Open directory dialog – Dev

The best answers to the question “Open directory dialog” in the category Dev.


I want the user to select a directory where a file that I will then generate will be saved. I know that in WPF I should use the OpenFileDialog from Win32, but unfortunately the dialog requires file(s) to be selected – it stays open if I simply click OK without choosing one. I could “hack up” the functionality by letting the user pick a file and then strip the path to figure out which directory it belongs to but that’s unintuitive at best. Has anyone seen this done before?


I created a UserControl which is used like this:

  <UtilitiesWPF:FolderEntry Text="{Binding Path=LogFolder}" Description="Folder for log files"/>

The xaml source looks like this:

<UserControl x:Class="Utilities.WPF.FolderEntry"
        <Button Margin="0" Padding="0" DockPanel.Dock="Right" Width="Auto" Click="BrowseFolder">...</Button>
        <TextBox Height="Auto" HorizontalAlignment="Stretch" DockPanel.Dock="Right" 
           Text="{Binding Text, RelativeSource={RelativeSource FindAncestor, AncestorType={x:Type UserControl}}}" />

and the code-behind

public partial class FolderEntry {
    public static DependencyProperty TextProperty = DependencyProperty.Register("Text", typeof(string), typeof(FolderEntry), new FrameworkPropertyMetadata(null, FrameworkPropertyMetadataOptions.BindsTwoWayByDefault));
    public static DependencyProperty DescriptionProperty = DependencyProperty.Register("Description", typeof(string), typeof(FolderEntry), new PropertyMetadata(null));

    public string Text { get { return GetValue(TextProperty) as string; } set { SetValue(TextProperty, value); }}

    public string Description { get { return GetValue(DescriptionProperty) as string; } set { SetValue(DescriptionProperty, value); } }

    public FolderEntry() { InitializeComponent(); }

    private void BrowseFolder(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e) {
        using (FolderBrowserDialog dlg = new FolderBrowserDialog()) {
            dlg.Description = Description;
            dlg.SelectedPath = Text;
            dlg.ShowNewFolderButton = true;
            DialogResult result = dlg.ShowDialog();
            if (result == System.Windows.Forms.DialogResult.OK) {
                Text = dlg.SelectedPath;
                BindingExpression be = GetBindingExpression(TextProperty);
                if (be != null)


You can use the built-in FolderBrowserDialog class for this. Don’t mind that it’s in the System.Windows.Forms namespace.

using (var dialog = new System.Windows.Forms.FolderBrowserDialog())
    System.Windows.Forms.DialogResult result = dialog.ShowDialog();

If you want the window to be modal over some WPF window, see the question How to use a FolderBrowserDialog from a WPF application.

EDIT: If you want something a bit more fancy than the plain, ugly Windows Forms FolderBrowserDialog, there are some alternatives that allow you to use the Vista dialog instead:

  • Third-party libraries, such as Ookii dialogs (.NET 4.5+)

  • The Windows API Code Pack-Shell:

      using Microsoft.WindowsAPICodePack.Dialogs;
      var dialog = new CommonOpenFileDialog();
      dialog.IsFolderPicker = true;
      CommonFileDialogResult result = dialog.ShowDialog();

    Note that this dialog is not available on operating systems older than Windows Vista, so be sure to check CommonFileDialog.IsPlatformSupported first.


Ookii Dialogs includes a dialog for selecting a folder (instead of a file):

Ookii Dialogs Select Folder Screenshot


Ookii folder dialog can be found at Nuget.

PM> Install-Package Ookii.Dialogs.Wpf

And, example code is as below.

var dialog = new Ookii.Dialogs.Wpf.VistaFolderBrowserDialog();
if (dialog.ShowDialog(this).GetValueOrDefault())
    textBoxFolderPath.Text = dialog.SelectedPath;

More information on how to use it: