Content Index Search

Working with simple styles

Microsoft® Expression Blend™ enables you to go above and beyond simply working with default or system controls as you design the user interface (UI) for your application. Instead, you can actually customize and style controls to your liking to make them perform the way you want and—through the use of resources in Expression Blend—give them a unique, attractive look to differentiate your application from others as a way to create a highly branded experience or to create a consistent UI across all of your applications.

What are simple styles?

Simple styles are a set of custom, ready-to-use style resources for a set of common system controls, such as the Button and ListBox controls. Expression Blend provides these simple style resources because modifying the style of a system control requires some knowledge of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) styles and templates in order to not break the functionality of the control. You can use the simple styles in Expression Blend as a self-contained set of resources that you can quickly modify to create a unique look for your application, without having to start with an understanding of WPF styles and templates.

Creating a simple style control

Simple styles are available in the Asset Library, on the Controls tab, by clicking Simple Styles. Select the Show All check box to see all of the available simple styles. After you select a simple style from the Asset Library, the icon for the simple style appears above the Asset Library button Asset Library button and is selected, ready to be drawn on the artboard. When you draw a simple style (such as the SimpleButton) onto the artboard, you actually create an instance of the system control (such as the Button), but with the SimpleButton style applied to it.

If you want the simple styles to be applied to the tools that are available in the drop-down lists for some of the tools in the Toolbox, you can click the Use as Default button in the Asset Library when Simple Styles is selected on the Controls tab.

The Asset Library showing the available simple style controls, and the option to make them the default styles

The Asset Library showing the available simple style controls, and the option to make them the default styles.

The following table lists the available simple styles and the controls to which they apply.

Simple styleControl to which it applies
SimpleButtonButton Button control
SimpleCheckBoxCheckBox CheckBox control
SimpleComboBoxComboBox ComboBox control
SimpleExpanderExpander Expander control
SimpleLabelLabel Label control
SimpleListBoxListBox ListBox control
SimpleMenuMenu Menu control
SimpleMenuItemMenuItem MenuItem control
SimpleProgressBarProgressBar ProgressBar control
SimpleRadioButtonRadioButton RadioButton control
SimpleRepeatButtonRepeatButton in a ListBox control
SimpleScrollBarScrollBar ScrollBar control
SimpleScrollBarRepeatButtonStyleRepeatButton in a ScrollBar control
SimpleScrollViewerScrollViewer ScrollViewer control
SimpleSeparatorSeparator in a ListBox, Menu, or ToolBar control
SimpleSliderSlider Slider control
SimpleSliderThumbThumb in a Slider control
SimpleTabControlTabControl TabControl control
SimpleTabItemTabItem in a TabControl
SimpleTextBoxTextBox TextBox control
SimpleThumbStyleThumb in a ScrollBar in a ListBox control
SimpleTreeViewTreeView TreeView control
SimpleTreeViewItemTreeViewItem in a TreeView control
SimpleTreeViewItemToggleButtonToggleButton in a TreeView control

Modifying simple styles

The simple style resources are contained in a resource dictionary named SimpleStyles.xaml. After you add a simple style to the artboard from the Toolbox, the SimpleStyles.xaml resource dictionary is added to your project, and all of the simple style resources are visible in the Resources panel.

The SimpleStyles.xaml resource dictionary includes brush resources and other templates that are used by the simple styles. You can make any of the following changes to the simple styles:

For a detailed comparison between styles and templates, see Styles and templates. For specific information about simple styles and examples of modifying the simple styles and control templates, see the topics listed under Reference and Try it! in Simple styles.

Applying a style resource to an existing control on the artboard

The simple styles are resources that can be applied and managed like any other resource. For an example, see Apply a style resource in this User Guide. For more information about resources, see Resource overview in this User Guide.