Getting Started with Windows Forms skins (SkinManager)

26 May 20237 minutes to read

This section briefly describes how to create a new Windows Forms project in Visual Studio and apply themes using the SkinManager component.

Assembly deployment and theme assemblies

SkinManager presents in the Syncfusion.Shared.Base assembly.

Theme name Assembly name
Office2016Theme Syncfusion.Office2016Theme.WinForms.dll assembly reference is needed only for the SfDataGrid, SfButton, SfDateTimeEdit, SfNumericTextBox, SfToolTip, and SfSmithChart controls only.
Office2019Theme Syncfusion.Office2019Theme.WinForms.dll
HighContrastTheme Syncfusion.HighContrastTheme.WinForms.dll
Other Themes Themes are included in the control assembly itself.

Loading theme assemblies

Skin manager loads theme assembly using the LoadAssembly method before applying theme. This is applicable for the themes loaded from separate assembly, and not applicable for the themes loaded from built-in assembly.

// Loading Office2019Theme assembly

//Loading HighContrastTheme assembly

// Loading Office2016Theme assembly
' Loading Office2019Theme assembly

' Loading HighContrastTheme assembly

' Loading Office2016Theme assembly

Adding skin manager component

Through designer

1) Create a new Windows Forms application in Visual Studio.

2) The SkinManager component can be added to designer by dragging it from the toolbox to the design view.

The following dependent assemblies will be added automatically:

  • Syncfusion.Shared.Base

ToolBox in WinForms Skin Manager

Applying theme

After the SkinManager component has been added into the designer, select the SkinManager component, and go to properties window. Here, you can apply theme for a control or form using the Controls property.

Root in WinForms Skin Manager


SkinManager does not support the custom themes ( themes generated using ThemeStudio). It works only with predefined themes.

Applying theme to the form

Skin manager supports to apply theme for all the control in the form or a container by applying theme to the form or container. So, you do not need to apply theme for each control.

WinForms Skin Manager apply theme to entire form

Through code

Theme for a control or form can be applied by settings Controls property of SkinManager.

using Syncfusion.Windows.Forms;

this.components = new System.ComponentModel.Container();
SkinManager skinManager1 = new SkinManager(this.components);
skinManager1.Controls = treeViewAdv1;
Imports Syncfusion.Windows.Forms

Me.components = New System.ComponentModel.Container()
Dim skinManager1 As New SkinManager(Me.components)
skinManager1.Controls = treeViewAdv1

Applying theme to the form

Skin manager supports to apply theme for all the control in the form or a container by applying theme to the form or container. So, you do not need to apply theme for each control.

skinManager1.Controls = this;
skinManager1.VisualTheme = VisualTheme.Office2016Black;
skinManager1.Controls = Me
skinManager1.VisualTheme = VisualTheme.Office2016Black

WinForms Skin Manager shows theme applied to entire form code

Apply Themes to entire application

Skin manager allows to apply theme for all the controls and forms in an application by setting the ApplicationVisualTheme property. It allows you to theme entire application using single ApplicationVisualTheme property.

static void Main() 
    SkinManager.ApplicationVisualTheme = "Office2019Colourful";
    Application.Run(new Form1()); 


Set the ApplicationVisualTheme property before main form is initialized.

Apply theme for individual control

Theme can be applied to individual component using skin manager or by setting the ThemeName property. You need to call the LoadAssembly method for required themes when applying using the ThemeName property also.

this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeName = "Office2019Colorful";
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeName = "Office2019Colorful"

WinForms Skin Manager theme

Theme studio based themes

The Office2019Colorful and HighContrastBlack themes can be customized using the WinForms theme studio. Refer to the theme studio documentation to know how to create custom themes.


Appearance customization settings done in control level will not take effect when theme studio based theme is applied. So, for customization, refer to the Style section.

Change font for entire application

When using theme studio based themes, the font for entire application can be customized by setting the CanOverrideFontFamily property to true. This property is used only in constructor.

FontHelper.CanOverrideFontFamily = true;
FontHelper.FontFamily = new FontFamily("Algerian");
FontHelper.CanOverrideFontFamily = True
FontHelper.FontFamily = New FontFamily("Algerian")

WinForms Skin Manager shows applied font style to entire application


When using theme studio based themes, the appearance for each control or component can be customized using the ThemeStyle property.


If the control name starts with Sf, you can access appearance properties using the Style property, and for the remaining controls, use the ThemeStyle property.

For example, in the following code, different style of each control has been changed.

this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.BackColor = System.Drawing.Color.White;
this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.BorderColor = System.Drawing.Color.SteelBlue;
this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.LineColor = System.Drawing.Color.DarkBlue;
this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.TreeNodeAdvStyle.ArrowColor = System.Drawing.Color.Aqua;
this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.TreeNodeAdvStyle.TextColor = System.Drawing.Color.Red;
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.BackColor = System.Drawing.Color.White
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.BorderColor = System.Drawing.Color.SteelBlue
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.LineColor = System.Drawing.Color.DarkBlue
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.TreeNodeAdvStyle.ArrowColor = System.Drawing.Color.Aqua
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.TreeNodeAdvStyle.TextColor = System.Drawing.Color.Red

Styles in WinForms Skin Manager

Overriding user customization when applying theme

You can customize the appearance of control using the Style or ThemeStyle property when using theme studio based themes. Syncfusion control provides option whether theme can override style settings using the CanOverrideStyle property.

For example, in the following code, TreeView fore color is customized, and theme is applied after that line. If you run the application, theme will not override the fore color settings since the default value of CanOverrideStyle is false. If you set the CanOverrideStyle property to true before setting the theme, then fore color setting will be overridden by theme.

this.treeViewAdv1.CanOverrideStyle = false;
this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeName = "Office2019Colorful";
this.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.TreeNodeAdvStyle.TextColor = System.Drawing.Color.Red;
Me.treeViewAdv1.CanOverrideStyle = False
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeName = "Office2019Colorful"
Me.treeViewAdv1.ThemeStyle.TreeNodeAdvStyle.TextColor = System.Drawing.Color.Red

WinForms Skin Manager shows Office2019 theme applied in control