Extended canvas design pattern

The extended canvas pattern is the simplest dual-screen pattern, but it's powerful. You may consider this pattern if you need a bigger canvas for a task such as drawing. If your app has a free-flowing canvas, the user can freely scroll if the seam obscures some important content. This pattern provides the benefit of giving your app more screen real-estate, rather than constricting it to one screen or another.

Extending the canvas allows users to take advantage of the larger screen real-estate provided by dual-screen devices.

Diagram shows two examples of extended canvas, a map and a drawing app, which each use both screens.

Best practices

Here are some scenarios to help guide you when applying this design pattern:

Diagram shows alerts and dialogs placed in the center of a screen in order to avoid the hinge.

Do Don't
Use either the left or the right screen to display a dialog. Don’t display the dialog passing through the hinge positioned centered.

Diagram shows bottom sheets displayed on one screen in order avoid spanning sheets under the hinge.

Do Don't
Use either left or right screen to display bottom sheets. Don’t display the bottom sheet passing through the hinge.

Diagram shows pallets on one screen, not under the hinge, and try to place in the most natural position for the user.

Do Don't
Display the bottom menu navigation on the left side of the screen. Don’t split the bottom menu navigation across the two screens.

Diagram shows a toolbars on one screen, instead of under the hinge.

Do Don't
Display the toolbar menu on the left side for right-handed pen users. Don’t allow the toolbar menu to pass through the hinge.

Diagram shows a toolbar on one screen, as in the previous diagram, but on the opposite side per user preference.

Do Don't
Display the toolbar menu on the right side for left-handed pen users. Don't allow the toolbar menu to pass through the hinge.

Types of apps that may benefit from this pattern

  • Map apps
  • Drawing canvas apps

Code examples

These projects show a simple implementation of the extended canvas design pattern that you can use in your apps:

Next steps

Consider these other design patterns: