Navigate in Visual Studio Team Explorer

Visual Studio 2019 | Visual Studio 2017 | Visual Studio 2015

You use Team Explorer to coordinate your code efforts with other team members to develop a software project. In addition, you can manage work and that is assigned to you, your team, or your projects. Team Explorer is a plug-in that installs with Visual Studio and Team Explorer Everywhere is a plug-in that installs with Eclipse. Developers can effectively collaborate using Team Explorer connected to projects hosted on Azure DevOps Services or an on-premises Azure DevOps Server (previously named Team Foundation Server (TFS)).

Tip

You can install the latest version of Visual Studio clients from the Visual Studio downloads page.

Additional options for connecting to Azure DevOps Services or TFS include:

For information about compatibility among client and server versions, see Requirements and compatibility.

If you don't need Visual Studio, but want to connect to a project in Azure DevOps, you can install the free Visual Studio Community.

Prerequisites

Connect to a project or repository

Team Explorer connects Visual Studio to projects in Azure DevOps. You can manage source code, work items, and builds. The operations available to you depend on which source control option—Git or Team Foundation version control (TFVC) —was selected to manage source code when the project was created.

Tip

If you open Visual Studio and the Team Explorer pane doesn't appear, choose the View>Team Explorer menu option from the tool bar.

From the Connect page, you can select the projects you want to connect to and quickly switch connection to a different project and or repository. For details, see Connect to a project.

Team Explorer, Connect

The Git and TFVC repos support different pages and functions. For a comparison of the two version control systems, see Choosing the right version control for your project.

Git version control and repository

The following images show the pages available when you connect to a Git repository from Team Explorer.

Visual Studio 2019 Visual Studio 2017 Visual Studio 2015
Visual studio 2019, Team Explorer Home page with Git as source control Visual studio 2017, Team Explorer Home page with Git as source control Visual Studio 2015, Team Explorer Home page w/ TFVC as source control

To learn more about each page, see the following articles.

Home & Builds Git version control Work Items

Home

Builds

Default experience (Visual Studio 2019 only)

Legacy experience (All versions of Visual Studio)

Team Foundation version control

The following images show the pages available when you connect to a TFVC repository from Team Explorer.

Visual Studio 2019 Visual Studio 2017 Visual Studio 2015
Visual Studio 2019, Team Explorer Home page w/ TFVC as source control Visual Studio 2017, Team Explorer Home page w/ TFVC as source control Visual Studio 2015, Team Explorer Home page w/ TFVC as source control

To learn more about each page, see the following articles.

Home & Builds TFVC Work Items

Home

Builds

Default experience (Visual Studio 2019 only)

Legacy experience (All versions of Visual Studio)

Team Explorer plug-in for Eclipse

If you work in Eclipse or on a non-Windows platform, you can install the Team Explorer plug-in for Eclipse. Once installed, you can share your Eclipse projects by adding them to Azure DevOps Services or TFS using Git or TFVC.

Home page with Git (Eclipse) Home page with TFVC (Eclipse)
Eclipse, Team Explorer, Git source control Eclipse, Team Explorer, TFVC source control

To learn more about each page, see the following articles.

Home & Builds Version control Work Items

Home

Builds

Git repo

TFVC repo

Reports

Note

Some pages, such as Reports, only appear when an on-premises TFS is configured with the required resources, such as SQL Server Reporting Services and SharePoint.

The Reports page opens the Reporting Services report site. This page appears only when your project has been configured with SQL Server Analysis Services and Reporting Services. Also, the option to Create Report in Microsoft Excel appears only when reporting has been configured for the project.

If your project is missing one or more pages, you may be able to add functionality to your on premises TFS deployment.

Reports and Documents

Note

Some pages, such as Reports and Documents, only appear when an on-premises TFS is configured with the required resources, such as SQL Server Reporting Services and SharePoint.

The Reports page opens the Reporting Services report site. This page appears only when your project has been configured with SQL Server Analysis Services and Reporting Services. Also, the option to Create Report in Microsoft Excel appears only when reporting has been configured for the project.

From the Documents page, you can open project portal and manage documents and document libraries. This page appears only if your project has been configured with a SharePoint Products portal.

If your project is missing one or more pages, you may be able to add functionality to your on premises TFS deployment.

Settings

From the Settings page, you can configure administrative features for either a project or project collection. To learn more about each page, see the following articles. Most of the links open to a web portal administration page. Not all settings are available from the Team Explorer plug-in for Eclipse.

Project Project Collection Other

To learn more about settings, see About team, project, and organizational-level settings.

Refresh Team Explorer or Team Explorer Everywhere

If data doesn't appear as expected, the first thing to try is to refresh your client. Refreshing your client updates the local cache with changes that were made in another client or in TFS. To refresh Team Explorer, do one of the following actions:

  • To refresh a page that you are currently viewing, choose  Refresh icon in the menu bar (or choose the F5 key).
  • To refresh the project you currently have selected, choose Home, and then choose Refresh icon Refresh icon (or choose the F5 key).
  • To refresh the set of teams defined for the project that you currently have selected, choose the Connect icon, and then choose  Refresh icon (or choose the F5 key).

To avoid potential errors, you should refresh your client application under the following circumstances:

  • Process changes are made.
  • Work item type definitions are added, removed, renamed, or updated.
  • Area or iteration paths are added, removed, renamed, or updated.
  • Users are added to or removed from security groups, or permissions are updated.
  • A team member adds a new shared query or changes the name of a shared query.
  • A build pipeline is added or deleted.
  • A team or project is added or deleted.

Resolve images that don't display in Team Explorer

If an inline image isn't displayed in a work item form that you view in Visual Studio Team Explorer, but the image is displayed in the web portal, your credentials might have expired. You can resolve this by completing the following steps:

  1. In Visual Studio, select View > Other Windows > Web Browser (or use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+R).
  2. In the web browser, locate your organization.
  3. Sign in with your credentials.
  4. Refresh your work item in Team Explorer.

Additional tools provided with TFS Power Tools

By installing TFS Power Tools, you gain access to these additional tools through the Team Explorer plug-in for Visual Studio:

  • Process Template Editor
  • Additional check-in policies for Team Foundation Version Control
  • Team Explorer enhancements including Team Members
  • Team Foundation Power Tool Command Line
  • Test Attachment Cleaner
  • Work Item Templates

Additional requirements may apply.