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Extending the Unity Editor with Custom Tools - Crash Course

Unity, one of the most popular game development engines, empowers developers to create immersive and interactive experiences. While Unity's built-in features cover a broad spectrum of game development needs, there are times when developers seek more specialized tools to streamline their workflows. This is where extending the Unity Editor with custom tools becomes invaluable. In this crash course, we'll explore the basics of creating custom tools to enhance your Unity Editor experience.

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Understanding Unity Editor Extensions

Unity Editor Extensions are scripts that add functionality to the Unity Editor. They empower developers to create custom inspectors, scene view tools, and other editor-related features tailored to specific project requirements. Extensions can save time, improve workflow efficiency, and provide a more user-friendly interface.

Before diving into creating custom tools, it's crucial to understand the key components of Unity Editor Extensions:

1. Editor Windows:

Editor Windows are standalone windows within the Unity Editor. They are commonly used to create tools with custom interfaces. You can access them through the "Window" menu in Unity.

2. Custom Inspectors:

Custom inspectors allow you to modify the way Unity displays and interacts with your scripts in the Inspector window. This is particularly useful for enhancing the editing experience of complex objects.

3. Scene View Tools:

Scene view tools enable developers to create interactive elements directly in the Scene view. These tools can range from simple gizmos to more complex manipulators.

Getting Started: Setting Up Your Project
To begin creating custom tools, follow these initial steps:

1. Create a New Script:

Create a new C# script in your Unity project. This script will serve as the foundation for your custom tool.

2. Inherit from EditorWindow:

For creating an Editor Window, make your script inherit from the EditorWindow class. For custom inspectors, inherit from Editor class.

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using UnityEditor;
public class CustomToolWindow : EditorWindow
    // Your custom tool code goes here

3. Open the Editor Window:

To open your custom tool window, add a menu item. Use the MenuItem attribute above a method that creates and shows your window.

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[MenuItem("Tools/Custom Tool")]
public static void OpenWindow()
    CustomToolWindow window = GetWindow<CustomToolWindow>("Custom Tool");
Building Your Custom Tool
Now that the groundwork is laid, let's explore how to implement functionality in your custom tool.

1. Creating UI Elements:
Unity provides the GUILayout and EditorGUILayout classes to create various UI elements such as buttons, labels, and sliders within your custom tools. Customize your window's layout by adding these elements.

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void OnGUI()
    GUILayout.Label("Custom Tool Settings", EditorStyles.boldLabel);

    if (GUILayout.Button("Do Something"))
        // Implement functionality here
2. Interacting with Scene Objects:
To interact with objects in the scene, you can use Unity's Selection class. This allows you to get and manipulate the currently selected objects in the scene.

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if (GUILayout.Button("Move Selected Object"))
    GameObject selectedObject = Selection.activeGameObject;

    if (selectedObject != null)
        // Implement object manipulation code
3. Custom Inspectors:
For custom inspectors, override the OnInspectorGUI method. This method is called whenever the Inspector window needs to be redrawn.

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public override void OnInspectorGUI()


    if (GUILayout.Button("Custom Action"))
        // Implement custom action

Advanced Techniques
As you become more comfortable with creating custom tools, you can explore advanced techniques to enhance your tools further:

1. Editor Styles:

Customize the look and feel of your tools using Unity's EditorStyles class. This allows you to match the style of Unity's built-in tools.

2. Scene Handles:

Integrate interactive handles in the Scene view to manipulate objects directly. Unity's Handles class provides methods for creating gizmos and handles.

3. Editor Events:

Utilize editor events such as OnSceneGUI to perform actions during specific events, like mouse clicks in the Scene view.

4. Asset Creation:
Extend your tools to create and modify assets programmatically. This is particularly useful for procedural content generation.


Extending the Unity Editor with custom tools opens up a world of possibilities for game developers. Whether you're streamlining workflows, enhancing inspector interfaces, or creating specialized scene manipulation tools, the ability to customize the editor empowers you to tailor Unity to your specific needs.

This crash course provides a foundational understanding of Unity Editor Extensions and a starting point for creating your own tools. As you delve deeper into Unity's scripting API and explore advanced techniques, you'll find yourself equipped to tackle complex game development challenges with efficiency and creativity. Happy coding!

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