In this post I’ll show you how to change the drag and drop direction within a ContentArea. First let me start with some examples of the default functionality. Editors can drag and drop ContentAreaItems around pretty easily, as shown in the following gif.

Drag and drop

What you’ll probably notice in this gif is the drag and drop direction inside the ContentArea. On a big viewport you can drag ContentAreaItems horizontally whereas on a smaller viewport you can drag ContentAreaItems vertically. To determine the drag and drop direction episerver implemented some advanced(?) checks, which takes styling of all ContentAreaItems into account.

//This can be found in ContentArea.js (debug clientResources)
_setupDirectionality: function () {
            // summary:
            //      Iterates over the sourceItemNodes children checking if any is floating.
            // tags:
            //      private
            var horizontal;

            if (/vertical|horizontal/.test(this.layout)) {
                horizontal = this.layout === "horizontal";
            } else {
                horizontal = array.some(this._getBlockNodes(), function (node) {
                    var style = domStyle.getComputedStyle(node),
                        floating = /left|right/.test(style.cssFloat),
                        inline = /inline|inline-block/.test(style.display);

                    return floating || inline;


In one of our projects we were using some fancy styling and a library to position our blocks. During the implementation of the design we ran into some problems though, as the block drag and drop direction was always wrong (always vertical).

Wrong direction

So first I tried to understand the rules for determining horizontal or vertical drag and drop. After some time and some &^*% I noticed the if statement /vertical|horizontal/.test(this.layout).

Wait a second, I can set the direction myself!

Doing this is pretty easy but documentation is next to nonexistent (at least for my Google skills). Create a ContentAreaEditorDescriptor like so:

    [EditorDescriptorRegistration(TargetType = typeof(ContentArea), UIHint = UiHints.FixedLayoutContentArea)]
    public class FixedLayoutContentAreaEditorDescriptor : ContentAreaEditorDescriptor
        public FixedLayoutContentAreaEditorDescriptor()
            // This forces the overlay layout to be horizontal (fix for drag and drop)
            OverlayConfiguration.Add("layout", "horizontal");

    public static class UiHints
        public const string FixedLayoutContentArea = "FixedLayoutContentArea";

And all there’s left is to add a UIHint to your ContentArea property:

 public class StartPage : SitePageData
            GroupName = SystemTabNames.Content,
            Order = 320)]
        public virtual ContentArea MainContentArea { get; set; }


Sure, the drag and drop direction isn’t dynamically determined anymore, but at least this workaround puts us in control in case we want to!

Which direction?


  • Epi might calculate the wrong drag and drop direction for ContentAreaItems
  • You can force the direction yourself, using a custom ContentAreaEditorDescriptor and adding a UIHint