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ResourceDictionary Class


Defines a repository for XAML resources, such as styles, that your app uses. You define the resources in XAML and can then retrieve them in XAML using the {StaticResource} markup extension and {ThemeResource} markup extension s. You can also access resources with code, but that is less common.

/// [Windows.Foundation.Metadata.ContractVersion(Windows.Foundation.UniversalApiContract, 65536)]
/// [Windows.Foundation.Metadata.MarshalingBehavior(Windows.Foundation.Metadata.MarshalingType.Agile)]
/// [Windows.Foundation.Metadata.Threading(Windows.Foundation.Metadata.ThreadingModel.Both)]
class ResourceDictionary : DependencyObject, IIterable<IKeyValuePair<IInspectable, IInspectable const&>>, IMap<IInspectable, IInspectable const&>
[Windows.Foundation.Metadata.ContractVersion(typeof(Windows.Foundation.UniversalApiContract), 65536)]
public class ResourceDictionary : DependencyObject, IDictionary<object,object>, IEnumerable<KeyValuePair<object,object>>
Public Class ResourceDictionary
Inherits DependencyObject
Implements IDictionary(Of Object, Object), IEnumerable(Of KeyValuePair(Of Object, Object))
- or -
Object IInspectable DependencyObject ResourceDictionary

Windows requirements

Device family
Windows 10 (introduced in 10.0.10240.0)
API contract
Windows.Foundation.UniversalApiContract (introduced in v1.0)


A resource dictionary is a repository for XAML resources, such as styles, that your app uses. You define the resources in XAML and can then retrieve them in XAML using the {StaticResource} markup extension and {ThemeResource} markup extension s. You can also access resources with code, but that is less common. You can use resources to enforce that certain values such as brush colors or pixel measurements are used consistently throughout your app. For more info on using resource dictionaries effectively, see ResourceDictionary and XAML resource references.

Uses of ResourceDictionary elements

The ResourceDictionary type is used as the value of two properties, FrameworkElement.Resources and Application.Resources, that are important to the overall structure of a UWP app. XAML files that you get from a starting project template for an app will start with initial values for FrameworkElement.Resources, and the app.xaml file might start with initial values for Application.Resources. Exactly what resources are defined there depends on which project starting template you're using.

This XAML shows the use of a FrameworkElement.Resources property. In this case the FrameworkElement is a Page. There is no ResourceDictionary element subordinate to the Page.Resources property element, but its presence is implied; for more info see the "Notes on XAML syntax" section below. The XAML places a Style into the ResourceDictionary with an x:Key attribute value of "TextBlockStyle1". Further down in the XAML, the {StaticResource} markup extension references the Style in the resource dictionary to provide a value for the Style property of the TextBlock element.

The Style as shown does not actually apply any styling to the TextBlock, but you can add Style properties in Microsoft Visual Studio. You can then use the Style resource as often as you like on the page to enforce uniformity.

You can use Microsoft Visual Studio to create resource dictionaries. This example was created with these steps: put a TextBlock on the design surface, right click, choose Edit Style / Create Empty, then "This document" to define the new resource in Page.Resources.

        <Style x:Key="TextBlockStyle1" TargetType="TextBlock"/>

    <Grid Background="{ThemeResource ApplicationPageBackgroundThemeBrush}">
        <TextBlock Style="{StaticResource TextBlockStyle1}" Text="TextBlock"/>

This XAML, from the AppPage.xaml file of the AtomPub sample, shows the use of an Application.Resources property. The XAML places two Style elements into the resource dictionary, making them available throughout the application.

<Application xmlns=""
    RequestedTheme="Light" >
            <Style x:Key="TitleStyle" TargetType="TextBlock">
                <Setter Property="Foreground" Value="#707070"/>
                <Setter Property="FontFamily" Value="Segoe UI Light"/>
                <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="16"/>
            <Style x:Key="H1Style" TargetType="TextBlock">
                <Setter Property="Foreground" Value="#212121"/>
                <Setter Property="FontFamily" Value="Segoe UI Semilight"/>
                <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="26.667"/>
                <Setter Property="Margin" Value="0,0,0,25"/>

This XAML from file MainPage.xaml uses the {StaticResource} markup extension to access the TitleStyle and H1Style styles:

<!-- Header -->
<StackPanel x:Name="Header" Grid.Row="0">
    <StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal">
        <TextBlock Text="Windows SDK Samples" VerticalAlignment="Bottom" Style="{StaticResource TitleStyle}" TextWrapping="Wrap"/>
    <TextBlock x:Name="FeatureName" Text="Add Feature Name" Style="{StaticResource H1Style}" TextWrapping="Wrap"/>

You can factor resources into their own XAML file by using ResourceDictionary as the root element of the file. You can then include those resources in a FrameworkElement.Resources or Application.Resources resource dictionary. To do this you use the ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries property or the ResourceDictionary.ThemeDictionaries property of the ResourceDictionary element.

This file, Common/Styles1.xaml, defines Style resources using ResourceDictionary as the root element:


    <Style x:Key="TitleTextStyle" TargetType="TextBlock">
        <Setter Property="FontFamily" Value="Segoe UI Light"/>
        <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="16"/>
    <Style x:Key="HeaderTextStyle" TargetType="TextBlock">
        <Setter Property="FontFamily" Value="Segoe UI Semilight"/>
        <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="26.667"/>
        <Setter Property="Margin" Value="0,0,0,25"/>

Now suppose there is another file, Common/Styles2.xaml that similarly defines Style resources. This XAML shows how to merge the resources in those two files using the ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries property to create an Application.Resources resource dictionary. The XAML also defines two further Style resources and merges them with the resources from the two files.

    .... >
            <Style x:Key="ErrorStyle" TargetType="TextBlock">
                <Setter Property="Foreground" Value="DarkRed"/>
                <Setter Property="FontFamily" Value="Segoe UI Semilight"/>
                <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="15"/>
            <Style x:Key="StatusStyle" TargetType="TextBlock">
                <Setter Property="Foreground" Value="Black"/>
                <Setter Property="FontFamily" Value="Segoe UI Semilight"/>
                <Setter Property="FontSize" Value="15"/>
                    Styles that define common aspects of the platform look and feel
                <ResourceDictionary Source="Common/Styles1.xaml"/>
                <ResourceDictionary Source="Common/Styles2.xaml"/>

For info on how merged dictionary resources are resolved, see the "Merged resource dictionaries" section of ResourceDictionary and XAML resource references.

The x:Key property

In XAML, the keys for ResourceDictionaryitems are declared by setting the x:Key attributeon elements that represent the XAML resources. Typically, if you try to put a child element that does not have a key value into a ResourceDictionary, this throws a XAML parse exception or a Windows Runtimeexception. The exception condition might also be noted as a warning by XAML design surfaces. However, there are three notable cases where a ResourceDictionarychild element won't require an x:Key attributevalue:

Iterating through a ResourceDictionary

You can iterate through a ResourceDictionary in C# or Microsoft Visual Basic. In many cases, such as using foreach syntax, the compiler does this casting for you and you won't need to cast to IEnumerable explicitly. If you do need to cast explicitly, for example if you want to call GetEnumerator, cast to IEnumerable<T> with a KeyValuePair<Object,Object> constraint.

ResourceDictionary and Microsoft Visual Studio

Microsoft Visual Studio provides an Add New Item page choice for a resource dictionary. Use this option whenever you want to define a new loose XAML resource dictionary, for example to serve as the source for a merged dictionary. Microsoft Visual Studio also adds a loose XAML resource dictionary to the project whenever you use Add New Item to create a templated control. This resource dictionary provides the default theme templates. Microsoft Visual Studio might create a new ResourceDictionary for you in your XAML if you are editing copies of styles or templates and a ResourceDictionary for your chosen resource location (app, page, or standalone) doesn't exist yet.

Notes on XAML syntax

Notice that the XAML implicit collection syntax for ResourceDictionary does not include an object element for the ResourceDictionary. This is an example of XAML implicit collection syntax; a tag representing the collection element can be omitted. The elements that are added as items to the collection are specified as child elements of a property element of a property whose underlying type supports a dictionary / map Add method.

For a merged resource dictionary, you do need to explicitly declare a ResourceDictionary object element, so that you can also declare the ResourceDictionary.MergedDictionaries property element and Source. Thus there are a minimum of two ResourceDictionary object elements involved, and you use this syntax.

    <ResourceDictionary Source="uri"/>

In this syntax the outer ResourceDictionary is the primary ResourceDictionary. The inner ResourceDictionary is the ResourceDictionary being merged.

For the implicit collection usage, the placeholder as appropriate for the property FrameworkElement.Resources is shown. You could also use this implicit collection usage for the Application.Resources property, or potentially for a custom property that uses ResourceDictionary as its property type.

Shareable types and UIElement types

A resource dictionary is a technique for defining shareable types and values of these types in XAML. Not all types or values are suitable for usage from a ResourceDictionary. Examples of types where sharing is supported include Style, any FrameworkTemplate subclass, the XAML intrinsic data types, brushes, colors, and transforms. For more info on which types are considered shareable, see ResourceDictionary and XAML resource references. Generally, UIElement-derived types are not shareable unless they come from templates and application of a template on a specific control instance. Excluding the template case, a UIElement is expected to exist in only one place in an object tree after it is instantiated, and having a UIElement be shareable would potentially violate this principle.

In practice, the vast majority of the resources defined in a ResourceDictionary will be one of these:

  • Control templates for a control, including its visual states.
  • Supporting styles for parts of controls
  • Styles for elements that are part of typical app UI but aren't controls, like TextBlock
  • Data templates for controls and panels that use data binding
  • Specific Brush values, mostly SolidColorBrush
  • Strings or other constants that never need to be localized (strings and constants that do need to be localized shouldn't be in a ResourceDictionary; for more info see Quickstart: Translating UI resources)

Accessing a ResourceDictionary object in code

The API that your code uses to access the resources in a ResourceDictionary depends on which programming language you use:

For more info on how to use ResourceDictionary in code, see "Using a ResourceDictionary from code" section of ResourceDictionary and XAML resource references.

System resources

Some theme resources reference system resource values as an underlying sub-value. A system resource is a special resource value that isn't found in any XAML resource dictionary. These values rely on behavior in Windows Runtime XAML support to forward values from the system itself, and represent them in a form that a XAML resource can reference.

Notes for previous versions

Resource loading optimization in Windows 8.1

Starting with Windows 8.1, there's a resource loading optimization that's enabled by the app model and the Windows Runtime XAML parser. For Windows 8, the XAML parser loaded resources from app.xaml and created each of them as objects as part of startup. That wasn't very efficient if there were big dictionaries there. Also, those resources included the items that were needed by all three themes, and two of the three themes wouldn't even be active. Starting with Windows 8.1, the XAML parser only creates the resources when they're specifically requested. The request might come from other resources or from app or page XAML as each is loaded. This parser behavior minimizes the time it takes to read the app-level dictionary at startup time, and enables the first app page to load faster in most cases. Resources needed by other currently inactive themes are only loaded if that theme is chosen to become the active theme by the user. At that time, any resource where the {ThemeResource} markup extension was used for the request is recalculated based on the newly active theme.

Windows 8 behavior

Windows 8 didn't have the optimizations described above. The ResourceDictionary for Application.Resources had to finish parsing before any page other than the splash screen could load into the app's Window. Because of this you might see some differences in timing when you retarget your app for Windows 8.1. The app should be loading faster, however it may not be possible to isolate this improvement versus other changes you've made to your app code as part of retargeting. Some of the places where you might see evidence of timing changes due to optimized resource loading include when the constructors are called by the parser, for objects like Application objects, converters, or other custom classes. Apps that were compiled for Windows 8 but running on Windows 8.1 continue to use the Windows 8 behavior.

For more info on performance and XAML resource factoring, see Optimize your XAML markup.



Initializes a new instance of the ResourceDictionary class.



Gets the CoreDispatcher that this object is associated with. The CoreDispatcher represents a facility that can access the DependencyObject on the UI thread even if the code is initiated by a non-UI thread.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)

Gets a collection of the ResourceDictionary dictionaries that constitute the various resource dictionaries in the merged dictionaries.


Gets the number of elements contained in the collection.


Gets or sets a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that provides the source location of a merged resource dictionary.


Gets a collection of merged resource dictionaries that are specifically keyed and composed to address theme scenarios, for example supplying theme values for "HighContrast".



Removes all items from this ResourceDictionary.


Clears the local value of a dependency property.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)

Returns an iterator for the items in the collection.


Returns any base value established for a dependency property, which would apply in cases where an animation is not active.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)

Returns the current effective value of a dependency property from a DependencyObject.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)

Retrieves a view against the ResourceDictionary.


Returns whether the ResourceDictionary has an entry with the requested key.

Insert(Object, Object)

Adds a new entry to the ResourceDictionary.


Returns the value from the requested key, if an entry with that key exists.


Returns the local value of a dependency property, if a local value is set.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)
RegisterPropertyChangedCallback(DependencyProperty, DependencyPropertyChangedCallback)

Registers a notification function for listening to changes to a specific DependencyProperty on this DependencyObject instance.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)

Removes a specific item from the ResourceDictionary.

SetValue(DependencyProperty, Object)

Sets the local value of a dependency property on a DependencyObject.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)
UnregisterPropertyChangedCallback(DependencyProperty, Int64)

Cancels a change notification that was previously registered by calling RegisterPropertyChangedCallback.

(Inherited from DependencyObject)

Applies to

See also