Work in Team Explorer

You use Team Explorer to manage work that is assigned to you, your team, or your team projects, and to coordinate your efforts with other team members to develop a project. Team Explorer is a plug-in that installs with Visual Studio or Eclipse. Developers and stakeholders working from different platforms can collaborate effectively using Team Explorer connected to team projects hosted on Visual Studio Online or an on-premises Team Foundation Server (TFS).

The operations available to you depend on which source control option—Team Foundation version control (TFVC) or Git—was selected to manage source code when the team project was created.

Team Explorer plug-in for Visual Studio

Team Explorer connects Visual Studio to team projects. You can manage source code, work items, and builds. Or, create a team project.

Home page with TFVC

Team Explorer Home page w/ TFVC as source control

Home page with Git

Team Explorer Home page with Git as source control

Some pages, such as Reports and Documents, only appear when TFS is configured with the required resources. Other pages, such as My Work, are only available with Visual Studio Premium or Visual Studio Ultimate.

Team Explorer is installed with each version of Visual Studio. If you don’t need Visual Studio, but do want to connect to TFS or get one or more Team Foundation add-ins, you can install Team Explorer for free from the Visual Studio download page.

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 TFS.

Home page with TFVC (Eclipse)

Home page w/ TFVC as source control - Eclipse

Home page with Git (Eclipse)

Home page w/ Git as source control - Eclipse

Connect to TFS or create a team project

From the Connect page, you can select the team projects you want to connect to and quickly switch context between team projects.

Connect page, lists two connected team projects


From the Visual Studio plug-in, you can Create a team project and manage your Local Git Repositories. The ability to create team projects is not supported from the Eclipse plug-in.

Choose the page to access the task you want

Based on the page you select and the options configured for your team project, here’s what you can do:




My Work (TFVC) (see note 1)

Pending Changes (TFVC)

Source Control Explorer (TFVC)

Changes (Git)



Work Items


Reports (2)

Documents (3)


  1. My Work appears only when you have installed Visual Studio Premium or Visual Studio Ultimate.

  2. Reports appears only when your team 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 team project.

  3. Documents appears only if your team project has been configured with a SharePoint Products portal.

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

Configure permissions, groups, defaults, and other administrative features

From the Settings page, you can configure administrative features for either a team project or team project collection. Configuring features in these areas requires you to be a member of a TFS administrator group.

Most of the links open a web browser to a TWA administration page. Not all settings are available from the Team Explorer plug-in for Eclipse


TFS group membership

Feature area

Team project

Team Project Administrators

Configure the following areas for a team project:

Team project collection

Project Collection Administrators

Configure the following areas for a team project collection:

Q & A

What should I do if I can’t connect to TFS?

A: Here’s a list of the most frequently encountered connection problems and what to do about them. Start at the top and follow it in the order indicated.

  1. Verify that you have required permissions.

    If the errors that you receive indicate read-only or blocked actions, you might not have permission to act on the data.

  2. Verify that your computer is connected to the network and can access network resources.

  3. Verify that TFS hasn’t been taken offline. Talk with your TFS administrator.

  4. Verify whether your team project has been moved to another team project collection in Team Foundation Server. If it has been moved, you must create a connection to the new server name.

For more troubleshooting tips, go here.

What other clients can I use to connect to a team project?

A:Team Web Access (TWA) connects you to a team project through a web browser. Also, you can use Excel, Project, and Project Professional to manage work items. For a complete overview of all clients, see Choose the Team Foundation client to support your tasks.

Q: Can stakeholders who don't use Visual Studio still log bugs or code defects?

A: Yes. Members of an organization who don’t have a client access license (CAL) can access TWA as a stakeholder.

To learn more about access levels, see Change access levels.

Q: How do I refresh Team Explorer?

A: 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 RefreshRefresh in the menu bar (or choose the F5 key).

  • To refresh the team project you currently have selected, choose Home iconHome, and then choose RefreshRefresh (or choose the F5 key).

  • To refresh the set of teams defined for the team project that you currently have selected, choose the Connect icon, and then choose RefreshRefresh (or choose the F5 key).

    Team Explorer Connect page

Q: Can I add or modify the work item types?

A: The work item types available to you are based on the process template that was used to create your team project. If you connect to an on-premises TFS, you can modify or add custom work item types.

Q: What additional tools are provided with TFS Power Tools?

A: By installing Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013 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.