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WPF Concepts: Implict ZIndex, Explicit ZIndex & Popup

May 24, 2007

I’m going over some API feedback/questions here.

To help illustrate ZIndex & Popup, I wrote a quick sample to illustrate the differences between:
1) implicit zindex based on tree order (green will be on top of red due to this)
2) explicit zindex (any element can pop out of implicit zindex order with Panel.ZIndex)
3) using <Popup /> (popups appear above all elements and can go outside the window)

You can download the sample from (this project was created in VS "Orcas" Beta1 targetting .Net 3.0.)


<Window x:Class="ZIndexPopupExample.Window1"
   Title="ZIndex-Implicit by order in tree vs Explicit" Height="300" Width="800"
       <Canvas Margin="10,10,10,100" Background="Blue" Visibility="Hidden" Name="explicitZIndex" Panel.ZIndex="1" />
       <Label IsTabStop="True" Name="Instructions" VerticalAlignment="Bottom" HorizontalAlignment="Center" MinWidth="1in" xml:space="preserve">‘B’, ‘R’, ‘P’ – Show/Hide Blue Rect, Red Rect, or Popup.
‘Esc’ to reset All.
       <Canvas Margin="10,10,100,50" Background="Red" Visibility="Hidden" Name="implicitZIndex" />
       <Canvas Height="10" Width="10" Background="Green" VerticalAlignment="Center" HorizontalAlignment="Center" />
       <Popup Name="popup" PopupAnimation="Fade" Placement="Center" Width="1200"><TextBlock Padding="30" Background="Orange">I’m a popup</TextBlock></Popup>



using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using System.Windows;
using System.Windows.Controls;
using System.Windows.Data;
using System.Windows.Documents;
using System.Windows.Input;
using System.Windows.Shapes;
using System.Windows.Media;
using System.Windows.Media.Imaging;
using System.Windows.Navigation;

namespace ZIndexPopupExample
    /// <summary>
    /// Interaction logic for Window1.xaml
    /// </summary>

    public partial class Window1 : Window
        public Window1()

        void handleKeyDown(object sender, KeyEventArgs e)
            switch (e.Key)
                case Key.B:
                case Key.R:
                case Key.P:
                    popup.IsOpen = !popup.IsOpen;
                case Key.Escape:
                    explicitZIndex.Visibility = Visibility.Hidden;
                    implicitZIndex.Visibility = Visibility.Hidden;
                    popup.IsOpen = false;

        void ToggleVisibility(UIElement element)
            switch (element.Visibility)
                case Visibility.Collapsed: //just put this one in for completeness…
                    element.Visibility = Visibility.Visible;
                case Visibility.Hidden:
                    element.Visibility = Visibility.Visible;
                case Visibility.Visible:
                    element.Visibility = Visibility.Hidden;



From → WPF

  1. Danyel permalink

    I love popups, but the fact that their Z order is "above everything else in the world" makes them hard to use for almost any windowing application… is there a way to talk a popup into having a z order on top of this window?

  2. Danyel permalink

    To answer my own question: they\’ll go away on their own if you set StaysOpen to false.

  3. Graham permalink

    I thought I would take a stab at trying to create an Application Button control that is similar to the Application button in Microsoft Office 2007 applications. It occurred to me that the standard ComboBox is similar to the application button. So I thought I would try to style the SimpleComboBox style to get the effect I wanted. All was well until it came to displaying the contents of the Expander when the ToggleButton is clicked. In order to make it appear the the expander was flying out from the toggle button I set the VerticalOffset of the Expander to -20. This is great! Except…. The damn expander is always topmost. I tried wrapping the Expander in a canvas control and then setting the Canvas.ZIndex to be behind everything else so it would draw behind the toggle button. My fundamental problem is:I can\’t set the ZIndex of the Expander and have it actually work. The damn popup always is on top which is not what I want. I am sure I can make this work if I replace the popup with a border of some sort but then I lose all the cool placement and animation functionality of the Expander.Is there any way to set the ZIndex on an expander???

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