I'm having a hard time researching this pattern for WPF, partly because I'm not exactly sure of the correct term for it.

As best as I can describe it, here is how this editing pattern works:

Given is a UI which has a container that contains zero or more child elements, and allows the user to create a selection of zero or more of these child elements. Each of these child elements is a form editor. Each child element has the exact same controls. When the user selects two or more of these controls, changes within the editing controls of one form are reflected within all selected forms.

Because my description sucks, here's an example I'll couch in terms of a windows form application.

Here's a ListBox with three copies of the same UserControl. The selected UserControl is colored light blue


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Editing text in the text box only enters text in the selected UserControl


download bmml source

Now, select the two other UserControls


download bmml source

And edits apply to both of the UserControls


download bmml source

What is the name of this pattern?

And, if anybody can tell me if this pattern is implemented within the WPF framework and where to start my research, I'd greatly appreciate it!

  • Closest thing I can think of is multi-line editing like in an IDE, but it's not really the same
    – Ben Brocka
    Jul 11, 2012 at 20:36
  • @BenBrocka: I swear I've seen this before. I'm pretty sure it is the default behavior in forms designed in Access, but I haven't dabbled in that for years (luckily).
    – Ripped Off
    Jul 11, 2012 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


It's basically group editing, or at least that's the name I know. Select a bunch of files on your Windows desktop, then hit F2. One of them will be selected and put into rename mode. Change its name and you'll see that the same name was applied to all your selected files, along with a serial number to keep them unique. If that's what you meant.

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