Adding a Toolbar


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This walkthrough shows how to add a toolbar to the Visual Studio IDE.

A toolbar is a horizontal or vertical strip that contains buttons that are bound to commands. Depending on its implementation, a toolbar in the IDE can be repositioned, docked on any side of the main IDE window, or made to stay in front of other windows.

In addition, users can add commands to a toolbar or remove them from it by using the Customize dialog box. Typically, toolbars in VSPackages are user-customizable. The IDE handles all customization, and the VSPackage responds to commands. The VSPackage does not have to know where a command is physically located.

For more information about menus, see Commands, Menus, and Toolbars.


Starting in Visual Studio 2015, you do not install the Visual Studio SDK from the download center. It is included as an optional feature in Visual Studio setup. You can also install the VS SDK later on. For more information, see Installing the Visual Studio SDK.

Creating an Extension with a Toolbar

Create a VSIX project named IDEToolbar. Add a menu command item template named ToolbarTestCommand. For information about how to do this, see Creating an Extension with a Menu Command.

Creating a Toolbar for the IDE

  1. In ToolbarTestCommandPackage.vsct, look for the Symbols section. In the GuidSymbol element named guidToolbarTestCommandPackageCmdSet, add declarations for a toolbar and a toolbar group, as follows.

    <IDSymbol name="Toolbar" value="0x1000" />  
    <IDSymbol name="ToolbarGroup" value="0x1050" />  
  2. At the top of the Commands section, create a Menus section. Add a Menu element to the Menus section to define your toolbar.

        <Menu guid="guidToolbarTestCommandPackageCmdSet" id="Toolbar"  
            type="Toolbar" >  
                <ButtonText>Test Toolbar</ButtonText>  
                <CommandName>Test Toolbar</CommandName>  

    Toolbars cannot be nested like submenus. Therefore, you do not have to assign a parent group. Also, you do not have to set a priority, because the user can move toolbars. Typically, initial placement of a toolbar is defined programmatically, but subsequent changes by the user are persisted.

  3. In the Groups section, after the existing group entry, define a Group element to contain the commands for the toolbar.

    <Group guid="guidToolbarTestCommandPackageCmdSet" id="ToolbarGroup"  
      <Parent guid="guidToolbarTestCommandPackageCmdSet" id="Toolbar"/>  
  4. Make the button appear on the toolbar. In the Buttons section, replace the Parent block in the Button to the toolbar. The resulting Button block should look like this:

    <Button guid="guidToolbarTestCommandPackageCmdSet" id="ToolbarTestCommandId" priority="0x0100" type="Button">  
        <Parent guid= "guidToolbarTestCommandPackageCmdSet" id="ToolbarGroup" />  
                <Icon guid="guidImages" id="bmpPic1" />  
            <ButtonText>Invoke ToolbarTestCommand</ButtonText>  

    By default, if a toolbar has no commands, it does not appear.

  5. Build the project and start debugging. The experimental instance should appear.

  6. Right-click the Visual Studio menu bar to get the list of toolbars. Select Test Toolbar.

  7. You should now see your toolbar as an icon to the right of the Find in Files icon. When you click the icon, you should see a message box that says ToolbarTestCommandPackage. Inside IDEToolbar.ToolbarTestCommand.MenuItemCallback().

See Also

Commands, Menus, and Toolbars