c#   wpf   combobox   button

ComboBox controls are great for selecting an item from a list of items; that’s literally what they’re there for. But what if you want to select an item, add it to somewhere, select another item, and add it again. There are few approaches you can take.

  • On SelectionChanged event handler, add to a list. Perhaps not the most user-friendly option.
  • Multi-select ComboBox, and each item has a CheckBox control to select/deselect. Okay, this is pretty neat.

But I want to take a different approach. I simply want to select an item old style, and then click a Button to add it to a list. This is actually pretty easy; on the Click event handler of the Button simply retrieve the SelectedItem of the ComboBox and add the value to a list. This is all good, but the problem is that the two controls stand alone. So I want to bundle them together and have a custom control, and we’ll use a UserControl for this purpose. I want it to look something like this:

Buttoned ComboBox Concept

So my UserControl would have two controls; a ComboBox and a Button. I want to be able to bind something from the ‘main’ (parent) to the UserControl. Then upon selecting something and clicking the Button, I want the UserControl to notify to the parent of the event occurrence, and also pass the selected value.

The UserControl’s XAML

<UserControl ...
             d:DesignHeight="40" d:DesignWidth="200">
            <ColumnDefinition Width="160"/>
            <ColumnDefinition Width="40"/>

        <ComboBox Grid.Column="0" Margin="4" Name="ItemsComboBox"
                  ItemsSource="{Binding Source, RelativeSource={RelativeSource AncestorType=UserControl}}"/>
        <Button Grid.Column="1" Margin="4" Content="+"

The following binding will allow me to bind a list of data in the parent to the ComboBox in my UserControl.

    <local:UCComboButton Grid.Row="0" Width="200" Height="40" x:Name="MyUC"
                         Source="{Binding Names}"/>

And in the UserControls code behind:

public partial class UCComboButton : UserControl
    public UCComboButton()

    // We use this dependency property to bind a list to the combo box.
    public static readonly DependencyProperty SourceProperty = DependencyProperty.Register("Source", typeof(IEnumerable), typeof(UCComboButton), new PropertyMetadata(null));

    public IEnumerable Source
        get { return (IEnumerable)GetValue(SourceProperty); }
        set { SetValue(SourceProperty, value); }

    // This is to send the occurred event, in this case button click, to the parent, along with the selected data.
    public class SelectedItemEventArgs : EventArgs
        public string SelectedChoice { get; set; }

    public event EventHandler<SelectedItemEventArgs> ItemHasBeenSelected;

    private void Button_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
        var selected = ItemsComboBox.SelectedValue;
        ItemHasBeenSelected?.Invoke(this, new SelectedItemEventArgs { SelectedChoice = selected.ToString() });

Now in the MainWindow.xaml.cs:

public MainWindow()
    // Subscribe to the item selected event
    MyUC.ItemHasBeenSelected += UCButtonClicked;

    Names = new List<string>

    DataContext = this;

void UCButtonClicked(object sender, UCComboButton.SelectedItemEventArgs e)
    var value = e.SelectedChoice;
    // Do something with the value

Note that the above Names list is what’s bound to the UserControl from the main window XAML.