Demystifying WPF XML namespaces

WPF XML namespaces are those fancy little cryptic strings at the top of every WPF application that you use (generally prefixed with xmlns=”..”, meaning that they are the ‘default’ namespace [i.e. no prefix required]).

But what do they mean?

Simply put, they are ‘short cuts’ to import a whole plethora of .NET WPF assemblies and make their contents available for use in your XAML file.

The most commonly used namespace is, and it imports the following .NET namespaces

  • System.Windows
  • System.Windows.Automation
  • System.Windows.Controls
  • System.Windows.Controls.Primitives
  • System.Windows.Data
  • System.Windows.Documents
  • System.Windows.Forms.Integration
  • System.Windows.Ink
  • System.Windows.Input
  • System.Windows.Media
  • System.Windows.Media.Animation
  • System.Windows.Media.Effects
  • System.Windows.Media.Imaging
  • System.Windows.Media.Media3D
  • System.Windows.Media.TextFormatting
  • System.Windows.Navigation
  • System.Windows.Shapes
  • System.Windows.Shell

As you might (or might not) know, there are other XML namespaces that you can use, each represents a particular version of WPF as follows (to date):

Note that these are all mapped to the same WPF assemblies, though they implicitly define which version of WPF you are targeting.

Also, a note about winfx vs netfx:  winfx was the original name that was used to refer to the W*F technologies (WCF,WPF,WF)… this was later ditched by Microsoft.


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