How to: Create multi-file item templates

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

Item templates may only specify one item, but sometimes the item is made up of multiple files. For example, a Windows Forms item template requires the following three files:

  • A file that contains the code for the form

  • A file that contains the designer information for the form

  • A file that contains the embedded resources for the form

Multi-file item templates require parameters to ensure that the correct file extensions are used when the item is created. If you create a multi-file item template by using the Export Template Wizard, these parameters are automatically generated, and no further editing is required.

Use the Export Template Wizard

You can create a multi-file item template in the same manner as you would a single-file item template. See How to: Create item templates. On the Select Item To Export page of the wizard, select the file that has dependent files (for example, a Windows Forms form file). The wizard automatically includes any dependent files, such as designer and resource files, in the template.

Manually create a multi-file item template

  1. Create the item template as you would manually create a single-file item template, but include each file that constitutes the multi-file item.

  2. In the .vstemplate XML file, add a ProjectItem element for each individual file, and add a TargetFileName attribute to this element. Set the value of the TargetFileName attribute to $fileinputname$.FileExtension, where FileExtension is the file extension of the file that is being included in the template. For example:

    <ProjectItem TargetFileName="$fileinputname$.vb">
        Form1.vb
    </ProjectItem>
    <ProjectItem TargetFileName="$fileinputname$.Designer.vb">
        Form1.Designer.vb
    </ProjectItem>
    <ProjectItem TargetFileName="$fileinputname$.resx">
        Form1.resx
    </ProjectItem>
    

    Note

    When an item derived from this template is added to a project, the file names will derive from the name that the user enters in the Add New Item dialog box.

  3. Select the files to be included in your template, right-click the selection, and choose Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder.

    The files that you selected are compressed into a .zip file.

  4. Copy the .zip file to the user item template location. By default, the directory is %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Visual Studio <Version>\Templates\ItemTemplates. For more information, see How to: Locate and organize templates.

  5. Close Visual Studio and then reopen it.

  6. Create a new project, or open an existing project, and then choose Project > Add New Item or press Ctrl+Shift+A.

    The multi-file item template appears in the Add New Item dialog box.

Example

The following example shows a Windows Forms template. When an item is created based on this template, the names of the three files created will match the name entered in the Add New Item dialog box.

<VSTemplate Version="2.0.0" Type="Item"
    xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/vstemplate/2005">
    <TemplateData>
        <Name>Multi-file Item Template</Name>
        <Icon>Icon.ico</Icon>
        <Description>An example of a multi-file item template</Description>
        <ProjectType>VisualBasic</ProjectType>
    </TemplateData>
    <TemplateContent>
        <ProjectItem TargetFileName="$fileinputname$.vb" SubType="Form">
            Form1.vb
        </ProjectItem>
        <ProjectItem TargetFileName="$fileinputname$.Designer.vb">
            Form1.Designer.vb
        </ProjectItem>
        <ProjectItem TargetFileName="$fileinputname$.resx">
            Form1.resx
        </ProjectItem>
    </TemplateContent>
</VSTemplate>

See also