Index Sources & Publish Symbols task

Azure Pipelines | Azure DevOps Server 2020 | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 - TFS 2015


A symbol server is available with Package Management in Azure Artifacts and works best with Visual Studio 2017.4 and newer. Team Foundation Server users and users without the Package Management extension can publish symbols to a file share using this task.

Use this task to index your source code and optionally publish symbols to the Package Management symbol server or a file share.

Indexing source code enables you to use your .pdb symbol files to debug an app on a machine other than the one you used to build the app. For example, you can debug an app built by a build agent from a dev machine that does not have the source code.

Symbol servers enables your debugger to automatically retrieve the correct symbol files without knowing product names, build numbers or package names. To learn more about symbols, read the concept page; to publish symbols, use this task and see the walkthrough.


This build task works only:

  • For code in Git or TFVC stored in Team Foundation Server (TFS) or Azure Repos. It does not work for any other type of repository.



YAML snippet

# Index sources and publish symbols
# Index your source code and publish symbols to a file share or Azure Artifacts symbol server
- task: PublishSymbols@2
    #symbolsFolder: '$(Build.SourcesDirectory)' # Optional
    #searchPattern: '**/bin/**/*.pdb' 
    #indexSources: true # Optional
    #publishSymbols: true # Optional
    #symbolServerType: ' ' # Required when publishSymbols == True# Options:  , teamServices, fileShare
    #symbolsPath: # Optional
    #compressSymbols: false # Required when symbolServerType == FileShare
    #detailedLog: true # Optional
    #treatNotIndexedAsWarning: false # Optional
    #symbolsMaximumWaitTime: # Optional
    #symbolsProduct: # Optional
    #symbolsVersion: # Optional
    #symbolsArtifactName: 'Symbols_$(BuildConfiguration)' # Optional


Argument Description
Path to symbols folder

(Optional) The path to the folder that is searched for symbol files. The default is $(Build.SourcesDirectory), Otherwise specify a rooted path. Note that UNC paths aren't supported if you select the Azure Artifacts symbol server as the server type.
For example: $(Build.BinariesDirectory)/MyProject

Search pattern

(Required) File matching pattern(s) The pattern used to discover the pdb files to publish

Default value: **/bin/**/*.pdb
Index sources

(Optional) Indicates whether to inject source server information into the PDB files

Default value: true
Publish symbols

(Optional) Indicates whether to publish the symbol files

Default value: true
Symbol server type
(Required) Choose where to publish symbols. Symbols published to the Azure Artifacts symbol server are accessible by any user with access to the organization/collection. Azure DevOps Server only supports the "File share" option. Follow these instructions to use Symbol Server in Azure Artifacts.
  • Symbol Server in this organization/collection (requires Azure Artifacts)
File share:
  • Select this option to use the file share supplied in the next input.
Path to publish symbols

(Optional) The file share that hosts your symbols. This value will be used in the call to symstore.exe add as the /s parameter.

To prepare your SymStore symbol store:

  1. Set up a folder on a file-sharing server to store the symbols. For example, set up \fabrikam-share\symbols.
  2. Grant full control permission to the build agent service account.

If you leave this argument blank, your symbols will be source indexed but not published. (You can also store your symbols with your drops. See Publish Build Artifacts).

Compress symbols

(Required) Only available when File share is selected as the Symbol server type. Compresses your pdbs to save space.
Default value: false

Verbose logging
(Optional) Enables additional log details.
Default value: true
Warn if not indexed

(Optional) Indicates whether to warn if sources are not indexed for a PDB file. Otherwise the messages are logged as normal output.
A common cause of sources to not be indexed are when your solution depends on binaries that it doesn't build.

Even if you don't select this option, the messages are written in log.

Default value: false
Max wait time (min)
(Optional) The number of minutes to wait before failing this task. If you leave it blank, limit is 2 hours.
(Optional) Specify the product parameter to symstore.exe. The default is $(Build.DefinitionName)
(Optional) Specify the version parameter to symstore.exe. The default is $(Build.BuildNumber).
Artifact name
(Optional) Specify the artifact name to use for the Symbols artifact. The default is Symbols_$(BuildConfiguration).
Default value: Symbols_$(BuildConfiguration)

For more information about the different types of tasks and their uses, see Task control options.


If you want to delete symbols that were published using the Index Sources & Publish Symbols task, you must first remove the build that generated those symbols. This can be accomplished by using retention policies to clean up your build or by manually deleting the run. For information about debugging your app, see Use indexed symbols to debug your app, Debug with symbols in Visual Studio, Debug with symbols in WinDbg.

Open source

This task is open source on GitHub. Feedback and contributions are welcome.


How does indexing work?

By choosing to index the sources, an extra section will be injected into the PDB files. PDB files normally contain references to the local source file paths only. For example, C:\BuildAgent\_work\1\src\MyApp\Program.cs. The extra section injected into the PDB file contains mapping instructions for debuggers. The mapping information indicates how to retrieve the server item corresponding to each local path.

The Visual Studio debugger will use the mapping information to retrieve the source file from the server. An actual command to retrieve the source file is included in the mapping information. You may be prompted by Visual Studio whether to run the command. For example

tf.exe git view /collection:http://SERVER:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection /teamproject:"93fc2e4d-0f0f-4e40-9825-01326191395d" /repository:"647ed0e6-43d2-4e3d-b8bf-2885476e9c44" /commitId:3a9910862e22f442cd56ff280b43dd544d1ee8c9 /path:"/MyApp/Program.cs" /output:"C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\SOURCE~1\TFS_COMMIT\3a991086\MyApp\Program.cs" /applyfilters

Can I use source indexing on a portable PDB created from a .NET Core assembly?

No, source indexing is currently not enabled for Portable PDBs as SourceLink doesn't support authenticated source repositories. The workaround at the moment is to configure the build to generate full PDBs. Note that if you are generating a .NET Standard 2.0 assembly and are generating full PDBs and consuming them in a .NET Framework (full CLR) application then you will be able to fetch sources from Azure Repos (provided you have embedded SourceLink information and enabled it in your IDE).

Where can I learn more about symbol stores and debugging?

Symbol Server and Symbol Stores


Use the Microsoft Symbol Server to obtain debug symbol files

The Srcsrv.ini File

Source Server

Source Indexing and Symbol Servers: A Guide to Easier Debugging

Do I need an agent?

You need at least one agent to run your build or release.

I'm having problems. How can I troubleshoot them?

See Troubleshoot Build and Release.

I can't select a default agent pool and I can't queue my build or release. How do I fix this?

See Agent pools.

My NuGet push task is failing with the following error: "Error: unable to get local issuer certificate". How can I fix this?

This can be fixed by adding a trusted root certificate. You can either add the NODE_EXTRA_CA_CERTS=file environment variable to your build agent, or you can add the NODE.EXTRA.CA.CERTS=file task variable in your pipeline. See Environment variables for more details.

How long are Symbols retained?

When symbols are published to Azure Pipelines they are associated with a build. When the build is deleted either manually or due to retention policy then the symbols are also deleted. If you want to retain the symbols indefinitely then you should mark the build as Retain Indefinitely.