Overview Window for MDI

Docking/MDI for Windows Forms Forum

Posted 13 years ago by Anthony Martin
Version: 2.0.0075
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The MDI has the potential for being an infinite workspace with an unlimited number of windows. The problem is that you have to scroll to those windows manually via the scrollbars, searching for them. It'd be cool if there was a way to have an overview window that showed all the windows that are open within the MDI with a viewport that showed where the user's current view is. In addition, the user could drag the viewport to a group of windows and view those.

This would be helpful to people who operate on a laptop (which is what our client does), they would no longer be hindered by their monitor real estate.

Comments (3)

Posted 13 years ago by Actipro Software Support - Cleveland, OH, USA
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That's an interesting idea. It would just be a large rectangle representing the bounds of the MDI area and a smaller one showing the area that is currently in view, right? In a sense though, scrollbars do show the same sort of thing based on where the thumb is.

Do you use our next window navigation features? That shows the complete list of open documents and allows you to navigation to the appropriate one by using arrow keys or ctrl+tabbing. It's very handy.


Actipro Software Support

Posted 13 years ago by Anthony Martin
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The ctrl-tab is ok if the window is onscreen because then you can jump from one window to another. However, if the focused window is offscreen within the MDI, it doesn't scroll to it. At quick glance, it looks like nothing happened.

From a usability standpoint, you can just drag the view to the window you want to go to. One click, limited mouse movement. With scrollbars, if you have to go left-right and up-down, at least two mouse clicks and more mouse movement. There's also no guarantee that your window will be in full view once you think you have the scroll bars in the right position, there'd still be tweaking involved.

With docking/undocking, you're constrained by the size of the desktop. You could tab the windows but what if you want to see multiple windows all at the same time? The MDI gives us the opportunity to work with an infinite workspace, perfect for a laptop. If you dock two windows next to each other, the size of one or both windows change. Every time a user re-docks another window, he may need to resize all the windows in the docked workspace.
Posted 13 years ago by Actipro Software Support - Cleveland, OH, USA
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Another alternative is how Microsoft does it in SQL Server when working on a database diagram. In that you can hold I believe Ctrl and right click and drag around to move the viewport. That's very fast and easy to use.

Sorry I didn't mean attach them as a tab group. I mean that you can dock two tool windows in the same floating container next to each other. You can dock a number of tool windows in the same floating container, all in a row.


Actipro Software Support

The latest build of this product (v2018.1 build 0341) was released 6 months ago, which was after the last post in this thread.

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