Form Designer

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The Form Designer (or Designer) is displayed automatically when you are creating or editing a form, such as a VCL Forms Application or an HD Multi-Device Application. The Form Designer runs automatically when you create a graphical application that uses a form file, either a .dfm or an .fmx file.

The Form Designer (or Designer) is displayed automatically when you are creating or editing a form, such as an HD Multi-Device Application. The Form Designer runs automatically when you create a graphical application that uses a form file (an .fmx file).

To shift focus to the Form Designer when you have a visual project open in the IDE, click the Design tab at the bottom of the main editing window: Code, Design, and History Tabs

The appearance and functionality of the Designer can change, depending on the type of form you are creating or editing. For example, if you are using an HTML Element, you can display the HTML Tag Editor in the Designer by selecting View > Tag Editor.

Form Designer Window

FireMonkey and VCL have different Form Designers and different forms:
Here are the Multi-Device Form (FireMonkey) and the VCL Form as they appear (separately) in the Form Designer, when you create either a Multi-Device Application or a VCL Forms Application:

Multi-Device Form

Multi-Device Form

VCL Form   

VCL Form

The two forms look different, because a VCL form is a native Windows form, while a multi-device form is platform-neutral and is custom drawn by the FireMonkey tools. For example, a VCL form displays the standard Windows buttons for Minimize, Resize, and Close commands. A multi-device form appears by default with the Master view, which is platform-neutral. A multi-device application can target all the available platforms while VCL only targets Windows.

Despite these visual differences, the Form Designer works almost the same for FireMonkey and VCL. One difference is that several different context menu commands are supported for FireMonkey and VCL.

Here is a Multi-Device Form as it appears in the Form Designer, when you create a Multi-Device Application:

Multi-Device Form

Multi-Device Form

Style Selector

Style selector.png

The multi-device Form Designer includes a Style Selector that chooses the basic design-time platform style used in the Master view. The styles are based on the platforms that a multi-device application can target:

  • Windows
  • OSX
  • iOS
  • Android

Select the style of the Master view at design time to show all properties related to the selected style/platform. For example, if you want to define the StyleLookup property of a TButton for an Android device, select the Android style; notice that the options available in the drop-down menu of the Object Inspector for the StyleLookup property contains selections for an Android device.

View Selector

The multi-device Form Designer includes a View Selector, a drop-down menu that shows all the Available views that represent different devices, such as specific iOS, Android, Windows and OS X devices. After you select views from the Available list for your project, the views are added to the Created list. See Using FireMonkey Views.

View selector.png

The View Selector provides the following controls:

Icon Description


Selects the current view from a drop-down list of views.

You can add one or more views to your project just by clicking views from the Available list. See Adding Views to Your Multi-Device Project.

You can also create customized views and add them to the View Selector. See Adding a Customized View to the View Selector.

RemoveViewIcon.png Remove View

Removes the current view. A Confirm dialog appears.

The view is removed from the code.

RotateCurrentView.png Rotate the Current View

Rotates the current view 90 degrees clockwise. Available only for mobile views (not available for desktop views).

HideShowFormFrame.png Hide or show the form frame

Hides the frame of a selected view (or shows the frame if it was previously hidden).

Visual Components

You can add visual components to your multi-device or VCL form by dragging selected components creating from the Tool Palette, located in the lower-right section of the IDE, onto the form. These are the components that will be visible to the end user at run time. The objects available on the Tool Palette change dynamically, depending on the type of application or form you are designing.

The Tool Palette includes controls such as buttons, labels, toolbars, and list boxes for each of the various tool categories; types of applications if you are working at the project level, such as DLL wizards, console or logo applications; and web controls, HTML elements, and data components if you are working on a web application.

For visual and nonvisual components in the Form Designer, you can view and set properties and events by using the Object Inspector.

Nonvisual Components

Nonvisual components such as a GestureManager are attached to the form, but they are only visible at design time; they are not visible to end users at run time. You can use nonvisual components as a way to reuse groups of database and system objects, or isolate the parts of your application that handle database connectivity and business rules.

The IDE allows you to hide or show non-visual components at design time.

HTML Designer

Use the HTML Designer to view and edit Web Forms or HTML pages. You can change the default layout in the HTML Designer to be either 'Grid Layout' or 'Flow Layout'. Choose Tools > Options and then select HTML Options from the tree on the left side. Now you will see the Default Page Layout Options that allows you to select either the Grid Layout or Flow Layout option. This Designer provides a Tag Editor for editing HTML tags alongside the visual representation of the form or page. You can also use the Object Inspector to edit properties of the visible items on the HTML page and to display the properties of any current HTML tag in the Tag Editor. A combo box located above the Tag Editor lets you display and edit SCRIPT tags.

To create a new HTML file, choose File > New > Other > Web Documents > HTML Page.

Context Menu

When you right-click a form in the Form Designer, the context menu is displayed. The context menu commands are available for both VCL and FireMonkey, unless otherwise noted in the following table.

Note: This section only covers context menu entries when editing a form. For data modules, see Context Menu for Data Modules.
Item Description

Items Editor

(certain FireMonkey components)

Opens the Items Designer with focus on the selected control.

Add Item

(certain FireMonkey components)

Allows you to add an item to the selected control on the form. For example, if you add a TEdit control to a multi-device form, you can right-click the TEdit control, select Add Item, and add an embedded glyph such as TPasswordEditButton.


Select from the following editing subcommands, which apply to the Form Designer contents:

  • Undo
  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Delete
  • Select All


Controls the front/back layers of the selected control. Choose from the following subcommands:

LiveBindings Wizard

(only if enabled in Tools > Options > LiveBindings)

Opens the LiveBindings Wizard.

Bind Visually...

Opens the LiveBindings Designer.


Sets the alignment, size, and scale of the selected control. Choose from the following subcommands:

Flip Children

Reverses right and left. Choose from the following subcommands:

  • All--reverses all the elements on the form
  • Selected--reverses only the selected elements

Tab Order

Invokes the Edit Tab Order dialog box.

Creation Order

(nonvisual components)

Opens the Creation Order dialog box.

Hide Non-Visual Components

Allows you to hide or show non-visual components at design-time.

Revert to Inherited

Resets the properties, methods, and events of the selected control to the values of the base class control. See Revert to Inherited.

Add to Repository

Opens the Add to Repository dialog box.

View as Text

Opens the current form file as text in the Code Editor window. See View as Text.

Text FMX
(multi-device forms)

Text DFM
(VCL forms)

Saves the form file either in text form (enabled) or in binary form (disabled). See Text DFM or Text FMX.

Edit Default Style
Edit Custom Style

(FireMonkey desktop controls)

Opens the FireMonkey Style Designer.

For more information, see Customizing FireMonkey Applications with Styles.

Test Dialog

(VCL only)

For any of the modal VCL dialog boxes, tests the dialog. That is, if you right-click an OpenDialog on the Form Designer and select Test Dialog, the standard File Open dialog is displayed.

Shortcut Keys on the Form Designer

The following shortcut keys can be used to move and resize the components on the Form Designer.

Shortcut Action

Ctrl + Mouse selection area

Selects all the child controls from the parent control that are located inside the area selected with the mouse.

Shift + Mouse selection

Selects several controls simultaneously. Hold down Shift key while you click the different controls to select.

Ctrl + Arrow Key

Moves the selected component slowly

Ctrl + Shift + Arrow key

Moves the component faster

Tab or Arrow Key

Changes focus among components

Shift + Arrow Key

Changes the size of the component


Selects the parent component

Ctrl + Tab

Moves forward to the next Editing tab

Ctrl + Shift + Tab

Moves backward to the previous Editing tab

See Also