Version: 2023.1
Language : English
Create a transition in a custom Editor window
Create a drag-and-drop UI to drag between Editor windows

Create a drag-and-drop UI inside a custom Editor window

Version: 2021.3+

Drag-and-drop is a common feature in UI(User Interface) Allows a user to interact with your application. Unity currently supports three UI systems. More info
See in Glossary
design. You can use UI Toolkit to create a drag-and-drop UI inside a custom Editor window or inside an application built by Unity. This example demonstrates how to create a drag-and-drop UI inside a custom Editor window.

Example overview

The example adds several slots and one object in a custom Editor window. You can drag the object into any slot, as shown below:

A preview of a drag-and-drop UI
A preview of a drag-and-drop UI

You can find the completed files that this example creates in this GitHub repository.


This guide is for developers familiar with the Unity Editor, UI Toolkit, and C# scripting. Before you start, get familiar with the following:

Create a custom Editor window

To start, create a default custom Editor window from the menu. Change the menu name and window title to Drag And Drop, and remove the code for the default labels, to make the UI more user-friendly.

  1. Create a project in Unity with any template.

  2. Right-click in the Assets folder and select Create > UI Toolkit > Editor Window.

  3. In UI Toolkit Editor Window Creator, enter DragAndDropWindow.

  4. Click Confirm. This automatically creates three files: DragAndDropWindow.cs, DragAndDropWindow.uxml, and DragAndDropWindow.uss.

  5. Replace the content of DragAndDropWindow.cs with the following:

    using UnityEditor;
    using UnityEngine;
    using UnityEngine.UIElements;
    using UnityEditor.UIElements;
    public class DragAndDropWindow : EditorWindow
        [MenuItem("Window/UI Toolkit/Drag And Drop")]
        public static void ShowExample()
            DragAndDropWindow wnd = GetWindow<DragAndDropWindow>();
            wnd.titleContent = new GUIContent("Drag And Drop");
        public void CreateGUI()
            // Each editor window contains a root VisualElement object
            VisualElement root = rootVisualElement;
            // Import UXML
            var visualTree = AssetDatabase.LoadAssetAtPath<VisualTreeAsset>("Assets/Editor/DragAndDropWindow.uxml");
            VisualElement labelFromUXML = visualTree.Instantiate();
            // A stylesheet can be added to a VisualElement.
            // The style will be applied to the VisualElement and all of its children.
            var styleSheet = AssetDatabase.LoadAssetAtPath<StyleSheet>("Assets/Editor/DragAndDropWindow.uss");

Create slots and objects

Next, add UI controls to your custom window:

  • One named slots with two children named slot_row1 and slot_row2. Each row should have two children named slot1 and slot2.
  • One named object at the same level as slots. object must come after slots in the Hierarchy.

Style the UI controls as the following:

  • For slot1 and slot2, style them as 80px X 80px squares with white background color and rounded corners. Line up the slots as two rows with two slots in each row.
  • For object, style it as a 50px X 50px round spot with a black background color.

Tip: To make your project more fun, you can use a background image for the object. You can find the image (Pouch.png) in the GitHub repository.

  1. Replace the content of DragAndDropWindow.uxml with the following:

    <ui:UXML xmlns:ui="UnityEngine.UIElements" xmlns:uie="UnityEditor.UIElements" xsi="" engine="UnityEngine.UIElements" editor="UnityEditor.UIElements" noNamespaceSchemaLocation="../../../UIElementsSchema/UIElements.xsd" editor-extension-mode="False">
        <Style src="DragAndDropWindow.uss" />
        <ui:VisualElement name="slots">
            <ui:VisualElement name="slot_row1" class="slot_row">
                <ui:VisualElement name="slot1" class="slot" />
                <ui:VisualElement name="slot2" class="slot" />
            <ui:VisualElement name="slot_row2" class="slot_row">
                <ui:VisualElement name="slot1" class="slot" />
                <ui:VisualElement name="slot2" class="slot" />
        <ui:VisualElement name="object" class="object" />
  2. Replace the content of DragAndDropWindow.uss with the following:

    .slot {
    width: 80px;
    height: 80px;
    margin: 5px;
    background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);
    border-top-radius: 10px;
    border-top-left-radius: 10px;
    border-bottom-left-radius: 10px;
    border-top-right-radius: 10px;
    border-bottom-right-radius: 10px;
    .slot_row {
        flex-direction: row;
    .object {
        width: 50px;
        height: 50px;
        position: absolute;
        left: 20px;
        top: 20px;
        border-radius: 30px;
        background-color: rgb(0, 0, 0);

Define the drag-and-drop logic

To define the drag-and-drop behavior, extend the PointerManipulator class and define the logic. Write a constructor to set target and store a reference to the root of the visual tree. Write four methods that act as callbacks for PointerDownEvents, PointerMoveEvents, PointerUpEvents, and PointerCaptureOutEvents. Implement RegisterCallbacksOnTarget() and UnregisterCallbacksOnTarget() to register and un-register these four callbacks from target.

  1. In the Editor folder, create another C# file named DragAndDropManipulator.cs.

  2. Replace the content of DragAndDropManipulator.cs with the following:

    using System.Collections;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using UnityEngine;
    using UnityEngine.UIElements;
    public class DragAndDropManipulator : PointerManipulator
        // Write a constructor to set target and store a reference to the
        // root of the visual tree.
        public DragAndDropManipulator(VisualElement target)
   = target;
            root = target.parent;
        protected override void RegisterCallbacksOnTarget()
            // Register the four callbacks on target.
        protected override void UnregisterCallbacksFromTarget()
            // Un-register the four callbacks from target.
        private Vector2 targetStartPosition { get; set; }
        private Vector3 pointerStartPosition { get; set; }
        private bool enabled { get; set; }
        private VisualElement root { get; }
        // This method stores the starting position of target and the pointer,
        // makes target capture the pointer, and denotes that a drag is now in progress.
        private void PointerDownHandler(PointerDownEvent evt)
            targetStartPosition = target.transform.position;
            pointerStartPosition = evt.position;
            enabled = true;
        // This method checks whether a drag is in progress and whether target has captured the pointer.
        // If both are true, calculates a new position for target within the bounds of the window.
        private void PointerMoveHandler(PointerMoveEvent evt)
            if (enabled && target.HasPointerCapture(evt.pointerId))
                Vector3 pointerDelta = evt.position - pointerStartPosition;
                target.transform.position = new Vector2(
                    Mathf.Clamp(targetStartPosition.x + pointerDelta.x, 0, target.panel.visualTree.worldBound.width),
                    Mathf.Clamp(targetStartPosition.y + pointerDelta.y, 0, target.panel.visualTree.worldBound.height));
        // This method checks whether a drag is in progress and whether target has captured the pointer.
        // If both are true, makes target release the pointer.
        private void PointerUpHandler(PointerUpEvent evt)
            if (enabled && target.HasPointerCapture(evt.pointerId))
        // This method checks whether a drag is in progress. If true, queries the root
        // of the visual tree to find all slots, decides which slot is the closest one
        // that overlaps target, and sets the position of target so that it rests on top
        // of that slot. Sets the position of target back to its original position
        // if there is no overlapping slot.
        private void PointerCaptureOutHandler(PointerCaptureOutEvent evt)
            if (enabled)
                VisualElement slotsContainer = root.Q<VisualElement>("slots");
                UQueryBuilder<VisualElement> allSlots =
                    slotsContainer.Query<VisualElement>(className: "slot");
                UQueryBuilder<VisualElement> overlappingSlots =
                VisualElement closestOverlappingSlot =
                Vector3 closestPos =;
                if (closestOverlappingSlot != null)
                    closestPos = RootSpaceOfSlot(closestOverlappingSlot);
                    closestPos = new Vector2(closestPos.x - 5, closestPos.y - 5);
                target.transform.position =
                    closestOverlappingSlot != null ?
                    closestPos :
                enabled = false;
        private bool OverlapsTarget(VisualElement slot)
            return target.worldBound.Overlaps(slot.worldBound);
        private VisualElement FindClosestSlot(UQueryBuilder<VisualElement> slots)
            List<VisualElement> slotsList = slots.ToList();
            float bestDistanceSq = float.MaxValue;
            VisualElement closest = null;
            foreach (VisualElement slot in slotsList)
                Vector3 displacement =
                    RootSpaceOfSlot(slot) - target.transform.position;
                float distanceSq = displacement.sqrMagnitude;
                if (distanceSq < bestDistanceSq)
                    bestDistanceSq = distanceSq;
                    closest = slot;
            return closest;
        private Vector3 RootSpaceOfSlot(VisualElement slot)
            Vector2 slotWorldSpace = slot.parent.LocalToWorld(slot.layout.position);
            return root.WorldToLocal(slotWorldSpace);

Instantiate the drag-and-drop behavior

To enable drag-and-drop in the custom window, instantiate it when the window opens.

  1. In DragAndDropWindow.cs, add the following to the CreateGUI() method to instantiate the DragAndDropManipulator class:

    DragAndDropManipulator manipulator =
  2. From the menu bar, select Window > UI Toolkit > Drag And Drop. In the opened custom Editor window, you can drag the object into any slot.

Additional resources

Create a transition in a custom Editor window
Create a drag-and-drop UI to drag between Editor windows