Version: 2021.3
Create a tabbed menu for runtime
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 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 is an advanced example for developers familiar with Unity Editor, UI Toolkit, and C# scripting. You are recommended to have a basic understanding of the following concepts:

Create a custom Editor window

To start, create a custom Editor window to hold your drag-and-drop UI.

  1. Create a project in Unity with any template.
  2. Create a folder in Assets called DragAndDrop to store all your files.
  3. In the DragAndDrop folder, right-click and select Create > UI Toolkit > Editor Window.
  4. In UI Toolkit Editor Window Creator, enter DragAndDropWindow.
  5. Click Confirm. This automatically creates the C# script, UXML, and USS files for your custom window.
  6. Open DragAndDropWindow.cs and 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.

Your finished DragAndDropWindow.cs should look like 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/Drag and Drop/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/Drag and Drop/DragAndDropWindow.uss");

Create slots and objects

Next, add UI controls to your custom window.

  1. In the DragAndDrop folder, double-click DragAndDropWindow.uxml to open the UI Builder.

  2. In StyleSheet, click Add Existing USS and select DragAndDropWindow.uss.

  3. Add the following VisualElement UI controls:

    • 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.
  4. 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.

For instructions on how to add and style UI controls, see UI Builder.

Your finished DragAndDropWindow.uxml should look like 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="project://database/Assets/DragAndDrop/DragAndDropWindow.uss?fileID=7433441132597879392&amp;guid=3d86870c8637c4a3c979a8b4fe0cba4c&amp;type=3#DragAndDrop" />
    <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" />

Your finished DragAndDropWindow.uss should look like the following:

.slot {
width: 80px;
height: 80px;
margin: 5px;
background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);
border-top-radius: 10px;

.slot_row {
    flex-direction: row;

.object {
    width: 50px;
    height: 50px;
    position: absolute;
    left: 10px;
    top: 10px;
    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.

  1. In the DragAndDrop folder, create another C# file called DragAndDropManipulator.cs.

  2. Open DragAndDropManipulator.cs.

  3. Add the using UnityEngine.UIElements; declaration.

  4. Make the DragAndDropManipulator class extend PointerManipulator rather than MonoBehaviour, and do the following:

  5. Write four methods that act as callbacks for PointerDownEvents, PointerMoveEvents, PointerUpEvents, and PointerCaptureOutEvents:

    • PointerDownHandler(): Stores the starting position of target and the pointer, makes target capture the pointer, and denotes that a drag is now in progress.
    • PointerMoveHandler(): 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.
    • PointerUpHandler(): Checks whether a drag is in progress and whether target has captured the pointer. If both are true, makes target release the pointer.
    • PointerCaptureOutHandler(): 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.
  6. In RegisterCallbacksOnTarget(), register these four callbacks on target.

  7. In UnregisterCallbacksOnTarget(), un-register these four callbacks from target.

Your finished DragAndDropManipulator.cs should look like the following:

using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using UnityEngine;
using UnityEngine.UIElements;

public class DragAndDropManipulator : PointerManipulator
    public DragAndDropManipulator(VisualElement target)
    { = target;
        root = target.parent;

    protected override void RegisterCallbacksOnTarget()

    protected override void UnregisterCallbacksFromTarget()

    private Vector2 targetStartPosition { get; set; }

    private Vector3 pointerStartPosition { get; set; }

    private bool enabled { get; set; }

    private VisualElement root { get; }

    private void PointerDownHandler(PointerDownEvent evt)
        targetStartPosition = target.transform.position;
        pointerStartPosition = evt.position;
        enabled = true;

    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));

    private void PointerUpHandler(PointerUpEvent evt)
        if (enabled && target.HasPointerCapture(evt.pointerId))

    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.


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Create a drag-and-drop UI to drag between Editor windows