A Free alternative to give your .Net apps a customized look and Feel - Using Component Factory Krypton Tool Kit
I ‘ve been for a long time searching for a way to skin my applications and give them a customized look and feel. I know that its fairly easy in Java, but in winforms its a real pain in the rear. There are a lot of fancy and lucrative options available for doing this in .Net, but only a precious few are free, one of them is the Component factory’s Krypton Tool kit. It took stackoverflow.com about 8 hours to come up with this . Actually a SO user called renick kindly pointed me at this wonderful component. I felt so happy that i thought, I’d share this little piece of info, hence this blog post.
First a little background on the Krypton Tool Kit. Its part of the commercial Krypton Suite from component factory. While the suite itself costs a fortune, the tool kit is free. Which is sweet, because that means the basic UI elements such as the Text fields , and combo boxes are free.
You can get it by visiting
You’ll have to register with your email ID, which sucks I know, but trust me its worth it.
I assume that you are familiar with Visual Studio ,.Net and the standard drills such as adding references etc.,
Once you’ve downloaded the suite (along with the toolkit)
and installed it.
You’ll have free access to the tool kit.
you get the idea ..
The full suite features
The office Ribbon Control
and the fancy stuff are trial only
which consequently means
your UI changes from Being boring like this
To looking good like this
The catch here is that the Ribbon part is licensed commercially (though its free for trial), but there are a lot of free versions of “Office Ribbon” like controls out there.
But all other controls are free.
How do I do It
The easy way is to Create a New Project,
since it provides some nice project templates
But the problem is the Templates vanish once you’ve uninstalled the trial.
So here’s a little hack to get the Tool Kit Assembly
The assemblies are not placed in the Global Assembly Cache, instead at (You know where):\Program Files\Component Factory\Krypton Toolkit 4.1.1\Bin\
You may copy the Tool kit Library, since it’s license is free.
(Note: after acquiring the library, you may as well ditch the installed software.)
You can place the assembly where ever you like and add reference to your heart’s content.
Now as you’ve probably noticed this tool box section doesn’t feature a form (nor does the standard tool set)
For that you have to inherit your normal form from the class
public partial class Form1 : KryptonForm
To change the theme of the form and its child element theres a component called KryptonManager in the Tool Box
which provides a property (enum) called
which can be set to any one of the following
The one that was immediately interesting to me was the “Custom” option.
The Palette (in this context it means, a definition of “what” should be in “what” color) Definition for each theme is defined as a KryptonPalette class.
The component features a design time functionality, using which we can export the theme or import custom ones as plain XML files.
I encourage you to experiment with the custom theme , because that's where you can do some serious damage !