accessories

Cells can have the following accessories added to the right of the view:

  • Checkmark – can be used to indicate mulitple-selection in a table.
  • DetailButton – responds to touch independently of the rest of the cell, allowing it to perform a different function to touching the cell itself (such as opening a popup or new window that is not part of a UINavigationController stack).
  • DisclosureIndicator – normally used to indicate that touching the cell will open another view.
  • DetailDisclosureButton – a combination of the DetailButton and DisclosureIndicator.

This is what they look like:

To display one of these accessories you can set the Accessory property in the GetCell method:

cell.Accessory = UITableViewCellAccessory.Checkmark;
//cell.Accessory = UITableViewCellAccessory.DisclosureIndicator;
//cell.Accessory = UITableViewCellAccessory.DetailDisclosureButton; // implement AccessoryButtonTapped
//cell.Accessory = UITableViewCellAccessory.None; // to clear the accessory

When the DetailButton or DetailDisclosureButton are shown, you should also override the AccessoryButtonTapped to perform some action when it is touched.

public override void AccessoryButtonTapped (UITableView tableView, NSIndexPath indexPath)
{
    UIAlertController okAlertController = UIAlertController.Create ("DetailDisclosureButton Touched", tableItems[indexPath.Row].Heading, UIAlertControllerStyle.Alert);
    okAlertController.AddAction(UIAlertAction.Create("OK", UIAlertActionStyle.Default, null));
    owner.PresentViewController (okAlertController, true, null);

    tableView.DeselectRow (indexPath, true);
}

The sample CellAccessoryTable shows an example using accessories.

Cell Separators

Cell separators are table cells used to separate the table. The properties are set on the Table.

TableView.SeparatorColor = UIColor.Blue;
TableView.SeparatorStyle = UITableViewCellSeparatorStyle.DoubleLineEtched;

It is also possible to add a blur or vibrancy effect to the separator:

// blur effect
TableView.SeparatorEffect =
    UIBlurEffect.FromStyle(UIBlurEffectStyle.Dark);

//vibrancy effect
var effect = UIBlurEffect.FromStyle(UIBlurEffectStyle.Light);
TableView.SeparatorEffect = UIVibrancyEffect.FromBlurEffect(effect);

The separator can also have an inset:

TableView.SeparatorInset.InsetRect(new CGRect(4, 4, 150, 2));

Creating Custom Cell Layouts

To change the visual style of a table you need to supply custom cells for it to display. The custom cell can have different colors and control layouts.

The CellCustomTable example implements a UITableViewCell subclass that defines a custom layout of UILabels and a UIImage with different fonts and colors. The resulting cells look like this:

The custom cell class consists of only three methods:

  • Constructor – creates the UI controls and sets the custom style properties (eg. font face, size and colors).
  • UpdateCell – a method for UITableView.GetCell to use to set the cell’s properties.
  • LayoutSubviews – set the location of the UI controls. In the example every cell has the same layout, but a more complex cell (particularly those with varying sizes) might need different layout positions depending on the content being displayed.

The complete sample code in CellCustomTable > CustomVegeCell.cs follows:

public class CustomVegeCell : UITableViewCell  {
    UILabel headingLabel, subheadingLabel;
    UIImageView imageView;
    public CustomVegeCell (NSString cellId) : base (UITableViewCellStyle.Default, cellId)
    {
        SelectionStyle = UITableViewCellSelectionStyle.Gray;
        ContentView.BackgroundColor = UIColor.FromRGB (218, 255, 127);
        imageView = new UIImageView();
        headingLabel = new UILabel () {
            Font = UIFont.FromName("Cochin-BoldItalic", 22f),
            TextColor = UIColor.FromRGB (127, 51, 0),
            BackgroundColor = UIColor.Clear
        };
        subheadingLabel = new UILabel () {
            Font = UIFont.FromName("AmericanTypewriter", 12f),
            TextColor = UIColor.FromRGB (38, 127, 0),
            TextAlignment = UITextAlignment.Center,
            BackgroundColor = UIColor.Clear
        };
        ContentView.AddSubviews(new UIView[] {headingLabel, subheadingLabel, imageView});

    }
    public void UpdateCell (string caption, string subtitle, UIImage image)
    {
        imageView.Image = image;
        headingLabel.Text = caption;
        subheadingLabel.Text = subtitle;
    }
    public override void LayoutSubviews ()
    {
        base.LayoutSubviews ();
        imageView.Frame = new CGRect (ContentView.Bounds.Width - 63, 5, 33, 33);
        headingLabel.Frame = new CGRect (5, 4, ContentView.Bounds.Width - 63, 25);
        subheadingLabel.Frame = new CGRect (100, 18, 100, 20);
    }
}

The GetCell method of the UITableViewSource needs to be modified to create the custom cell:

public override UITableViewCell GetCell (UITableView tableView, NSIndexPath indexPath)
{
    var cell = tableView.DequeueReusableCell (cellIdentifier) as CustomVegeCell;
    if (cell == null)
        cell = new CustomVegeCell (cellIdentifier);
    cell.UpdateCell (tableItems[indexPath.Row].Heading
            , tableItems[indexPath.Row].SubHeading
            , UIImage.FromFile ("Images/" + tableItems[indexPath.Row].ImageName) );
    return cell;
}

Xamarin Workbook

If it's not already installed, install the Xamarin Workbooks app first. The workbook file should download automatically, but if it doesn't, just click to start the workbook download manually.