Open multiple solutions or instances of Visual Studio for Mac

By default, all applications on a Mac, including Visual Studio for Mac, are single-instance apps. This means that if the application you want to use is already open (illustrated by a dot under the icon in the dock), selecting the icon again opens the running instance, rather than a new one. If you require additional instances of the application, you can prompt the system to open it for you, as described in the next section.

In addition, when you open a solution, the default behavior is to open the solution in a new workspace and close the current workspace (if necessary). You can override this default behavior by keeping the current workspace open, as described in the Open a second solution section.

Open a second instance of Visual Studio for Mac

To open a second instance of the integrated development environment (IDE), right-click on the Visual Studio icon in your dock or Applications folder, and select New Instance.

Screenshot of New Instance menu option on right-clicked Visual Studio icon

Open a second solution inside a single instance

To open a second solution alongside your first solution, use the following steps:

  1. With your first solution already open, select File > Open.

  2. Browse the file system to find the existing solution.

  3. Select the .sln file, and select Options:

    Screenshot of Visual Studio for Mac, with the .sln file and Options highlighted

  4. Clear the Close current workspace box:

    Screenshot of Options dialog box, with Close current workspace box cleared

  5. Select Open to open the second solution in the Solution Pad.

Alternatively, if you've recently opened the solution, you can use the following steps:

  1. Go to File > Recent Solutions.

    Screenshot of Recent Solutions menu

  2. Hold down the Ctrl key and select the solution. This combination opens the second solution in the Solution Pad.