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The WinForms Docking Manager control provides an interface to create Visual Studio-like dockable windows in your applications. Dock panels support many interactions like docking, floating, tabbing, auto hiding, and grouping document tabs. The control allows users to resize, move, and change the behavior of windows to create a layout that suits various development models.

Different kinds of docking windows

Dockable windows can be dragged anywhere by users, float around the screen, and be pinned and unpinned. As in Visual Studio, the Docking Manager control offers different kinds of windows:

  • Docking windows
  • Floating windows
  • Tabbed windows
  • Pinnable windows
  • Tabbed MDI windows

Dock panels at any side and float the control in WinForms Docking Manager

Restrict docking

End users can restrict windows to dock at specific sides of a target or at specific edges of a form. End users can also customize the dock hint visibility so that they are shown only on horizontal, vertical, or specific sides.

WinForms Docking Manager restrict docking on specific sides

Resizing windows

Users can interactively resize windows using a splitter between them. Resizing can be restricted with minimum and maximum sizes for views.

Resizing windows in WinForms Docking Manager

Redock to previous location

Built-in redock support saves the previous state of dock or float windows and moves the windows back to the state after double-clicking on a caption.

Float windows dock back to the previous location in WinForms Docking Manager

Scroll tabs

The WinForms Docking Manager can arrange groups of dock, float, and auto-hidden tabs in an extended style, allowing the tabs in the non-visible region to be displayed by scrolling.

WinForms Docking Manager with scrollable tabs

Docking guides

Docking hints are displayed to indicate valid drop locations for docking panels while dragging the float window. The appearance of the dock hints can be customized with built-in styles.

WinForms Docking Manager displays docking guides to dock windows

Context menu

Dock panels can be moved to different states using a built-in context menu that appears after right-clicking on their captions. Improve the end-user experience by adding custom context menu entries.

WinForms Docking Manager with context menu for close, float, pin windows

Hide caption

Hide the visibility of a dock window caption to make the dock window appearance a flat panel. The WinForms Docking Manager allows changing the visibility of dock window captions dynamically.

WinForms Docking Manager collapses the dock window caption

MDI forms

Display each document as a separate window within the client area. This allows users to work with more than one document at the same time and seamlessly switch back and forth between docked windows and MDI forms.

WinForms Docking Manager displays multiple documents

Tab groups

The WinForms Docking Manager supports grouping relevant documents in separate tab groups and allows tab group creation in both horizontal and vertical orientations. This helps users display multiple open documents, similar to MDI windows.

WinForms DockingManager displays tab groups in horizontal and vertical orientation

Save and restore

Built-in serialization options support saving a dock layout in different formats upon closing and restoring it upon opening the application.

WinForms Docking Manager save and restore the docking layout

Complex docking layout

Allows users to create nested docking layouts with docked windows inside other docked windows, or directly dock windows to the main form.

WinForms Docking Manager displays complex layout

Linked docking

Easily drag child windows from one docking manager to another by linking different docking managers together.

WinForms Docking Manager dock windows from one window to another window


Provides a rich set of built-in themes like Office-style, Blend, Metro, and Visual Studio.

Visual Studio style WinForms Docking Manager


The WinForms Docking Manager supports localization to translate static text to any supported language.

WinForms Docking Manager displays localized text

Right to left

A right-to-left (RTL) direction setting is available for users working in right-to-left languages like Hebrew, Arabic, or Persian.

WinForms Docking Manager displays content in right to left


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