WinForms Skin/Theme Editor v2 (Coming soon in v17.1)

24 April 2017

Our WinForms Skin Editor will undergo a major overhaul in v17.1, the first time in the twelve years since our WinForms Skins shipped.

The head of our design team, Mike Amelin, sums up the transformation as follows: “The new Skin Editor re-defines how you manage multiple skins, and how you navigate and edit numerous elements within them. Twelve years ago, we started with a handful of skins and now ship 50 skin styles. We add new controls or new elements to existing controls with each major release. Practically speaking, these changes had to be made so we could continue supporting and extending skins effectively”.

This is Good News for Everyone

Even if you have never customized a skin and not planning to in future, the good news is DevExpress will now be better equipped to ship and support new skin styles going forward...

If you do use the Skin Editor, you’ll find skin elements and their properties easily discoverable, and many manual tasks automated. And please do share your experience with us. We are not done with enhancements and while developer resources are allocated to the project your feedback might help us prioritize new functionality.

What Exactly Improved in v17.1

Here are a few most noticeable new features. I’m not including the updated look or the many more smaller enhancements, as the following four would best summarize the direction that we’ve taken.

New & Customizable Hierarchies

We have re-arranged the element tree and the property structure to more discoverable hierarchies. You are free to change the tree using drag and drop.

New & Customizable Labels

We have carefully reviewed and updated pre-defined captions for elements, properties and even element states. Edit them if you like.

WinForms Skin Editor - customization capabilities

Integrated Search

Easily locate skin elements or their properties using corresponding search boxes. There's even a global search function that will locate elements using any identification type - from element names as defined in source code to user-friendly labels in Skin Editor v2.

WinForms Skin Editor - integrated search capabilities

Copy and Paste Everywhere

Copy and paste graphics from one element to another, or property values, or elements themselves. The last one is for internal use with new skins and elements, but the point is – we added Copy and Paste functionality everywhere we could, you could even paste elements into multiple skins at once.

WinForms Skin Editor - copy and paste capabilities

For more information on how to get started, the workspace overview and how to embed modified skins into your projects, see our updated documentation.

Backward Compatibility Questions

Project formats for both editors are fully compatible. You can open an existing project in Skin Editor v2 then re-open it again in the older version and so on without losing any changes.

If you have simple tasks to accomplish with skins and you know exactly what you need to do using the old UI, you can do so with v17.1, as we will ship both versions. To run a Skin Editor use the DevExpress menu in Visual Studio; the menu items for old and new version are next to each other.

Let Us Know if Anything's Missing

If you have suggestions on how Skin Editor can better serve your needs, please let us know here in comments or through our Technical Support channels. As I mentioned above, our Skin Editor team will continue active development during the next release cycle, so your feedback might help us shape future functionality.

11 comment(s)
Uwe Porsch

First sounds good to me :-) With Skins for me DevExpress is leading and the skins for me ever was an argument to get and also stay with DevExpress.

What I like to see is something like exporting msstyle skins. I know it would be not easy and I don't expect something perfect. But this would make DevExpress even more perfect that perfect :-)

25 April, 2017
Michael Schmidlkofer

This looks great. Can the VCL team comment on whether or not we can look forward to a comparable overhaul of that skin editor as well?

26 April, 2017
seven base

This looks great.

27 April, 2017
Vladimir Abadzhev (DevExpress)

@Uwe – Thanks for your kind words and for sharing your idea with us. We’d be happy to learn more about your goals with such an export, starting with which way you want the export to work – DevExpress to MSSTYLE or vice versa (we had conflicting interpretations of your words). Feel free to post another comment or send me an email at Having said that, in this overhaul we primarily aim to simplify existing everyday tasks. Your suggestion seems to create entirely new functionality and we’re uncertain if it will find widespread usage. For these reasons, and until we know more details, I’d say it’s an unlikely feature to be on our to-do list for the next release.

27 April, 2017
Vladimir Abadzhev (DevExpress)

@Michael – thanks for your question. We have no immediate plans to update the VCL Skin Editor. I must note that internally we design skins in the WinForms Editor and then use a mostly-automatic process to convert them for use with VCL controls. So the part about “our designers are better equipped to produce more skin styles” applies to VCL customers as well. On the other hand, if you do use the Skin Editor regularly – we’d be happy to learn more about your workflow.

27 April, 2017
Gabriel Araujo 1

Is there a repository somewhere of skins created by customers that are made available to the public?

1 May, 2017
Vladimir Abadzhev (DevExpress)

@Gabriel - we don't host a such repository and don't expect that any submissions will follow if we open it. According to a survey we conducted in the past, Skin Editor users mainly apply cosmetic changes to existing skin styles to better conform to their client's branding guidelines. However, if someone has created an entirely new skin style for DevExpress control, I'd certainly be happy to learn more about that.

5 May, 2017
wang neng 1

SkinEditor. V2. exe runs the error in Windows 10: SkinEditor. V2 has stopped working.

23 May, 2017
wang neng 1

SkinEditor. V2. Exe runs the error in Windows 10 64-bit systems: SkinEditor. V2 has stopped working.

23 May, 2017
seven base

SkinEditor. V2. Exe runs the error in windows 7 32 bt

30 May, 2017
Ori Nachum

Can this be used for previous version skins? If so, which versions?

22 June, 2017

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