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Version: 11.0.x


Controls in Avalonia UI are fundamental building blocks used to create user interfaces. They represent various interactive elements such as buttons, text boxes, sliders, and more. Understanding controls is essential for developing applications using Avalonia UI.

What are Controls?

Controls are UI elements that allow users to interact with an application. They provide functionality for input, display, and manipulation of data. Controls can be categorized into several types based on their purpose and behavior.

  • Buttons: Buttons are commonly used for triggering actions when clicked or tapped. They can have text, icons, or both, and are often used for tasks like submitting forms, opening dialogs, or executing commands.
  • TextBoxes: Text boxes allow users to enter and edit text. They are used for capturing user input, such as usernames, passwords, or any form of textual information. Text boxes can also be customized for specific input patterns and validation.
  • Labels: Labels are used to display static text or captions for other controls. They provide additional information or context to the user and are generally non-interactive.
  • Checkboxes and RadioButtons: Checkboxes and radio buttons are used for selection and multiple-choice options. Checkboxes allow users to select one or more options, while radio buttons enable users to choose a single option from a group.
  • Sliders: Sliders are used to select a value from a range. They provide a visual representation of a value that can be adjusted by dragging a handle along a track. Sliders are commonly used for settings such as volume controls or image adjustments.
  • ListBoxes and ComboBoxes: ListBoxes and combo boxes allow users to select an item from a list or a dropdown menu. ListBoxes display multiple items at once, while ComboBoxes show a single item initially and expand to display a list when clicked.

These are just a few examples of the many controls available in Avalonia UI. Each control has its own set of properties, methods, and events, allowing developers to customize their appearance and behavior to suit their application's needs.

Getting Started with Builtin Controls

To get started with using controls in Avalonia UI, you can refer to the documentation for each control type. The documentation provides detailed explanations, examples, and code snippets to help you understand and utilize the controls effectively.

By exploring these resources, you'll gain a solid foundation in using controls within Avalonia UI and be able to create rich and interactive user interfaces for your applications.

Types of Builtin Controls

Avalonia UI's builtin controls can be loosely classified into the below types:

  • Drawn Controls
  • Layout Controls
  • User Controls*
  • Templated Controls
    • Fully Customizable
    • Partially Customizable

*User controls are only available for apps.


These classifications are somewhat related to the discussion in Choosing A Custom Control Type.

Drawn Controls

Drawn controls are those that are responsible for generating their own geometry or bitmaps and rendering themselves. Examples of these controls include Border, TextBlock and Image. Drawn controls are the foundational controls used to construct everything else.

Most drawn controls have standard properties that can be used to adjust their appearance and size but they do not allow re-templating. This means as an app developer you can’t change the functionality or style of these controls without dropping into C#, deriving a new version of the control and intercepting the rendering methods.

Layout Controls

Layout controls are special in that they have no appearance by themselves. Layout controls like Grid, StackPanel and others are responsible for defining the layout of their children and behave as a parent container. The child controls are responsible for rendering the UI while the layout parent control simply sets size and position (which have no appearance by themselves).

It is not very common for app developers to modify framework provided layout controls.


Some layout controls like Grid have properties such as Background to simplify common use cases. Using these properties does give some appearance to these controls.

User Controls

Avalonia UI never provides UserControls by itself as these are not considered general-purpose. For more information on creating and using UserControls in your app see Choosing A Custom Control Type.

Templated Controls

Most standard controls in Avalonia UI are templated controls which means their visual appearance is defined in a XAML control template separated from functionality. It is the foundation for the concept of lookless controls that originated in WPF.

Application developers can change the XAML template of a templated control and make it appear completely differently. This functionality is not available in all UI frameworks and is one of the most powerful features of XAML-based UI frameworks.


Re-templating controls is a last-resort for app developers. It also means you will be responsible for keeping the template updated with any changes upstream. Instead, it is better to:

  1. Attempt to use existing properties to customize the control
  2. Create a new style with Avalonia UI's extremely powerful style selectors to modify what you need in the existing template
  3. As a last resort, re-template

Fully Customizable

The majority of templated controls in Avalonia UI are fully customizable. This means it is possible to completely replace the control’s template and change its appearance. The Button control is a good example but all templated controls in Avalonia UI try to be fully customizable by default. With a fully customizable templated control the app has near total ability to style or change everything you see drawn in the UI.

Partially Customizable

In practice, having fully replaceable control templates is not always possible. There is a spectrum in control design between supporting common use-cases easily and making the control fully re-templatable. For high-complexity controls like the DataGrid the spectrum shifts towards supporting the intended use cases and the control cannot, and should not, be fully re-templated. These controls also usually have a very high number of template parts (required control elements that are used directly by the C# implementation of the control).

In the case of a DataGrid it is still possible to re-template individual components or parts of the control. It is just extremely difficult to completely change how it looks and functions.

Partially customizable templated controls on the order of DataGrid are rare as first-party controls provided by the framework itself.

Creating Controls

In Avalonia, you have the flexibility to create custom controls of all types tailored to your application's specific requirements. See the Creating Controls section for more information