Updates on .NET Core Windows Forms designer


We released a preview version of Visual Studio 16.6 – Visual Studio 2019 version 16.6 Preview 1 and with it a new version of .NET Core Windows Forms designer.

.NET Core Windows Forms designer in Visual Studio

This release contains

  • Support for the following controls:

    • FlowLayoutPanel,
    • GroupBox,
    • ImageList,
    • MenuStrip (via the PropertyBrowser and context menu),
    • Panel,
    • SplitContainer,
    • Splitter,
    • TabControl,
    • TableLayoutPanel,
    • ToolStrip (via the PropertyBrowser, context menu and designer actions).
  • Local resources and localized forms were enabled in the designer.

  • Support for LayoutMode and ShowGrid/SnapToGrid settings via Tools->Options.

  • Reliability and performance improvements.

  • Other minor fixes and tweaks.

Coming next

In the future releases we will be working on User Controls and third-party controls support, integration with popular controls vendors, support for Data Controls and related scenarios, performance improvements and other features.

How to use the designer

  • You need to use Visual Studio Preview channel
  • You need to enable the designer in Visual Studio. Go to Tools > Options > Environment > Preview Features and select the Use the preview Windows Forms designer for .NET Core apps option.

Enabling .NET Core Windows Forms designer in Visual Studio Settings

How to report issues

Your feedback is important to us! Please report issues and send feature requests via the Visual Studio Feedback channel. Use the “Send Feedback” icon in Visual Studio top-right corner as shown below and specify that it is related to the “WinForms .NET Core” area.

Visual Studio Feedback channel


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  • James Rolfe

    Finally! I can port my old VB Winforms apps to .NET Core now!

  • Jhonatan Quintero

    I’m developing an application in windows forms (.Net Core);
    I’m having a problem when inheriting classes from windows forms,
    I get the following message when, click on the option display design of visual studio 2019 preview 16.6.
    when I pass in code para netframework, the interface of desing, all it’s normal. inheritance is done successfully.

    • Olia GavryshMicrosoft employee

      Jhonatan, thanks for the feedback. I don’t see your error message, could you please report the issue in VS like described in the end of this post. This way we’ll be able to capture all the settings and reproduce the issue.

  • X Schulz

    winforms really needs wpf design features but without xml-like editing. working with winforms almost everytime results in designing bad-looking
    applications because designing own stuff is just too much work.. how I hate that! WinForms is such an incredible thing, but I don’t understand why Microsoft doesn’t offer modern design-settings..

  • Pachara Rodphaya

    Great update, Please keep it up !!

    Have some feedback & questions

    1) Compared between Windows Forms App using .Net Framework 4 and this new .Net Core Windows Forms App.
    Some important feature like “ClickOnce” ( used for deploy&update your app from in-house IIS Server to client side )
    and Project Publish Wizard.. ( Project > [Your App Name] Properties… > Publish ) are both not yet include in this version of .Net Core.

    Do you have any future plans related to this feature?

    2) In this .NET Core Windows Forms, will it support Microsoft’s self made “Setup Project” feature ?
    Like. . . Create a Setup.exe file > Execute it at client PC and install. . .

      • 王 久君

        MSIX is currently supported only Windows 10, Windows Server 2019 Platforms.How can we delivery the [.Net Core Windows Form Apps] to the users’s PC that are still running Windows 7 ? Many old winform applications depends on clickonce. Could you kindly please reconsider your decision? Thanks a lot for your great help.

  • wayne raus

    you guys are honestly the worst, so what about 16.5, wheres the designer! i just downloaded visual studio 16.5 and found out i cant use, theres no designer , all download links are leading to this site so now you want me to redownload 16.6 again, what was the point of putting out 16.5 then!

    • Olia GavryshMicrosoft employee

      As it says in bold in this blog post “You need to use Visual Studio Preview channel”. It also explicitly defines the version of the Visual Studio you need – 16.6 Preview 1 (not 16.5 🙂 ) in the first sentence of this blog post.

      16.5 is a release channel of the Visual Studio that contains complete features. For WinForms on .NET Core designer the work is in progress, so we enabled it in preview for those who want to see it before the release. That’s why it goes only in the Preview version of Visual Studio. Here is the direct link to download it: https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/vs/preview/

  • Daniel Smith

    I installed VS 16.6 P1 and also the .NET 5 P1 SDK. When I create a new .NET Core WinForms project, the designer works, but the Properties window appears to be broken i.e. none of the properties are shown.

    Is .NET 5 not currently supported? If I change the target framework to .netcore3.1 this seems to fix the Properties window issue.

    • Olia GavryshMicrosoft employee

      We are working on supporting WinForms on the preview of .NET 5, there are some dependencies we are waiting for. I recommend using .NET Core 3.1 for now, updating to .NET 5 for WinForms will be easy

  • reda hashem

    I updated vs to 15.5.1 and double clicking on a form in the Solution Explorer in NET Core Windows Forms not launches to designer

    • Olia GavryshMicrosoft employee

      Yes, I believe you are using the release channel of Visual Studio. To work with the WinForms designer, you need to use the Preview version of VS: https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/vs/preview/ because the designer is in preview right now. It was available in the release channel of 15.5 by mistake 🙂 and removed in 15.5.1. We plan to get it in the release channel in the middle of May.

  • Juan Carlos Díazgranados M.

    Hello, I have tried to follow the path indicated in the post to activate the winforms designer in .net core, but the preview features option does not appear. I just updated to version 16.5.1.
    Thank you

      • Jaroslav Steigauf

        I downloaded vs 2019 professional preview 2, 16.6..

        and all was done on the base your steps (…tools->..) and designer not works.

        Can be a problem this thing? (I have on same machine installed vs 2019 professional, 16.5.1)
        license status is OK for all versions…

          • Jaroslav Steigauf

            very strange situation…

            I downloaded (today) vs 2019 professional v.16.5.2
            and form designer in vs 2019 professional preview 2 , 16.6… works normally…

  • Daniel Waters

    I wanted to check in on a request I’d made a few months ago. Will the combobox being written for Windows Forms .Net 3.1 / .Net 5 include support for multiple columns? When I was an Access developer many of my users requested multiple columns in comboboxes because much useful information could be presented in a single row, letting them be more productive. Any news on this?

  • formalist@gmx.com

    FYI: I just installed version 16.6.0 Preview 2, and some controls (e.g. the Button) were missing from the Toolbox. I right-clicked the Toolbox, then ‘Reset Toolbox’, repeated the operation twice (on the first run I got an error), and voilà: all controls showed up 🙂