Console-based user interface toolkit for .NET applications.
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Gui.cs - Terminal UI toolkit for .NET

This is a simple UI toolkit for .NET, .NET Core and Mono and works on both Windows and Linux/Unix.

Sample app

A prensetation of this was part of the Retro.NET talk at .NET Conf 2018 Slides

The toolkit contains various controls for building text user interfaces:

All visible UI elements are subclasses of the View, and these in turn can contain an arbitrary number of subviews.

It comes with a mainloop to process events, process idle handlers, timers and monitoring file descriptors.

It is designed to work on Curses and the Windows Console, works well on both color and monochrome terminals and has mouse support on terminal emulators that support it.


  • API documentation for details.

  • Overview contains the conceptual documentation and a walkthrough of the core concepts of gui.cs

Sample Usage

using Terminal.Gui;

class Demo {
    static void Main ()
        Application.Init ();
        var top = Application.Top;

	// Creates the top-level window to show
        var win = new Window (new Rect (0, 1, top.Frame.Width, top.Frame.Height-1), "MyApp");
        top.Add (win);

	// Creates a menubar, the item "New" has a help menu.
        var menu = new MenuBar (new MenuBarItem [] {
            new MenuBarItem ("_File", new MenuItem [] {
                new MenuItem ("_New", "Creates new file", NewFile),
                new MenuItem ("_Close", "", () => Close ()),
                new MenuItem ("_Quit", "", () => { if (Quit ()) top.Running = false; })
            new MenuBarItem ("_Edit", new MenuItem [] {
                new MenuItem ("_Copy", "", null),
                new MenuItem ("C_ut", "", null),
                new MenuItem ("_Paste", "", null)
        top.Add (menu);

	// Add some controls
	win.Add (
            new Label (3, 2, "Login: "),
            new TextField (14, 2, 40, ""),
            new Label (3, 4, "Password: "),
            new TextField (14, 4, 40, "") { Secret = true },
            new CheckBox (3, 6, "Remember me"),
            new RadioGroup (3, 8, new [] { "_Personal", "_Company" }),
            new Button (3, 14, "Ok"),
            new Button (10, 14, "Cancel"),
            new Label (3, 18, "Press ESC and 9 to activate the menubar"));

        Application.Run ();

Installing it

If you want to try Gui.cs, use NuGet to install the Terminal.Gui NuGet package:

Running and Building

You can find a trivial .NET core sample application in the "StandaloneExample" directory. You can execute it by running dotnet core in that directory.

That sample relies on the distributed NuGet package, if you want to to use the code on GitHub, you can open the Example program which references the library built out of this tree.

Input Handling

The input handling of gui.cs is similar in some ways to Emacs and the Midnight Commander, so you can expect some of the special key combinations to be active.

The key ESC can act as an Alt modifier (or Meta in Emacs parlance), to allow input on terminals that do not have an alt key. So to produce the sequence Alt-F, you can press either Alt-F, or ESC folowed by the key F.

To enter the key ESC, you can either press ESC and wait 100 milliseconds, or you can press ESC twice.

ESC-0, and ESC_1 through ESC-9 have a special meaning, they map to F10, and F1 to F9 respectively.

Driver model

Currently gui.cs has support for both ncurses and the System.Console front-ends. ncurses is used on Unix, while System.Console is used on Windows, but you can force the use of System.Console on Unix as well, see Core.cs.


There are some tasks in the github issues, and some others are being tracked in the file.


This is an updated version of gui.cs that I wrote for mono-curses in 2007.

The original gui.cs was a UI toolkit in a single file and tied to curses. This version tries to be console-agnostic and instead of having a container/widget model, only uses Views (which can contain subviews) and changes the rendering model to rely on damage regions instead of burderning each view with the details.


Recently, I setup VSTS to do the releases, for now, this requires a branch to be pushed with the name release/XXX, do this after the NuGet package version has been updated on the Terminal.Gui/Terminal.Gui.csproj, and push.

Then once the package is built, VSTS will request an approval.