Xamarin.Tip – Build Your Own CheckBox in Xamarin.Forms

So how many times have you looked this up? Maybe tried an open source control that didn’t quite work the way you wanted or was super restricted? Just used two different images and switch their IsVisible flag depending if it was tapped or not?
Screw that.

Here’s how you can build your own nice looking checkboxes for iOS and Android with Xamarin.Forms.

Getting Everything Together

So Android has a built in Checkbox view – so the decision on how to handle that is easy. However, iOS doesn’t like checkboxes… note sure why, but they don’t and don’t have a good built in UIControl for it. You could build your own, but I would suggest using BEMCheckbox: https://github.com/Boris-Em/BEMCheckBox

This thing looks good, works well, is super flexible, and well supported. Even better, our super awesome community has wrapped it in a good binding library and stuck it on NuGet!

GitHub: https://github.com/saturdaymp/XPlugins.iOS.BEMCheckBox
NuGet: https://www.nuget.org/packages/SaturdayMP.XPlugins.iOS.BEMCheckBox/

Let’s focus on using this for the iOS renderer, and get started building this damn thing once and for all.

The Xamarin.Forms Side

We’re going to need a bunch of properties for colors for different states, as well as a Command and Event for handling when the check changes. Here’s the class to encapsulate all that:

Checkbox.cs

using System;
using System.Windows.Input;
using Xamarin.Forms;
...

/// <summary>
/// A xamarin.forms custom checkbox control that will use native renderers under the hood
/// </summary>
public class Checkbox : View
{
    public event EventHandler OnCheckChanged;

    public static BindableProperty OutlineColorProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(OutlineColor), typeof(Color), typeof(Checkbox), Color.Black);
    public static BindableProperty InnerColorProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(InnerColor), typeof(Color), typeof(Checkbox), Color.White);
    public static BindableProperty CheckColorProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(CheckColor), typeof(Color), typeof(Checkbox), Color.Black);
    public static BindableProperty CheckedOutlineColorProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(CheckedOutlineColor), typeof(Color), typeof(Checkbox), Color.Black);
    public static BindableProperty CheckedInnerColorProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(CheckedInnerColor), typeof(Color), typeof(Checkbox), Color.White);
    public static BindableProperty IsCheckedProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(IsChecked), typeof(bool), typeof(Checkbox), false, BindingMode.TwoWay);
    public static BindableProperty CheckedCommandProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(CheckedCommand), typeof(ICommand), typeof(Checkbox), null);
    public static BindableProperty CheckedCommandParameterProperty = BindableProperty.Create(nameof(CheckedCommandParameter), typeof(object), typeof(Checkbox), null);

    public object CheckedCommandParameter
    {
        get
        {
            return GetValue(CheckedCommandParameterProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(CheckedCommandParameterProperty, value);
        }
    }
    public ICommand CheckedCommand
    {
        get
        {
            return (ICommand)GetValue(CheckedCommandProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(CheckedCommandProperty, value);
        }
    }
    public bool IsChecked
    {
        get
        {
            return (bool)GetValue(IsCheckedProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(IsCheckedProperty, value);
        }
    }
    public Color CheckColor
    {
        get
        {
            return (Color)GetValue(CheckColorProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(CheckColorProperty, value);
        }
    }
    public Color InnerColor
    {
        get
        {
            return (Color)GetValue(InnerColorProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(InnerColorProperty, value);
        }
    }
    public Color OutlineColor
    {
        get
        {
            return (Color)GetValue(OutlineColorProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(OutlineColorProperty, value);
        }
    }
    public Color CheckedInnerColor
    {
        get
        {
            return (Color)GetValue(CheckedInnerColorProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(CheckedInnerColorProperty, value);
        }
    }
    public Color CheckedOutlineColor
    {
        get
        {
            return (Color)GetValue(CheckedOutlineColorProperty);
        }
        set
        {
            SetValue(CheckedOutlineColorProperty, value);
        }
    }

    public void FireCheckChange()
    {
        OnCheckChanged?.Invoke(this, new CheckChangedArgs
        {
            IsChecked = IsChecked
        });
    }

    public class CheckChangedArgs : EventArgs
    {
        public bool IsChecked { get; set; }
    }
}

Now that we have a component set up to manage all the different colors and handle the checked state and events, we need to create native renderers to use and update these!

Let’s start with Android.

Android Checkbox Renderer

Android has a built in CheckBox control, so we can use that directly in our renderer. Here’s what that might look like:

AndroidCheckboxRenderer.cs

using System;
using Android.Content;
using Android.Content.Res;
using Android.Support.V7.Widget;
using Android.Widget;
using Xamarin.Forms;
using Xamarin.Forms.Platform.Android;
...

/// <summary>
/// Xamarin.Forms custom renderer for the Checkbox control
/// </summary>
public class CheckboxRenderer : ViewRenderer<Checkbox, AppCompatCheckBox>, CompoundButton.IOnCheckedChangeListener
{
    private const int DEFAULT_SIZE = 28;

    public CheckboxRenderer(Context context) : base(context)
    {
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Used for registration with dependency service to ensure it isn't linked out
    /// </summary>
    public static void Init()
    {
        // intentionally empty
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Update element bindable property from event
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="buttonView">Button view.</param>
    /// <param name="isChecked">If set to <c>true</c> is checked.</param>
    public void OnCheckedChanged(CompoundButton buttonView, bool isChecked)
    {
        ((IViewController)Element).SetValueFromRenderer(Checkbox.IsCheckedProperty, isChecked);
        Element.CheckedCommand?.Execute(Element.CheckedCommandParameter);
    }

    public override SizeRequest GetDesiredSize(int widthConstraint, int heightConstraint)
    {
        var sizeConstraint = base.GetDesiredSize(widthConstraint, heightConstraint);

        if (sizeConstraint.Request.Width == 0)
        {
            var width = widthConstraint;
            if (widthConstraint <= 0)
            {
                System.Diagnostics.Debug.WriteLine("Default values");
                width = DEFAULT_SIZE;
            }
            else if (widthConstraint <= 0)
            {
                width = DEFAULT_SIZE;
            }

            sizeConstraint = new SizeRequest(new Size(width, sizeConstraint.Request.Height),
                new Size(width, sizeConstraint.Minimum.Height));
        }

        return sizeConstraint;
    }


    /// <summary>
    /// Called when the control is created or changed
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="e">E.</param>
    protected override void OnElementChanged(ElementChangedEventArgs<Checkbox> e)
    {
        base.OnElementChanged(e);
        if (e.NewElement != null)
        {
            if (Control == null)
            {
                var checkBox = new AppCompatCheckBox(Context);

                if (Element.OutlineColor != default(Color))
                {
                    var backgroundColor = GetBackgroundColorStateList(Element.OutlineColor);
                    checkBox.SupportButtonTintList = backgroundColor;
                    checkBox.BackgroundTintList = GetBackgroundColorStateList(Element.InnerColor);
                    checkBox.ForegroundTintList = GetBackgroundColorStateList(Element.OutlineColor);

                }
                checkBox.SetOnCheckedChangeListener(this);
                SetNativeControl(checkBox);
            }

            Control.Checked = e.NewElement.IsChecked;
        }
    }


    protected override void OnElementPropertyChanged(object sender, System.ComponentModel.PropertyChangedEventArgs e)
    {
        base.OnElementPropertyChanged(sender, e);
        if (e.PropertyName == nameof(Element.IsChecked))
        {
            Control.Checked = Element.IsChecked;
        }
        else
        {
            var backgroundColor = GetBackgroundColorStateList(Element.CheckColor);
            Control.SupportButtonTintList = backgroundColor;
            Control.BackgroundTintList = GetBackgroundColorStateList(Element.InnerColor);
            Control.ForegroundTintList = GetBackgroundColorStateList(Element.OutlineColor);
        }
    }

    /// <summary>
    /// Sync from native control
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="sender">Sender.</param>
    /// <param name="e">E.</param>
    private void CheckBoxCheckedChange(object sender, CompoundButton.CheckedChangeEventArgs e)
    {
        Element.IsChecked = e.IsChecked;
    }


    private ColorStateList GetBackgroundColorStateList(Color color)
    {
        return new ColorStateList(
            new[]
            {
                new[] {-global::Android.Resource.Attribute.StateEnabled}, // checked
                new[] {-global::Android.Resource.Attribute.StateChecked}, // unchecked
                new[] {global::Android.Resource.Attribute.StateChecked} // checked
            },
            new int[]
            {
                color.WithSaturation(0.1).ToAndroid(),
                color.ToAndroid(),
                color.ToAndroid()
            });
    }

}

This is basically just setting up the ColorStateList for the control based on the colors from the controls and then wiring up the state to and events to the Xamarin.Forms control we created and the native Android Checkbox.

Now let’s look at iOS.

iOS Checkbox Renderer

Unlike Android, iOS does NOT have any form of a Checkbox control. The most common workaround for this is to use a simple image of a check and a square and interchange them and manage the state. But we want more flexibility, animations, and all the fun stuff that comes with a fully built control.

Here’s how we solved this issue for this particular set of Controls – using the BEMCheckBox.

BEMCheckBox is a third party control from Boris-Em and our lovely Xamarin.Community has already created Bindings for it AND a NuGet package. Here are the links:

Be sure to install this NuGet package in your iOS project, and then we can get to work on the renderer:

iOSCheckboxRenderer.cs

using System;
using SaturdayMP.XPlugins.iOS;
using Xamarin.Forms;
using Xamarin.Forms.Platform.iOS;
...

/// <summary>
/// Xamarin.Forms custom renderer for the Checkbox control
/// </summary>
public class CheckboxRenderer : ViewRenderer<Checkbox, BEMCheckBox>
{
    private const int DEFAULT_SIZE = 28;

    /// <summary>
    /// Used for registration with dependency service to ensure it isn't linked out
    /// </summary>
    public static void Initialize()
    {
        // intentionally empty
    }


    public override SizeRequest GetDesiredSize(double widthConstraint, double heightConstraint)
    {
        var sizeConstraint = base.GetDesiredSize(widthConstraint, heightConstraint);

        if (sizeConstraint.Request.Width == 0)
        {
            var width = widthConstraint;
            if (widthConstraint <= 0)
            {
                System.Diagnostics.Debug.WriteLine("Default values");
                width = DEFAULT_SIZE;
            }
            else if (widthConstraint <= 0)
            {
                width = DEFAULT_SIZE;
            }

            sizeConstraint = new SizeRequest(new Size(width, sizeConstraint.Request.Height),
                new Size(width, sizeConstraint.Minimum.Height));
        }

        return sizeConstraint;
    }


    /// <summary>
    /// Called when the control is created or changed
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="e">E.</param>
    protected override void OnElementChanged(ElementChangedEventArgs<Checkbox> e)
    {
        base.OnElementChanged(e);
        if (e.NewElement != null)
        {
            if (Control == null)
            {
                var checkBox = new BEMCheckBox();

                checkBox.BoxType = BEMBoxType.Square;
                checkBox.OnAnimationType = BEMAnimationType.Fill;
                checkBox.OffAnimationType = BEMAnimationType.Fill;

                // set default colors
                UpdateColors(checkBox);

                SetNativeControl(checkBox);
            }

            Control.On = e.NewElement.IsChecked;
            Control.ValueChanged += Control_ValueChanged;
        }
    }

    protected override void OnElementPropertyChanged(object sender, System.ComponentModel.PropertyChangedEventArgs e)
    {
        base.OnElementPropertyChanged(sender, e);
        if(e.PropertyName == nameof(Element.IsChecked))
        {
            Control.On = Element.IsChecked; 
        }
        else
        {
            UpdateColors(Control);
        }
    }

    void Control_ValueChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        Element.IsChecked = Control.On;
        Element.CheckedCommand?.Execute(Element.CheckedCommandParameter);
    }

    private void UpdateColors(BEMCheckBox nativeCheckBox)
    {
        nativeCheckBox.TintColor = Element.OutlineColor.ToUIColor();
        nativeCheckBox.OffFillColor = Element.InnerColor.ToUIColor();
        nativeCheckBox.OnFillColor = Element.CheckedInnerColor.ToUIColor();
        nativeCheckBox.OnTintColor = Element.CheckedOutlineColor.ToUIColor();
        nativeCheckBox.OnCheckColor = Element.CheckColor.ToUIColor();
    }
}

We follow the same sort of pattern as we did with the Android renderer, but this time we use the BEMCheckBox and wire up the colors, animation styles (which you can change to whatever you want), and setup the events and state.

Using the CheckBox

Now we can use this in our XAML with bindings and styles and everything. We can use it in lists for multi select, or anywhere else!

MainPage.xaml

...
 <StackLayout Orientation="Horizontal" Spacing="16">
    <components:Checkbox CheckedCommandParameter="{Binding .}" IsChecked="{Binding UseExistingAddress}" VerticalOptions="Center" OutlineColor="{DynamicResource PrimaryTextColor}" CheckedOutlineColor="{DynamicResource PrimaryTextColor}" CheckColor="{DynamicResource PrimaryColor}"  WidthRequest="{StaticResource CheckboxSize}" HeightRequest="{StaticResource CheckboxSize}"/>
    <Label Text="Use existing address" VerticalOptions="Center" Style="{DynamicResource BodySecondary}"/>
</StackLayout>
...

See how good it looks?

iOS with empty fill:
Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 12.05.31 PM
Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 12.03.19 PM

Android with fill:
Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 12.05.24 PM
Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 12.03.40 PM


If you like what you see, don’t forget to follow me on twitter @Suave_Pirate, check out my GitHub, and subscribe to my blog to learn more mobile developer tips and tricks!

Interested in sponsoring developer content? Message @Suave_Pirate on twitter for details.

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21 thoughts on “Xamarin.Tip – Build Your Own CheckBox in Xamarin.Forms”

  1. Hi!

    First, thank you for your code! It’s just what I needed! But for some way the checkbox doesn’t appear on my emulator or previewer. I don’t know what I did wrong, because I get no errors in the files. I want to use the checkbox for iOS in Xamarin Forms, so I first made the checkbox.cs file on the Xamarin Forms side. Than I added the NuGet package for BEMCheckBox in the iOS project, and made the renderer file (also in the iOS project from my Xamarin Forms app). I can use the checkbox in my XAML and C# code, but that’s it. It does not appear.

    Did I do something wrong? Thank you in advance!

    Greetings

    Elke

    Like

    1. Allright I found the problem. I forgot to add
      [assembly: ExportRenderer(typeof(Checkbox), typeof(CheckboxRenderer))]
      above my namespace in my checkboxrenderer on iOS!

      It works great, thank you!

      Like

      1. Hi. I assume you are using the checkbox, did you manage to get the OnCheckChanged event to work? I am trying to use this event in my code-behind file, but the code is not hit when clicking the checkbox.

        Like

  2. Hi. I am not sure how to correctly place the different components and how to refer to the checkbox in the XAML file. Is there any way you could share the Xamarin example project?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My apologies. I am quite new to XAML and was not sure how to correctly reference the namespace of custom controls, but figured it out with

        xmlns:components=”clr-namespace:MyApp.Views;assembly=MyApp”

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks dude. I already get it working. :). By the way, what Android version does support this one? it is not working with 5.0 version.

        Like

  3. Hi again. I am trying to handle the check changed event in the code behind class, but I cannot get the event to fire.

    Here is my checkbox from page.xaml:

    Here is the method from the code behind file page.xaml.cs that was automatically generated with ReSharper.
    private void Checkbox_OnOnCheckChanged(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
    throw new NotImplementedException();
    }

    I copied your code completely, except I added [assembly: ExportRenderer(typeof(Checkbox), typeof(CheckboxRenderer))] above the namespace of the render classes in the Android and iOS project.

    I also tried to break my code in the FireCheckChange method for Checkbox.cs, but without success.

    Hope you can help me. Best regards
    August

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems it didn’t post my checkbox correctly. Here it is without the open/close tags.

      components:Checkbox OnCheckChanged=”Checkbox_OnOnCheckChanged”
      IsChecked=”False”
      VerticalOptions=”Center”
      OutlineColor=”Black”
      CheckedOutlineColor=”Black”
      CheckColor=”Black”
      WidthRequest=”25″
      HeightRequest=”25″
      Grid.Column=”0″
      Grid.Row=”0″
      Grid.RowSpan=”2″

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looks like the FireCheckChanged is not being called from the renderer as I was intending. I think it was a bad copy paste error on my side. In each renderer you need to call Element.FireCheckChanged when the check value changes. This will invoke the CheckChanged event

        Like

  4. This is awesome and works really well! The only issue I’ve come across is on Android the height and width values are ignored. I can set the size on iOS, but not android – anyone else experience this?

    Like

    1. The way I do it is to add a command to the viewmodel that the checkbox is bound to, in that command flip the bool value that is bound to IsChecked then add a TapGestureRecognizer to the label and bind the command

      Like

  5. Hi..
    I am new to xamarin.forms and i tried your code but i am facing 2 issues in MainPage.xaml file:
    1-The type ‘components:CheckBox’ was not found. Verify that you are not missing an assembly reference and that all referenced assemblies have been built.
    2-A value of type ‘Label’ cannot be added to a collection or dictionary of type ‘IList’.
    please help me everything other than this is build successfully. Please guide me how to solve this issue thanks.

    Like

  6. i am done with the first described issues but now i am facing the issue ,i am unable to run the application
    “”Xamarin.Forms.Xaml.XamlParseException: Position 9:281. StaticResource not found for key CheckboxSize””
    thanks in advance please tell me how to resolve this issue.

    Like

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