You use panels to group other controls, usually to divide a form into regions by function. For example, you may have a menu form that lets the user select drinks in one panel and what they want on their sandwich in another.
You can use grouping controls such as panels and group controls to make it clear which controls are associated—and it makes it easier to handle groups of controls at design time too, because when you move a panel, all the controls it contains are moved as well. You can see a panel at work in Figure 6.4 and in the Panels example on the CD-ROM; here, I've set the panel's BorderStyle to Fixed3D. (By default, panels do not have borders; you can set BorderStyle to None, FixedSingle, or Fixed3D.) As you can see, the radio buttons groups in that figure can operate independently.
The Panel control is similar to the GroupBox control; however, only the Panel control can have scroll bars, and only the GroupBox control displays a caption. To display scroll bars, you set the AutoScroll property to True. Besides using the BorderStyle property to customize a panel, you also can use the BackColor and BackgroundImage properties.