Using FontAwesome in a WPF application

  • .NET

FontAwesome is a font with just over 500 icons. This font is very much used for the web.

FontAwesome can also be used for WPF applications. This is what we will see in this article.

Step 1: include the font

The first step is obviously to download the font and to include the TTF file as project resource (direct link):

We can now declare the Font in WPF resources:

<Window ...>
   <Window.Resources>
   <FontFamily x:Key="FontAwesome">pack://application:,,,/Resources/#fontawesome</FontFamily>
   </Window.Resources>

   <Grid>
   <TextBlock Text="&#xf0fc;" FontFamily="{StaticResource FontAwesome}" FontSize="60" />
   </Grid>
</Window>

That's what this piece of XAML shows:

Ok, the result is there but it is absolutely not practical to use because the Unicode value is not very explicit. The list of name-value associations is available in the less variables file or sass file (_variables.scss) (available in the downloaded zip archive at the beginning). These variables are in the following form:

@fa-var-adjust: "\f042";
@fa-var-adn: "\f170";
@fa-var-align-center: "\f037";
@fa-var-align-justify: "\f039";
@fa-var-align-left: "\f036";

We will use this file to simplify the use of FontAwesome.

Step 2: Simplify use with a T4

The idea is to use a T4 file to generate a C# file from the less variables file. The T4 file is on GitHub:

The code generated by the T4 makes it possible to recover the associations in 3 different ways:

  • Using an enumeration

    public enum FontAwesomeIconEnum
    {
      /// <summary>
      /// fa-adjust icon (f042)
      /// </summary>
      Adjust = 0xf042,
      /// <summary>
      /// fa-adn icon (f170)
      /// </summary>
      Adn = 0xf170,
      ...
    }
  • Using constants

    public static partial class FontAwesomeIcons
    {
      /// <summary>
      /// fa-adjust icon (f042)
      /// </summary>
      public const string Adjust = "\uf042";
      /// <summary>
      /// fa-adn icon (f170)
      /// </summary>
      public const string Adn = "\uf170";
      /// <summary>
      /// fa-align-center icon (f037)
      /// </summary>
      public const string AlignCenter = "\uf037";
      ...
    }
  • Using a Dictionary

    public static partial class FontAwesomeIcons
    {
        private static IDictionary<string, string> _allIcons;
        public static IDictionary<string, string> AllIcons
        {
            get { return _allIcons; }
        }
    
        static FontAwesomeIcons()
        {
            _allIcons = new Dictionary<string, string>(StringComparer.OrdinalIgnoreCase);
            _allIcons.Add("adjust", "\uf042");
            _allIcons.Add("adn", "\uf170");
            _allIcons.Add("align-center", "\uf037");
            _allIcons.Add("AlignCenter", "\uf037");
            ...
        }
    }

Depending on the need you can disable. For this you have to modify the T4 file:

const bool generateEnum = true;
const bool generateConstants = true;
const bool generateDictionary = true;

This long list of constants can be used directly in XAML:

<TextBlock Text="{x:Static local:FontAwesomeIcons.Beer}" FontFamily="{StaticResource FontAwesome}"/>

It is therefore much more readable and there is no risk of using an icon that does not exist.

Step 3: Simplify even more use with a MarkupExtension

In a previous article on enumerations with WPF, I had already introduced the MarkupExtension. This is another opportunity to use this magic weapon to simplify the code:

[MarkupExtensionReturnType(typeof(string))]
public partial class IconExtension : MarkupExtension
{
    public IconExtension()
    {
    }

    public IconExtension(FontAwesomeIconEnum icon)
    {
        Icon = icon;
    }

    [ConstructorArgument("icon")]
    public FontAwesomeIconEnum Icon { get; set; }

    public override object ProvideValue(IServiceProvider serviceProvider)
    {
        return ((char)Icon).ToString();
    }
}

This allows you to use the following XAML code:

<TextBlock Text="{local:Icon Beer}" FontFamily="{StaticResource FontAwesome}" />

The gain is minimal but hey it's still that 😃

Bonus: fa-spin and fa-pulse animations

The CSS class fa-spin makes it possible to create a rotation type animation. WPF also supports animations, so it's possible to get the same result as in CSS.

<TextBlock Text="{local:Icon Spinner}" FontFamily="{StaticResource FontAwesome}" VerticalAlignment="Center" HorizontalAlignment="Center">
    <TextBlock.Style>
        <Style TargetType="TextBlock">
            <Setter Property="RenderTransformOrigin" Value="0.5 0.5"/>
            <Setter Property="RenderTransform">
                <Setter.Value>
                    <RotateTransform Angle="0"/>
                </Setter.Value>
            </Setter>
            <Style.Triggers>
                <EventTrigger RoutedEvent="Loaded">
                    <BeginStoryboard>
                        <Storyboard>
                            <DoubleAnimation Storyboard.TargetProperty="(UIElement.RenderTransform).(RotateTransform.Angle)"
                                From="0"
                                To="360"
                                Duration="0:0:2"
                                RepeatBehavior="Forever"/>
                        </Storyboard>
                    </BeginStoryboard>
                </EventTrigger>
            </Style.Triggers>
        </Style>
    </TextBlock.Style>
</TextBlock>

For fa-pulse it is necessary to divide the animation of the rotation into 8 steps (e.g. 45° at each stage):

<TextBlock Text="{local:Icon Spinner}" FontFamily="{StaticResource FontAwesome}" VerticalAlignment="Center" HorizontalAlignment="Center">
    <TextBlock.Style>
        <Style TargetType="TextBlock">
            <Setter Property="RenderTransformOrigin" Value="0.5 0.5"/>
            <Setter Property="RenderTransform">
                <Setter.Value>
                    <RotateTransform Angle="0"/>
                </Setter.Value>
            </Setter>
            <Style.Triggers>
                <EventTrigger RoutedEvent="Loaded">
                    <BeginStoryboard>
                        <Storyboard>
                            <DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames Storyboard.TargetProperty="(UIElement.RenderTransform).(RotateTransform.Angle)"
                                    Duration="0:0:1"
                                    RepeatBehavior="Forever">
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="45" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="90" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="135" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="180" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="225" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="270" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="315" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                                <DiscreteDoubleKeyFrame Value="360" KeyTime="Uniform"/>
                            </DoubleAnimationUsingKeyFrames>
                        </Storyboard>
                    </BeginStoryboard>
                </EventTrigger>
            </Style.Triggers>
        </Style>
    </TextBlock.Style>
</TextBlock>

The full code is available on GitHub: https://github.com/meziantou/WPFFontAwesome

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