According to different environment and working requirement, the manipulators with diverse shapes and functions are required. In this paper, a virtual design and simulation system for manipulators of multi-degree of freedom (DOF) was put forward. Knowledge classification and modeling were carried out for the manipulator’s mechanism and motion behaviors. The software architecture framework and platform of the hardware and software were described. The overall program approach and its realization of the system were introduced. Based on the VC++ 6.0 development platform, the manipulator’s design and simulation system was developed and tested by examples. The results show that it provides a theoretical method and a tool for the virtual design and virtual manufacturing of multi-DOF manipulators in complex environment, which elevates the speed and lowers the cost of research and development.