Explicit Styles

Using explicit styles to customize the appearance of specific controls

PDF for offline use:
Sample Code:
Related Articles:
Related APIs:

Let us know how you feel about this.


0/250
Thanks for the feedback!

last updated: 2016-02

An explicit style is one that is selectively applied to controls by setting their Style properties.

Creating an Explicit Style in XAML

To declare a Style at the page level, a ResourceDictionary must be added to the page and then one or more Style declarations can be included in the ResourceDictionary. A Style is made explicit by giving its declaration an x:Key attribute, which gives it a descriptive key in the ResourceDictionary. Explicit styles must then be applied to specific visual elements by setting their Style properties.

The following code example shows explicit styles declared in XAML in a page's ResourceDictionary and applied to the page's Label instances:

<ContentPage xmlns="http://xamarin.com/schemas/2014/forms" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2009/xaml" x:Class="Styles.ExplicitStylesPage" Title="Explicit" Icon="xaml.png">
    <ContentPage.Resources>
        <ResourceDictionary>
            <Style x:Key="labelRedStyle" TargetType="Label">
                <Setter Property="HorizontalOptions"
                        Value="Center" />
                <Setter Property="VerticalOptions"
                        Value="CenterAndExpand" />
                <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="Large" />
                <Setter Property="TextColor" Value="Red" />
            </Style>
            <Style x:Key="labelGreenStyle" TargetType="Label">
                ...
                <Setter Property="TextColor" Value="Green" />
            </Style>
            <Style x:Key="labelBlueStyle" TargetType="Label">
                ...
                <Setter Property="TextColor" Value="Blue" />
            </Style>
        </ResourceDictionary>
    </ContentPage.Resources>
    <ContentPage.Content>
        <StackLayout Padding="0,20,0,0">
            <Label Text="These labels"
                   Style="{StaticResource labelRedStyle}" />
            <Label Text="are demonstrating"
                   Style="{StaticResource labelGreenStyle}" />
            <Label Text="explicit styles,"
                   Style="{StaticResource labelBlueStyle}" />
            <Label Text="and an explicit style override"
                   Style="{StaticResource labelBlueStyle}"
                   TextColor="Teal" />
        </StackLayout>
    </ContentPage.Content>
</ContentPage>

The ResourceDictionary defines three explicit styles that are applied to the page's Label instances. Each Style is used to display text in a different color, while also setting the font size and horizontal and vertical layout options. Each Style is applied to a different Label by setting its Style properties using the StaticResource markup extension. This results in the appearance shown in the following screenshots:

In addition, the final Label has a Style applied to it, but also overrides the TextColor property to a different Color value.

Creating an Explicit Style at the Control Level

In addition to creating explicit styles at the page level, they can also be created at the control level, as shown in the following code example:

<ContentPage xmlns="http://xamarin.com/schemas/2014/forms" xmlns:x="http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2009/xaml" x:Class="Styles.ExplicitStylesPage" Title="Explicit" Icon="xaml.png">
    <ContentPage.Content>
        <StackLayout Padding="0,20,0,0">
            <StackLayout.Resources>
                <ResourceDictionary>
                    <Style x:Key="labelRedStyle" TargetType="Label">
                      ...
                    </Style>
                    ...
                </ResourceDictionary>
            </StackLayout.Resources>
            <Label Text="These labels" Style="{StaticResource labelRedStyle}" />
            ...
        </StackLayout>
    </ContentPage.Content>
</ContentPage>

In this example, the explicit Style instances are assigned to the Resources collection of the StackLayout control. The styles can then be applied to the control and its children.

For information about creating styles in an application's ResourceDictionary, see Global Styles.

Creating an Explicit Style in C#

Style instances can be added to a page's Resources collection in C# by creating a new ResourceDictionary, and then by adding the Style instances to the ResourceDictionary, as shown in the following code example:

public class ExplicitStylesPageCS : ContentPage
{
    public ExplicitStylesPageCS ()
    {
        var labelRedStyle = new Style (typeof(Label)) {
            Setters = {
                ...
                new Setter { Property = Label.TextColorProperty, Value = Color.Red  }
            }
        };
        var labelGreenStyle = new Style (typeof(Label)) {
            Setters = {
                ...
                new Setter { Property = Label.TextColorProperty, Value = Color.Green }
            }
        };
        var labelBlueStyle = new Style (typeof(Label)) {
            Setters = {
                ...
                new Setter { Property = Label.TextColorProperty, Value = Color.Blue }
            }
        };

        Resources = new ResourceDictionary ();
        Resources.Add ("labelRedStyle", labelRedStyle);
        Resources.Add ("labelGreenStyle", labelGreenStyle);
        Resources.Add ("labelBlueStyle", labelBlueStyle);
        ...

        Content = new StackLayout {
            Children = {
                new Label { Text = "These labels",
                            Style = (Style)Resources ["labelRedStyle"] },
                new Label { Text = "are demonstrating",
                            Style = (Style)Resources ["labelGreenStyle"] },
                new Label { Text = "explicit styles,",
                            Style = (Style)Resources ["labelBlueStyle"] },
                new Label { Text = "and an explicit style override",
                            Style = (Style)Resources ["labelBlueStyle"], TextColor = Color.Teal }
            }
        };
    }
}

The constructor defines three explicit styles that are applied to the page's Label instances. Each explicit Style is added to the ResourceDictionary using the Add method, specifying a key string to refer to the Style instance. Each Style is applied to a different Label by setting their Style properties.

However, there is no advantage to using a ResourceDictionary here. Instead, Style instances can be assigned directly to the Style properties of the required visual elements, and the ResourceDictionary can be removed, as shown in the following code example:

public class ExplicitStylesPageCS : ContentPage
{
    public ExplicitStylesPageCS ()
    {
        var labelRedStyle = new Style (typeof(Label)) {
            ...
        };
        var labelGreenStyle = new Style (typeof(Label)) {
            ...
        };
        var labelBlueStyle = new Style (typeof(Label)) {
            ...
        };
        ...
        Content = new StackLayout {
            Children = {
                new Label { Text = "These labels", Style = labelRedStyle },
                new Label { Text = "are demonstrating", Style = labelGreenStyle },
                new Label { Text = "explicit styles,", Style = labelBlueStyle },
                new Label { Text = "and an explicit style override", Style = labelBlueStyle,
                            TextColor = Color.Teal }
            }
        };
    }
}

The constructor defines three explicit styles that are applied to the page's Label instances. Each Style is used to display text in a different color, while also setting the font size and horizontal and vertical layout options. Each Style is applied to a different Label by setting its Style properties. In addition, the final Label has a Style applied to it, but also overrides the TextColor property to a different Color value.

Summary

A Style is made explicit by giving its declaration an x:Key attribute, and then selectively applying it to controls by setting their Style properties.

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.