Partial views in ASP.NET Core

By Steve Smith, Luke Latham, Maher JENDOUBI, Rick Anderson, and Scott Sauber

A partial view is a Razor markup file (.cshtml) that renders HTML output within another markup file's rendered output.

The term partial view is used when developing either an MVC app, where markup files are called views, or a Razor Pages app, where markup files are called pages. This topic generically refers to MVC views and Razor Pages pages as markup files.

View or download sample code (how to download)

When to use partial views

Partial views are an effective way to:

  • Break up large markup files into smaller components.

    In a large, complex markup file composed of several logical pieces, there's an advantage to working with each piece isolated into a partial view. The code in the markup file is manageable because the markup only contains the overall page structure and references to partial views.

  • Reduce the duplication of common markup content across markup files.

    When the same markup elements are used across markup files, a partial view removes the duplication of markup content into one partial view file. When the markup is changed in the partial view, it updates the rendered output of the markup files that use the partial view.

Partial views shouldn't be used to maintain common layout elements. Common layout elements should be specified in _Layout.cshtml files.

Don't use a partial view where complex rendering logic or code execution is required to render the markup. Instead of a partial view, use a view component.

Declare partial views

A partial view is a .cshtml markup file maintained within the Views folder (MVC) or Pages folder (Razor Pages).

In ASP.NET Core MVC, a controller's ViewResult is capable of returning either a view or a partial view. An analogous capability is planned for Razor Pages in ASP.NET Core 2.2. In Razor Pages, a PageModel can return a PartialViewResult. Referencing and rendering partial views is described in the Reference a partial view section.

Unlike MVC view or page rendering, a partial view doesn't run _ViewStart.cshtml. For more information on _ViewStart.cshtml, see Layout in ASP.NET Core.

Partial view file names often begin with an underscore (_). This naming convention isn't required, but it helps to visually differentiate partial views from views and pages.

A partial view is a .cshtml markup file maintained within the Views folder.

A controller's ViewResult is capable of returning either a view or a partial view.

Unlike MVC view rendering, a partial view doesn't run _ViewStart.cshtml. For more information on _ViewStart.cshtml, see Layout in ASP.NET Core.

Partial view file names often begin with an underscore (_). This naming convention isn't required, but it helps to visually differentiate partial views from views.

Reference a partial view

Within a markup file, there are several ways to reference a partial view. We recommend that apps use one of the following asynchronous rendering approaches:

Within a markup file, there are two ways to reference a partial view:

We recommend that apps use the Asynchronous HTML Helper.

Partial Tag Helper

The Partial Tag Helper requires ASP.NET Core 2.1 or later.

The Partial Tag Helper renders content asynchronously and uses an HTML-like syntax:

<partial name="_PartialName" />

When a file extension is present, the Tag Helper references a partial view that must be in the same folder as the markup file calling the partial view:

<partial name="_PartialName.cshtml" />

The following example references a partial view from the app root. Paths that start with a tilde-slash (~/) or a slash (/) refer to the app root:

Razor Pages

<partial name="~/Pages/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml" />
<partial name="/Pages/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml" />

MVC

<partial name="~/Views/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml" />
<partial name="/Views/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml" />

The following example references a partial view with a relative path:

<partial name="../Account/_PartialName.cshtml" />

For more information, see Partial Tag Helper in ASP.NET Core.

Asynchronous HTML Helper

When using an HTML Helper, the best practice is to use PartialAsync. PartialAsync returns an IHtmlContent type wrapped in a Task<TResult>. The method is referenced by prefixing the awaited call with an @ character:

@await Html.PartialAsync("_PartialName")

When the file extension is present, the HTML Helper references a partial view that must be in the same folder as the markup file calling the partial view:

@await Html.PartialAsync("_PartialName.cshtml")

The following example references a partial view from the app root. Paths that start with a tilde-slash (~/) or a slash (/) refer to the app root:

Razor Pages

@await Html.PartialAsync("~/Pages/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml")
@await Html.PartialAsync("/Pages/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml")

MVC

@await Html.PartialAsync("~/Views/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml")
@await Html.PartialAsync("/Views/Folder/_PartialName.cshtml")

The following example references a partial view with a relative path:

@await Html.PartialAsync("../Account/_LoginPartial.cshtml")

Alternatively, you can render a partial view with RenderPartialAsync. This method doesn't return an IHtmlContent. It streams the rendered output directly to the response. Because the method doesn't return a result, it must be called within a Razor code block:

@{
    await Html.RenderPartialAsync("_AuthorPartial");
}

Since RenderPartialAsync streams rendered content, it provides better performance in some scenarios. In performance-critical situations, benchmark the page using both approaches and use the approach that generates a faster response.

Synchronous HTML Helper

Partial and RenderPartial are the synchronous equivalents of PartialAsync and RenderPartialAsync, respectively. The synchronous equivalents aren't recommended because there are scenarios in which they deadlock. The synchronous methods are targeted for removal in a future release.

Important

If you need to execute code, use a view component instead of a partial view.

Calling Partial or RenderPartial results in a Visual Studio analyzer warning. For example, the presence of Partial yields the following warning message:

Use of IHtmlHelper.Partial may result in application deadlocks. Consider using <partial> Tag Helper or IHtmlHelper.PartialAsync.

Replace calls to @Html.Partial with @await Html.PartialAsync or the Partial Tag Helper. For more information on Partial Tag Helper migration, see Migrate from an HTML Helper.

Partial view discovery

When a partial view is referenced by name without a file extension, the following locations are searched in the stated order:

Razor Pages

  1. Currently executing page's folder
  2. Directory graph above the page's folder
  3. /Shared
  4. /Pages/Shared
  5. /Views/Shared

MVC

  1. /Areas/<Area-Name>/Views/<Controller-Name>
  2. /Areas/<Area-Name>/Views/Shared
  3. /Views/Shared
  4. /Pages/Shared
  1. /Areas/<Area-Name>/Views/<Controller-Name>
  2. /Areas/<Area-Name>/Views/Shared
  3. /Views/Shared

The following conventions apply to partial view discovery:

  • Different partial views with the same file name are allowed when the partial views are in different folders.
  • When referencing a partial view by name without a file extension and the partial view is present in both the caller's folder and the Shared folder, the partial view in the caller's folder supplies the partial view. If the partial view isn't present in the caller's folder, the partial view is provided from the Shared folder. Partial views in the Shared folder are called shared partial views or default partial views.
  • Partial views can be chained—a partial view can call another partial view if a circular reference isn't formed by the calls. Relative paths are always relative to the current file, not to the root or parent of the file.

Note

A Razor section defined in a partial view is invisible to parent markup files. The section is only visible to the partial view in which it's defined.

Access data from partial views

When a partial view is instantiated, it receives a copy of the parent's ViewData dictionary. Updates made to the data within the partial view aren't persisted to the parent view. ViewData changes in a partial view are lost when the partial view returns.

The following example demonstrates how to pass an instance of ViewDataDictionary to a partial view:

@await Html.PartialAsync("_PartialName", customViewData)

You can pass a model into a partial view. The model can be a custom object. You can pass a model with PartialAsync (renders a block of content to the caller) or RenderPartialAsync (streams the content to the output):

@await Html.PartialAsync("_PartialName", model)

Razor Pages

The following markup in the sample app is from the Pages/ArticlesRP/ReadRP.cshtml page. The page contains two partial views. The second partial view passes in a model and ViewData to the partial view. The ViewDataDictionary constructor overload is used to pass a new ViewData dictionary while retaining the existing ViewData dictionary.

@model ReadRPModel

<h2>@Model.Article.Title</h2>
@* Pass the author's name to Pages\Shared\_AuthorPartialRP.cshtml *@
@await Html.PartialAsync("../Shared/_AuthorPartialRP", Model.Article.AuthorName)
@Model.Article.PublicationDate

@* Loop over the Sections and pass in a section and additional ViewData to 
   the strongly typed Pages\ArticlesRP\_ArticleSectionRP.cshtml partial view. *@
@{
    var index = 0;

    @foreach (var section in Model.Article.Sections)
    {
        @await Html.PartialAsync("_ArticleSectionRP", section,
                                 new ViewDataDictionary(ViewData)
                                 {
                                     { "index", index }
                                 })

        index++;
    }
}

Pages/Shared/_AuthorPartialRP.cshtml is the first partial view referenced by the ReadRP.cshtml markup file:

@model string
<div>
    <h3>@Model</h3>
    This partial view from /Pages/Shared/_AuthorPartialRP.cshtml.
</div>

Pages/ArticlesRP/_ArticleSectionRP.cshtml is the second partial view referenced by the ReadRP.cshtml markup file:

@using PartialViewsSample.ViewModels
@model ArticleSection

<h3>@Model.Title Index: @ViewData["index"]</h3>
<div>
    @Model.Content
</div>

MVC

The following markup in the sample app shows the Views/Articles/Read.cshtml view. The view contains two partial views. The second partial view passes in a model and ViewData to the partial view. The ViewDataDictionary constructor overload is used to pass a new ViewData dictionary while retaining the existing ViewData dictionary.

@model PartialViewsSample.ViewModels.Article

<h2>@Model.Title</h2>
@* Pass the author's name to Views\Shared\_AuthorPartial.cshtml *@
@await Html.PartialAsync("_AuthorPartial", Model.AuthorName)
@Model.PublicationDate

@* Loop over the Sections and pass in a section and additional ViewData to 
   the strongly typed Views\Articles\_ArticleSection.cshtml partial view. *@
@{
    var index = 0;

    @foreach (var section in Model.Sections)
    {
        @await Html.PartialAsync("_ArticleSection", section,
                                 new ViewDataDictionary(ViewData)
                                 {
                                     { "index", index }
                                 })

        index++;
    }
}

Views/Shared/_AuthorPartial.cshtml is the first partial view referenced by the ReadRP.cshtml markup file:

@model string
<div>
    <h3>@Model</h3>
    This partial view from /Views/Shared/_AuthorPartial.cshtml.
</div>

Views/Articles/_ArticleSection.cshtml is the second partial view referenced by the Read.cshtml markup file:

@using PartialViewsSample.ViewModels
@model ArticleSection

<h3>@Model.Title Index: @ViewData["index"]</h3>
<div>
    @Model.Content
</div>

At runtime, the partials are rendered into the parent markup file's rendered output, which itself is rendered within the shared _Layout.cshtml. The first partial view renders the article author's name and publication date:

Abraham Lincoln

This partial view from <shared partial view file path>. 11/19/1863 12:00:00 AM

The second partial view renders the article's sections:

Section One Index: 0

Four score and seven years ago ...

Section Two Index: 1

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing ...

Section Three Index: 2

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate ...

Additional resources