UI Toolkit is intended to become the recommended UI system for your new UI development projects. However, in the current release, UI Toolkit does not have some features that Unity UI (uGUI) and Immediate Mode GUI (IMGUI) support. uGUI and IMGUI are more appropriate for certain use cases, and are required to support legacy projects.
This page provides a high-level feature comparison of UI Toolkit, uGUI, and IMGUI, and their respective approaches to UI design.
The following table lists the recommended and alternative system for runtime and Editor:
|Runtime||Unity UI||UI Toolkit|
Your team’s skill set and comfort level with different technologies is also an important consideration.
The following table lists the recommended system for different roles:
|Roles||UI Toolkit||Unity UI
|Programmer||Yes||Yes||Yes||Programmers can use any game development tool or API.|
|Technical Artist||Partial||Yes||No||Technical artists who are familiar with Unity’s GameObject-based tools and workflows are likely to be comfortable working with GameObjects, Components, and the Scene view.
They might not be comfortable with UI Toolkit’s web-like approach or IMGUI’s pure C# approach.
|UI Designer||Yes||Partial||No||UI designers who are familiar with UI creation tools are likely to be comfortable with UI Toolkit’s document-based approach and can use the UI Builder to visually edit their UI.
If they are not familiar with GameObject-based workflows, they might require help from programmers or level designers.
UI Toolkit is in active development and releases new features frequently. uGUI and IMGUI are established and production-proven UI systems that are updated infrequently.
uGUI and IMGUI might be better choices if you need features that are not yet available in UI Toolkit, or you need to support or reuse older UI content.
uGUI is the recommended solution for the following:
UI Toolkit is an alternative to uGUI if you create a screen overlay UI that runs on a wide variety of screen resolutions. Consider UI Toolkit to do the following:
The following table lists the recommended system for major runtime use cases:
|Multi-resolution menus and HUD in intensive UI projects||UI Toolkit|
|World space UI and VRVirtual Reality More info
See in Glossary
|UI that requires customized shaders and materials||Unity UI|
The following table lists the recommended system for detailed runtime features:
|2021||UI Toolkit||Unity UI|
|Nesting reusable components||Yes||Yes|
|Global style management||Yes||No|
|Layout and Styling Debugger||Yes||Yes|
|SceneA Scene contains the environments and menus of your game. Think of each unique Scene file as a unique level. In each Scene, you place your environments, obstacles, and decorations, essentially designing and building your game in pieces. More info
See in Glossary integration
|Rich text tags||Yes||Yes*|
|Input system support||Yes||Yes|
|Visual Scripting support||No||Yes|
|Rendering pipelines support||Yes||Yes|
|Screen-space (2D) rendering||Yes||Yes|
|World-space (3D) rendering||No||Yes|
|Custom materials and shaders||No||Yes|
|SpritesA 2D graphic objects. If you are used to working in 3D, Sprites are essentially just standard textures but there are special techniques for combining and managing sprite textures for efficiency and convenience during development. More info
See in Glossary / Sprite atlasA texture that is composed of several smaller textures. Also referred to as a texture atlas, image sprite, sprite sheet or packed texture. More info
See in Glossary support
|Dynamic texture atlas||Yes||No|
|UI transition animations||Yes||No|
|Integration with Animation ClipsAnimation data that can be used for animated characters or simple animations. It is a simple “unit” piece of motion, such as (one specific instance of) “Idle”, “Walk” or “Run”. More info
See in Glossary and Timeline
*Requires the TextMesh Pro package
IMGUI is the default solution for most use cases and is especially recommended for the following :
UI Toolkit is an alternative to IMGUI if you create complex editor tools. Consider UI Toolkit for the following:
The following table lists the recommended system for major Editor use cases:
|Complex editor tool||UI Toolkit|
|Property drawersA Unity feature that allows you to customize the look of certain controls in the Inspector window by using attributes on your scripts, or by controlling how a specific Serializable class should look More info
See in Glossary
|Collaboration with designers||UI Toolkit|
The following table lists the recommended system for detailed Editor features:
|Nesting reusable components||Yes||No|
|Global style management||Yes||Yes|
|Layout and Styling Debugger||Yes||No|
|Rich text tags||Yes||Yes|
|Default InspectorsA Unity window that displays information about the currently selected GameObject, asset or project settings, allowing you to inspect and edit the values. More info
See in Glossary
|Inspector: Edit custom object types||Yes||Yes|
|Inspector: Edit custom property types||Yes||Yes|
|Inspector: Mixed values (multi-editing) support||Yes||Yes|
|Array and list-view control||Yes||Yes|
|Data binding: Serialized properties||Yes||Yes|