Walkthrough: Create new WPF content on Windows Forms at design time

This article shows you how to create a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) control for use in your Windows Forms-based applications.


You need Visual Studio to complete this walkthrough.

Create the project

Open Visual Studio and create a new Windows Forms App (.NET Framework) project in Visual Basic or Visual C# named HostingWpf.


When hosting WPF content, only C# and Visual Basic projects are supported.

Create a new WPF control

Creating a new WPF control and adding it to your project is as easy as adding any other item to your project. The Windows Forms Designer works with a particular kind of control named composite control, or user control. For more information about WPF user controls, see UserControl.


The System.Windows.Controls.UserControl type for WPF is distinct from the user control type provided by Windows Forms, which is also named System.Windows.Forms.UserControl.

To create a new WPF control:

  1. In Solution Explorer, add a new WPF User Control Library (.NET Framework) project to the solution. Use the default name for the control library, WpfControlLibrary1. The default control name is UserControl1.xaml.

    Adding the new control has the following effects:

    • File UserControl1.xaml is added.

    • File UserControl1.xaml.cs (or UserControl1.xaml.vb) is added. This file contains the code-behind for event handlers and other implementation.

    • References to WPF assemblies are added.

    • File UserControl1.xaml opens in the WPF Designer for Visual Studio.

  2. In Design view, make sure that UserControl1 is selected.

  3. In the Properties window, set the value of the Width and Height properties to 200.

  4. From the Toolbox, drag a System.Windows.Controls.TextBox control onto the design surface.

  5. In the Properties window, set the value of the Text property to Hosted Content.


    In general, you should host more sophisticated WPF content. The System.Windows.Controls.TextBox control is used here for illustrative purposes only.

  6. Build the project.

Add a WPF control to a Windows Form

Your new WPF control is ready for use on the form. Windows Forms uses the ElementHost control to host WPF content.

To add a WPF control to a Windows Form:

  1. Open Form1 in the Windows Forms Designer.

  2. In the Toolbox, find the tab labeled WPFUserControlLibrary WPF User Controls.

  3. Drag an instance of UserControl1 onto the form.

    • An ElementHost control is created automatically on the form to host the WPF control.

    • The ElementHost control is named elementHost1 and in the Properties window, you can see its Child property is set to UserControl1.

    • References to WPF assemblies are added to the project.

    • The elementHost1 control has a smart tag panel that shows the available hosting options.

  4. In the ElementHost Tasks smart tag panel, select Dock in parent container.

  5. Press F5 to build and run the application.

Next steps

Windows Forms and WPF are different technologies, but they are designed to interoperate closely. To provide richer appearance and behavior in your applications, try the following:

See also