Human Interface Guidelines

Since MonoDevelop is a GNOME application it has to follow the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines. This document is a summary of the most important rules, with some MonoDevelop specific changes.

Window Layout

Basic rules:

  • Leave a 12-pixel border between the edge of the window and the nearest controls.
  • Leave a 6-pixel horizontal gap between a control and its label.
  • Always align labels to the left.
  • In dialogs, set the Has Separator property to true, unless the main widget of the dialog is a Notebook, a TreeView or any other widget with a frame.

Here are some simple steps to configure the spacing in a dialog:

  • Set the dialog Border Width to 6
  • Select the dialog’s main VBox. Set Border Width to 0 and the Spacing to 6
  • Select the dialog’s action area (the HButtonBox). Set Border Width to 6 and the Spacing to 6.
  • Select the container you placed inside the main area of the dialog. Set Border Width to 6.


There are two styles of capitalization: Sentence capitalization (capitalize the first letter of the first word) and Header capitalization (Capitalize all words in the element, excluding articles, conjunctions and prepositions).

See the table Capitalization Style Guidelines for User Interface Elements to know which style has to be used for each element type.

Default Activation Buttons in Dialogs

In general, pressing Enter on a dialog should be the same as clicking on the OK button. To implement this behavior you can do the following:

  • Select the OK button in the designer. Set the HasDefault property to True.
  • Select every Entry widget of the dialog and set the ActivatesDefault property to True.