Create an extension with a VSPackage

This walkthrough shows you how to create a VSIX project and add a VSPackage project item. We will use the VSPackage to get the UI Shell service in order to show a message box.


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 Install the Visual Studio SDK.

Create a VSPackage

  1. Create a VSIX project named FirstPackage. You can find the VSIX project template in the New Project dialog by searching for "vsix".

  2. When the project opens, add a Visual Studio package item template named FirstPackage. In the Solution Explorer, right-click the project node and select Add > New Item. In the Add New Item dialog, go to Visual C# > Extensibility and select Visual Studio Package. In the Name field at the bottom of the window, change the command file name to FirstPackage.cs.

  3. Build the project and start debugging.

    The experimental instance of Visual Studio appears. For more information about the experimental instance, see The experimental instance.

  4. In the experimental instance, open the Tools > Extensions and Updates window. You should see the FirstPackage extension here. (If you open Extensions and Updates in your working instance of Visual Studio, you won't see FirstPackage).

Load the VSPackage

At this point, the extension does not load because there is nothing that causes it to load. You can generally load an extension when you interact with its UI (clicking a menu command, opening a tool window), or by specifying that the VSPackage should load in a specific UI context. For more information about loading VSPackages and UI contexts, see Loading VSPackages. For this procedure, we'll show you how to load a VSPackage when a solution is open.

  1. Open the FirstPackage.cs file. Look for the declaration of the FirstPackage class. Replace the existing attributes with the following attributes:

    [PackageRegistration(UseManagedResourcesOnly = true)]
    [InstalledProductRegistration("#110", "#112", "1.0", IconResourceID = 400)] // Info on this package for Help/About
    public sealed class FirstPackage : Package
  2. Let's add a message that lets us know that the VSPackage has loaded. We use the VSPackage's Initialize() method to do this, because you can get Visual Studio services only after the VSPackage has been sited. (For more information about getting services, see How to: Get a service.) Replace the Initialize() method of FirstPackage with code that gets the SVsUIShell service, gets the IVsUIShell interface, and calls its ShowMessageBox method.

    protected override void Initialize()
        IVsUIShell uiShell = (IVsUIShell)GetService(typeof(SVsUIShell));
        Guid clsid = Guid.Empty;
        int result;
            ref clsid,
             string.Format(CultureInfo.CurrentCulture, "Inside {0}.Initialize()", this.GetType().FullName),
            out result));
  3. Build the project and start debugging. The experimental instance appears.

  4. Open a solution in the experimental instance. You should see a message box that says First Package Inside Initialize().