Use rule sets to group code analysis rules

When you configure code analysis in Visual Studio, you can choose from a list of built-in rule sets. A rule set applies to a project, and is a grouping of code analysis rules that identify targeted issues and specific conditions for that project. For example, you can apply a rule set that is designed to scan code for publicly available APIs, or just the minimum recommended rules. You can also apply a rule set that includes all the rules.

You can customize a rule set by adding or deleting rules, or by changing rule severities to appear as either warnings or errors in the Error List. Customized rule sets can fulfill a need for your particular development environment. When you customize a rule set, the rule set editor provides search and filtering tools to help you in the process.

Rule sets are available for static analysis of managed code, analysis of C++ code, and Roslyn analyzers.

Rule set format

A rule set is specified in XML format in a .ruleset file. Rules, which consist of an ID and an action, are grouped by analyzer ID and namespace in the file.

The contents of a .ruleset file looks similar to this XML:

<RuleSet Name="Rules for Hello World project" Description="These rules focus on critical issues for the Hello World app." ToolsVersion="10.0">
  <Localization ResourceAssembly="Microsoft.VisualStudio.CodeAnalysis.RuleSets.Strings.dll" ResourceBaseName="Microsoft.VisualStudio.CodeAnalysis.RuleSets.Strings.Localized">
    <Name Resource="HelloWorldRules_Name" />
    <Description Resource="HelloWorldRules_Description" />
  <Rules AnalyzerId="Microsoft.Analyzers.ManagedCodeAnalysis" RuleNamespace="Microsoft.Rules.Managed">
    <Rule Id="CA1001" Action="Warning" />
    <Rule Id="CA1009" Action="Warning" />
    <Rule Id="CA1016" Action="Warning" />
    <Rule Id="CA1033" Action="Warning" />
  <Rules AnalyzerId="Microsoft.CodeQuality.Analyzers" RuleNamespace="Microsoft.CodeQuality.Analyzers">
    <Rule Id="CA1802" Action="Error" />
    <Rule Id="CA1814" Action="Info" />
    <Rule Id="CA1823" Action="None" />
    <Rule Id="CA2217" Action="Warning" />


It's easier to edit a rule set in the graphical Rule Set Editor than by hand.

Specify a rule set for a project

The rule set for a project is specified by the CodeAnalysisRuleSet property in the Visual Studio project file. For example:

<PropertyGroup Condition=" '$(Configuration)|$(Platform)' == 'Debug|AnyCPU' ">

See also