Version: 2022.2
Language : English
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Structure UI with UXML

Coordinate and position systems

UI Toolkit uses a powerful layout system that automatically calculates the position and size of individual elements based on the layout parameters in their style properties. This is based on Flexbox, a web layout model. For more information, see Layout Engine.

Relative and absolute positions

UI Toolkit has two types of coordinates:

  • Relative: Coordinates relative to the element’s calculated position. The layout system calculates the position of the element, then adds the coordinates as an offset. Parent elements can influence the size and position of the child elements, as the layout engine takes them into account when it calculates the element position. Child elements can only influence the size of the parent element.
  • Absolute: Coordinates relative to the parent element. This circumvents the automatic layout calculation and directly sets the position of the element. Sibling elements under the same parent have no influence on the element’s position. Similarly, the element doesn’t influence the position and size of other siblings under the same parent.

Each visual elementA node of a visual tree that instantiates or derives from the C# VisualElement class. You can style the look, define the behaviour, and display it on screen as part of the UI. More info
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determines the coordinate system used to calculate its position. You can configure which coordinate system to use in the element stylesheet.

The following code shows how to set the coordinate space and the position of a visual element through code:

    var newElement = new VisualElement(); = Position.Relative; = 15; = 35;

The origin of an element is its top left corner.

The layout system computes the VisualElement.layout property (type Rect) for each element, which includes the final position of the element. This takes the relative or absolute position of the element into account.

The layout.position is expressed in points, relative to the coordinate space of its parent.

Each VisualElement has a transform property (ITransform) you can use to add an additional local offset to the position and rotation of an element. The offset isn’t represented in the calculated layout property. By default, the transform is the identity.

Use the worldBound property to retrieve the final window space coordinates of the VisualElement, taking into account both the layout position and the transform. This position includes the height of the header of the window.

Transformation between coordinate systems

The VisualElement.layout.position and VisualElement.transform properties define how to transform between the local coordinate system and the parent coordinate system.

The VisualElementExtensions static class provides the following extension methods that transform points and rectangles between coordinate systems:

  • WorldToLocal transforms a Vector2 or Rect from Panel space to the referential within the element.
  • LocalToWorld transforms a Vector2 or Rect to Panel space referential.
  • ChangeCoordinatesTo transforms Vector2 or Rect from the local space of one element to the local space of another.

Additional resource

Draw order
Structure UI with UXML
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