How to: Anchor and Dock Child Controls in a FlowLayoutPanel Control

The FlowLayoutPanel control supports the Anchor and Dock properties in its child controls.

To anchor and dock child controls in a FlowLayoutPanel control

  1. Create a FlowLayoutPanel control on your form.

  2. Set the Width of the FlowLayoutPanel control to 300, and set its FlowDirection to TopDown.

  3. Create two Button controls, and place them in the FlowLayoutPanel control.

  4. Set the Width of the first button to 200.

  5. Set the Dock property of the second button to Fill.


    The second button assumes the same width as the first button. It does not stretch across the width of the FlowLayoutPanel control.

  6. Set the Dock property of the second button to None. This causes the button to assume its original width.

  7. Set the Anchor property of the second button to Left, Right.


    The second button assumes the same width as the first button. It does not stretch across the width of the FlowLayoutPanel control. This is the general rule for anchoring and docking in the FlowLayoutPanel control: for vertical flow directions, the FlowLayoutPanel control calculates the width of an implied column from the widest child control in the column. All other controls in this column with Anchor or Dock properties are aligned or stretched to fit this implied column. The behavior works in a similar way for horizontal flow directions. The FlowLayoutPanel control calculates the height of an implied row from the tallest child control in the row, and all docked or anchored child controls in this row are aligned or sized to fit the implied row.


The following illustration shows four buttons that are anchored and docked relative to the blue button in a FlowLayoutPanel. The FlowDirection is LeftToRight.

FlowLayoutPanel anchoring

The following illustration shows four buttons that are anchored and docked relative to the blue button in a FlowLayoutPanel. The FlowDirection is TopDown.

FlowLayoutPanel anchoring

The following code example demonstrates various Anchor property values for a Button control in a FlowLayoutPanel control.

Imports System
Imports System.Collections.Generic
Imports System.ComponentModel
Imports System.Drawing
Imports System.Windows.Forms

Public Class Form1
   Inherits Form
   Public Sub New()
   End Sub 'New
   Private flowLayoutPanel3 As FlowLayoutPanel
   Private label2 As Label
   Private button11 As Button
   Private button12 As Button
   Private button13 As Button
   Private button14 As Button
   Private button15 As Button
   Private flowLayoutPanel1 As FlowLayoutPanel
   Private label1 As Label
   Private button1 As Button
   Private button2 As Button
   Private button3 As Button
   Private button4 As Button
   Private button5 As Button
   Private components As System.ComponentModel.IContainer = Nothing
   Protected Overrides Sub Dispose(disposing As Boolean)
      If disposing AndAlso (components IsNot Nothing) Then
      End If
   End Sub 'Dispose
   Private Sub InitializeComponent()
      Me.flowLayoutPanel3 = New System.Windows.Forms.FlowLayoutPanel()
      Me.label2 = New System.Windows.Forms.Label()
      Me.button11 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button12 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button13 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button14 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button15 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1 = New System.Windows.Forms.FlowLayoutPanel()
      Me.label1 = New System.Windows.Forms.Label()
      Me.button1 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button2 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button3 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button4 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      Me.button5 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
      ' flowLayoutPanel3
      Me.flowLayoutPanel3.Anchor = CType(System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Top Or System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Bottom Or System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Left Or System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Right, System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles)
      Me.flowLayoutPanel3.BorderStyle = System.Windows.Forms.BorderStyle.FixedSingle
      Me.flowLayoutPanel3.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(12, 12)
      Me.flowLayoutPanel3.Name = "flowLayoutPanel3"
      Me.flowLayoutPanel3.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(631, 100)
      Me.flowLayoutPanel3.TabIndex = 2
      ' label2
      Me.label2.Anchor = System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.None
      Me.label2.AutoSize = True
      Me.label2.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(3, 28)
      Me.label2.Name = "label2"
      Me.label2.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(138, 14)
      Me.label2.TabIndex = 10
      Me.label2.Text = "FlowDirection=LeftToRight"
      ' button11
      Me.button11.Anchor = System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Bottom
      Me.button11.AutoSize = True
      Me.button11.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(147, 44)
      Me.button11.Name = "button11"
      Me.button11.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(86, 23)
      Me.button11.TabIndex = 5
      Me.button11.Text = "Anchor=Bottom"
      ' button12
      Me.button12.Anchor = CType(System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Top Or System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Bottom, System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles)
      Me.button12.AutoSize = True
      Me.button12.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(239, 3)
      Me.button12.Name = "button12"
      Me.button12.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(111, 64)
      Me.button12.TabIndex = 6
      Me.button12.Text = "Anchor=Top, Bottom"
      ' button13
      Me.button13.Anchor = System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.None
      Me.button13.BackColor = System.Drawing.SystemColors.GradientActiveCaption
      Me.button13.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(356, 3)
      Me.button13.Name = "button13"
      Me.button13.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(75, 64)
      Me.button13.TabIndex = 7
      ' button14
      Me.button14.Dock = System.Windows.Forms.DockStyle.Bottom
      Me.button14.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(437, 44)
      Me.button14.Name = "button14"
      Me.button14.TabIndex = 8
      Me.button14.Text = "Dock=Bottom"
      ' button15
      Me.button15.Dock = System.Windows.Forms.DockStyle.Fill
      Me.button15.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(518, 3)
      Me.button15.Name = "button15"
      Me.button15.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(75, 64)
      Me.button15.TabIndex = 9
      Me.button15.Text = "Dock=Fill"
      ' flowLayoutPanel1
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1.Anchor = CType(System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Bottom Or System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Left Or System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Right, System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles)
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1.BorderStyle = System.Windows.Forms.BorderStyle.FixedSingle
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1.FlowDirection = System.Windows.Forms.FlowDirection.TopDown
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(12, 118)
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1.Name = "flowLayoutPanel1"
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(200, 209)
      Me.flowLayoutPanel1.TabIndex = 3
      ' label1
      Me.label1.AutoSize = True
      Me.label1.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(3, 3)
      Me.label1.Name = "label1"
      Me.label1.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(128, 14)
      Me.label1.TabIndex = 11
      Me.label1.Text = "FlowDirection=TopDown"
      ' button1
      Me.button1.Anchor = System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Right
      Me.button1.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(74, 23)
      Me.button1.Name = "button1"
      Me.button1.TabIndex = 5
      Me.button1.Text = "Anchor=Right"
      ' button2
      Me.button2.Anchor = CType(System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Left Or System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles.Right, System.Windows.Forms.AnchorStyles)
      Me.button2.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(3, 52)
      Me.button2.Name = "button2"
      Me.button2.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(146, 23)
      Me.button2.TabIndex = 6
      Me.button2.Text = "Anchor=Left, Right"
      ' button3
      Me.button3.BackColor = System.Drawing.SystemColors.GradientActiveCaption
      Me.button3.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(3, 81)
      Me.button3.Name = "button3"
      Me.button3.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(146, 23)
      Me.button3.TabIndex = 7
      ' button4
      Me.button4.Dock = System.Windows.Forms.DockStyle.Right
      Me.button4.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(74, 110)
      Me.button4.Name = "button4"
      Me.button4.TabIndex = 8
      Me.button4.Text = "Dock=Right"
      ' button5
      Me.button5.Dock = System.Windows.Forms.DockStyle.Fill
      Me.button5.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(3, 139)
      Me.button5.Name = "button5"
      Me.button5.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(146, 23)
      Me.button5.TabIndex = 9
      Me.button5.Text = "Dock=Fill"
      ' Form1
      Me.ClientSize = New System.Drawing.Size(658, 341)
      Me.Name = "Form1"
      Me.Text = "Form1"
   End Sub 'InitializeComponent
   <STAThread()>  _
   Shared Sub Main()
      Application.Run(New Form1())
   End Sub 'Main
End Class 'Form1

Compiling the Code

This example requires:

  • References to the System, System.Data, System.Drawing and System.Windows.Forms assemblies.

For information about building this example from the command line for Visual Basic or Visual C#, see Building from the Command Line (Visual Basic) or Command-Line Building. You can also build this example in Visual Studio by pasting the code into a new project. How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio
How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio
How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio
How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio

See Also