Filtering and Sorting a WPF ListBox

This article shows how to filter and sort data in a WPF ListBox.

In the previous article, LINQ to SQL with WPF, and ListBox SelectedItem binding, you saw how to use LINQ to SQL with WPF, and bind the SelectedItem of a ListBox control. This article builds on the same source application and further adds more functionality to it.

Filtering Data

Remove the TextBox created in the previous example and add a new TextBox and a Button control. This TextBox will contain the filter criteria. On click of the Button, the filter operation takes place and the ListBox will display only that data which satisfies the filter condition. The XAML should be as follows:

<Window x:Class="LinqToSql.MainWindow"
Title="MainWindow" Height="350" Width="525" Loaded="Window_Loaded">
ListBox Name="lstNames" Background="BlanchedAlmond" Margin="158,20,144,183" SelectedItem="{Binding FirstName}">
StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal">
<TextBlock Name="FirstName" Width="100" Text="{Binding Path=FirstName}"></TextBlock>
<TextBlock Name="LastName" Width="100" Text="{Binding Path=LastName}"></TextBlock>
TextBlock Height="23" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="38,145,0,0" Name="textBlock1" Text="Type Employee Name:" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="114" />
<TextBox Name="txtSearch" Height="23" HorizontalAlignment="Right" Margin="0,145,144,0" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="201" />
<Button Content="Filter" Height="23" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="284,196,0,0" Name="button1" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="75" Click="button1_Click" />
<TextBlock Height="24" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="38,30,0,0" Name="textBlock2" Text="Select an entry:" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="114"

The code-behind class contains the logic to perform the filtering operation.

public partial class MainWindow : Window
        private static EmpDataContext _dataDC = new EmpDataContext();
        private ObservableEmployee _knownEmp;

        public MainWindow()

        private void Window_Loaded(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
            knownEmp = new ObservableEmployee(_dataDC);
            this.lstNames.ItemsSource = _knownEmp;

        private void button1_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
            string searchText = txtSearch.Text;

            lstNames.Items.Filter = delegate(object obj)
                Employee emp = (Employee)obj;
                string str = emp.FirstName.ToString();
                if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(str)) return false;
                int index = str.IndexOf(searchText, 0);

                return (index > -1);

Instead of using an anonymous delegate as shown in the above code, you could also use a lambda expression if you are familiar with it.

The outcome of the application is shown below:


Figure 1

On typing the name Steven, and clicking Filter, the output is as follows:


Figure 2

Sorting Data

Similarly you can sort the data in a particular order. The SortDescription structure enables you to perform a sort operation by specifying a property name and a sort direction. The below snippet adds a SortDescription to sort data based on name in ascending order.

lstNames.Items.SortDescriptions.Add(new SortDescription("FirstName", ListSortDirection.Ascending));
To use the ListSortDirection class, you must reference the System.ComponentModel namespace as follows:

using System.ComponentModel;

Add the following markup to the XAML file:

<Button Content="Sort" Height="23" HorizontalAlignment="Left" Margin="300,193,0,0" Name="button2" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="75" Click="button2_Click" />

In the code-behind, you will add the following code:

private void button2_Click(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)
    lstNames.Items.SortDescriptions.Add(new SortDescription("FirstName",                 


The output after clicking Sort is as follows:


Figure 3

Conclusion: This article covered filtering and sorting in a WPF ListBox control.

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