Tracking References

Guide on how to implement tracking entity references for Property Editors in Umbraco
Property editors can be extended further to track entity references that may be selected or referenced inside the property editor. For example in the core of the CMS we have added this to several property editors.
A good example of this is the Media Picker where the CMS stores a reference to what media item was picked and thus allows to see what content nodes are using a media item. This avoids it being accidentally deleted if it is being used.
When a content node is saved it will save the entity references as relations.

Viewing References

For Media Items

  1. 1.
    Go to the Media section.
  2. 2.
    Select a media item and click the Info tab.
    Viewing media references

For Content Nodes

  1. 1.
    Go to the Settings section.
  2. 2.
    Under the Relation Types folder, select Related Document relations and click Relations.
    Viewing document references

For Data Types

  1. 1.
    Go to the Settings section.
  2. 2.
    Expand the Data Types folder.
  3. 3.
    Select the Data Type you wish to view the references
  4. 4.
    Navigate to the Info tab.
    Viewing Data Type references


The following example shows how to implement tracking for the inbuilt CMS property editor Content Picker, where it will always add a specific media reference regardless of what value is picked in the content picker. In your own implementations, you will need to parse the value stored from the property editor you are implmenting and find any references to picked items in order to track their references.
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using Umbraco.Cms.Core;
using Umbraco.Cms.Core.Composing;
using Umbraco.Cms.Core.DependencyInjection;
using Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models;
using Umbraco.Cms.Core.Models.Editors;
using Umbraco.Cms.Core.PropertyEditors;
using Umbraco.Extensions;
namespace Umbraco.Web.PropertyEditors
public class ExampleComposer : IComposer
public void Compose(IUmbracoBuilder builder)
public class TrackingExample : IDataValueReferenceFactory, IDataValueReference
public IDataValueReference GetDataValueReference() => this;
// Which Data Editor (Data Type) does this apply to - in this example it is the built in content picker of Umbraco
public bool IsForEditor(IDataEditor dataEditor) => dataEditor.Alias.InvariantEquals(Constants.PropertyEditors.Aliases.ContentPicker);
public IEnumerable<UmbracoEntityReference> GetReferences(object value)
// Value contains the raw data that is being saved for a property editor
// You can then analyse this data be it a complex JSON structure or something more trivial
// To add the chosen entities as references (as any UDI type including custom ones)
// A very simple example
// This will always ADD a specific media reference to the collection list
// When it's a ContentPicker datatype
var references = new List<UmbracoEntityReference>();
var udiType = ObjectTypes.GetUdiType(UmbracoObjectTypes.Media);
var udi = Udi.Create(udiType, Guid.Parse("fbbaa38d-bd93-48b9-b1d5-724c46b6693e"));
var entityRef = new UmbracoEntityReference(udi);
return references;