This article applies to Visual Studio 2015. If you're looking for the latest Visual Studio documentation, use the version selector at the top left. We recommend upgrading to Visual Studio 2019. Download it here
The Output window can display status messages for various features in the integrated development environment (IDE). To open the Output window, on the menu bar, choose View/Output (or click CTRL + ALT + O).
The Output window does not appear on the View menu in Visual Studio Express editions. To bring it up, use the hotkey CTRL + ALT + O.
Show output from Displays one or more output panes to view. Several panes of information might be available, depending on which tools in the IDE have used the Output window to deliver messages to the user.
Find Message in Code Moves the insertion point in the code editor to the line that contains the selected build error.
Go to Previous Message Changes the focus in the Output window to the previous build error and moves the insertion point in the code editor to the line that contains that build error.
Go to Next Message Changes the focus in the Output window to the next build error and moves the insertion point in the code editor to the line that contains that build error.
Clear all Clears all text from the Output pane.
Toggle Word Wrap Turns the Word Wrap feature on and off in the Output pane. When Word Wrap is on, text in longer entries that extends beyond the viewing area is displayed on the following line.
The Output pane selected in the Show output from list displays output from the source indicated.
Routing Messages to the Output Window
To display the Output window whenever you build a project, in the General, Projects and Solutions, Options dialog box, select Show Output window when build starts. Then, with a code file open for editing, choose the Go to Next Message and Go To Previous Message buttons on the Output window toolbar to select entries in the Output pane. As you do this, the insertion point in the code editor jumps to the line of code where the selected problem occurs.
Certain IDE features and commands invoked in the Command Window deliver their output to the Output window. Output from external tools such as .bat and .com files, which is typically displayed in the Command Prompt window, is routed to an Output pane when you select the Use Output Window option in the Managing External Tools. Many other kinds of messages can be displayed in Output panes as well. For example, when Transact-SQL syntax in a stored procedure is checked against a target database, the results are displayed in the Output window.
You can also program your own applications to write diagnostic messages at run time to an Output pane. To do this, use members of the Debug class or Trace class in the System.Diagnostics namespace of the .NET Framework Class Library. Members of the Debug class display output when you build Debug configurations of your solution or project; members of the Trace class display output when you build either Debug or Release configurations. For more information, see Diagnostic Messages in the Output Window.
In Visual C++, you can create custom build steps and build events whose warnings and errors are displayed and counted in the Output pane. By pressing F1 on a line of output, you can display an appropriate help topic. For more information, see Formatting the Output of a Custom Build Step or Build Event.
If you use autoscrolling in the Output window and then navigate by using the mouse or arrow keys, autoscrolling stops. To resume autoscrolling, press CTRL+END.