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Masked Input Overview

Most text editors (TextEdit descendants) shipped with the WPF Data Editors Library allow you to use masks during editing. Masks provide restricted data input as well as formatted data output.

Using masks in editors is useful when an entered string needs to match a specific format. For instance, a text editor should accept date/time values in a 24-hour format or numeric values. Another example is entering a phone number within an editor (an end-user needs to enter only digits, while hyphens should be automatically skipped while editing). Use the masked input to support these and many other data input formats.

WPF Data Editors fully support the following mask types.

  • Numeric

    This mask type is the best choice when you need to restrict input to numeric values. The mask is specified using simple .NET Framework format strings. If you need to restrict input to currency values, you can simply specify the one-character "c" mask. No literal characters will be allowed, and the mask will not allow more than two digits after the decimal point. End-users will be able to navigate though digits and increase or decrease their values using UP and DOWN arrows or mouse wheel.

  • Date-Time

    This mask type has a lot in common with the Numeric mask and is used for date-time values. You can also specify the mask using .NET Framework format strings as the same end-user capabilities are available. They include navigation between value sections (days, months, years, hours, etc.) and incremental value modifications using the keyboard and mouse wheel.

  • Simple Masks

    This mask type is the best when you need to enter strings of limited length, such as phone numbers, zip codes, social security numbers, etc. The mask is specified using a sequence of characters. Some characters serve as placeholders for digits or letters, while others are literals used to separate value sections. An example of such literals is parentheses for the area code in a phone number.

  • Regular Expression Masks

    If the mask types listed above do not meet your business requirements, you can use regular expressions that have no limitations - any regular expression can be used as a mask.

Expanded General Information

An editor's mask settings can be defined using the properties that have the 'Mask' prefix (such as the TextEdit.MaskType, TextEdit.Mask, TextEdit.MaskCulture, etc.). Masks are usually used in edit mode. When an editor is not in edit mode, its display text can be also formatted using the specified mask, if the TextEdit.MaskUseAsDisplayFormat property is set to true. If this property is false, an editor's display text is composed using the BaseEdit.DisplayFormatString format in display mode.

IME is disabled in all masked editors.


Masked input is not supported by the following TextEdit descendants: ComboBoxEdit, LookUpEdit, MemoEdit, PopupColorEdit and PopupImageEdit.

Expanded Design-Time Enhancements

The Mask Editor allows you to quickly create and customize masks of any complexity at design-time.

Expanded Concepts

Expanded Masked Input Options

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