Windows Forms Designer overview

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

Windows Forms Designer in Visual Studio provides a rapid development solution for creating Windows Forms-based applications. Windows Forms Designer lets you easily add controls to a form, arrange them, and write code for their events. For more information about Windows Forms, see Windows Forms overview.


Using the designer you can:

  • Add components, data controls, or Windows-based controls to a form.

  • Double-click the form in the designer and write code in the Load event for that form, or double-click a control on the form and write code for the control's default event.

  • Edit a control's Text property by selecting the control and typing a name.

  • Adjust the placement of the selected control by moving it with the mouse or the arrow keys. Similarly, adjust the placement more precisely using the Ctrl and arrow keys. Finally, adjust the size of the control by using the Shift and arrow keys.

  • Select multiple controls by selecting either Shift or Ctrl while you click. When using Shift+click, the first control selected is the dominant control when aligning or manipulating size. When using Ctrl+click, the last control selected is dominant, so the dominant control changes with every new control added. Alternatively, you can select multiple controls by dragging a selection rectangle around the controls that you want to select.


Use Windows Forms Designer, and not the Resource Editor, to make changes to a form's resource (.resx) file. If you edit a form-based .resx file, you'll see a warning that changes you make in the Resource Editor may be lost. This is because the Windows Forms Designer generates the .resx file.

See also