Connecting to Team Foundation Version Control


For the best version control experience on macOS, we recommend using Git instead of Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC). Git is supported in Visual Studio for Mac and is the default option for repositories hosted in Team Foundation Server (TFS)/Azure DevOps. To learn more about using Git with TFS/Azure DevOps, see the Setting up a Git Repository article.

Azure Repos provides two models of version control: Git, a distributed version control system, and Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC), a centralized version control system.

Visual Studio for Mac provides full support for Git repositories, but requires some workarounds to work with TFVC. If you're using TFVC for version control today, here are some solutions you can use to access your source code hosted in TFVC.

The rest of this article walks you through the options listed above.


  • Visual Studio Community, Professional, or Enterprise for Mac version 7.8 or later.
  • Azure DevOps Services, Team Foundation Server 2013 and later, or Azure DevOps Server 2018 and later.
  • A project in Azure DevOps Services or Team Foundation Server/Azure DevOps Server, configured to use Team Foundation Version Control.

Use Visual Studio Code and the Azure Repos extension

If you like to work with a graphical interface to manage your files in version control, then the Azure Repos extension for Visual Studio Code provides a supported solution from Microsoft. To get started, download Visual Studio Code and then learn how to configure the Azure Repos extension.

Connecting using the Team Explorer Everywhere Command Line Client

If you're comfortable using the macOS Terminal, then the Team Explorer Everywhere Command Line Client (TEE-CLC) provides a supported way to connect to your source in TFVC.

You can follow the steps below to set up your connection to TFVC and commit changes.

Special thanks to Chris Pilcher, a developer in our community, whose original instructions for the TEE-CLC formed the basis of this section.

Setting up the TEE-CLC

There are two ways to get setup with the TEE-CLC.

  • Use Homebrew to install the client, or
  • Download and manually install the client

The easiest solution is using HomeBrew, which is a package manager for macOS. To install using this method:

  1. Launch the macOS Terminal application.
  2. Install Homebrew using the Terminal and the instructions on the Homebrew home page.
  3. Once Homebrew is installed, run the following command from your Terminal: brew install tee-clc

To setup the TEE-CLC manually:

  1. Download the latest version of the tee-clc from the releases page of the Team Explorer Everywhere GitHub repo (e.g. at the time of this writing).
  2. Extract the content of the .zip to a folder on disk.
  3. Open the macOS Terminal app and use the cd command to switch to the folder you used in the previous step.
  4. From within the folder, run the command ./tf to test that the command line client can run, you may be prompted to install Java or other dependencies.

Once the TEE-CLC is installed, you can run the command tf eula to view and accept the license agreement for the client.

Finally, to authenticate with your TFS/Azure DevOps environment, you'll need to create a personal access token on the server. Learn more about authenticating with personal access tokens. When creating a personal access token to use with TFVC, be sure to provide Full Access when configuring the token.

Using the TEE-CLC to connect to your repo

To connect to your source code, you first need to create a workspace using the tf workspace command. For example, the following commands connect to an Organization in Azure DevOps Services called "MyOrganization":

tf workspace -new MyWorkspace -collection:

The TF_AUTO_SAVE_CREDENTIALS environment setting is used to save your credentials so you aren't prompted to enter them multiple times. When prompted for a user name, use the personal access token you created in the previous section and use a blank password.

Now, to create a mapping of your source files to a local folder, you'll use the tf workfold command. The following example will map a folder named "WebApp.Services" from the "MyRepository" TFVC project and set it up to be copied into the local ~/Projects/ folder (i.e. a "Projects" folder in the current users's home folder).

tf workfold -map $/MyRepository/WebApp.Services -workspace:MyWorkspace ~/Projects/

Finally, you use the following command to get the source files from the server and copy them locally:

tf get

Committing changes using the TEE-CLC

After you've made changes to your files in Visual Studio for Mac, you can switch back to the Terminal to check in your edits. The tf add command is used to add files to the list of pending changes to be checked-in and the tf checkin command performs the actual check-in to the server. The checkin command includes parameters to add a comment or associate a related work item. In the following code snippet, all files in a WebApp.Services folder are added, recursively, to the checkin. Then, the code is checked in with a comment and associated with a work item with the ID "42".

cd WebApp.Services
tf add * /recursive
tf checkin -comment:"Replaced 'Northwand' typos with the correct word Northwind" -associate:42

To learn more about the commands mentioned here, or others, you can use the following command from the Terminal:

tf help

Connect to TFVC using the Team Foundation Version Control extension


For the best version control experience on macOS, we recommend using Git instead of Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC). Git is supported in Visual Studio for Mac and is the default option for repositories hosted in Team Foundation Server (TFS)/Azure DevOps. To learn more about using Git with TFS/Azure DevOps, see the Setting up a Git Repository article.

In the Visual Studio for Mac Extension gallery, there is a Team Foundation Version control extension that offers limited support to connect to TFVC. The extension is not supported and has several known issues, so your experience may vary when using it.

To install the extension, launch Visual Studio for Mac and choose the Visual Studio > Extensions menu. In the Gallery tab, select Version Control > Team Foundation Version Control for TFS and Azure DevOps and click Install...:

Extension manager

Follow the prompts to install the extension. Once it's installed, restart the IDE.

Updating the extension

Updates to the TFVC extension are made periodically. To access updates, choose Visual Studio > Extensions... from the menu and select the Updates tab. Select the extension in the list and press the Update button:

Press Install on the next dialog to uninstall the old package and install the new one.

Using the extension

Once the extension is installed, select the Version Control > TFS/Azure DevOps > Open from Remote Repository... menu item.

Menu item to open the extension

Choose either VSTS or Team Foundation Server to get started and press Continue:

Connect with a Server

Azure Repos Authentication

When you select a project that is hosted on Azure Repos, you're prompted to enter your Microsoft account details:

Connect with Azure Repos

TFS Authentication

To connect to TFS, enter the server details and your account credentials. Enter a domain to use NTLM authentication, otherwise leave blank to use basic authentication. Select Add Server:

Sign in to a TFS Server

Selecting a project

Once you've successfully authenticated, you can see a list of repositories that are associated with the account in the Open from Source Control dialog:

Open from Source Control dialog with projects displayed

This dialog is organized with the following nodes:

  • Azure DevOps organization or collection – This displays all organizations connected to the Microsoft account you logged in with.
  • Projects - In each organization or collection, you can have a number of projects. A project is where source code, work items, and automated builds are hosted.

At this point, you can search and filter by the name of a project or organization.

Adding a new server

To add a new server to the list, press the Add Host button on the Open from Source Control dialog:

Highlighted add button to add new server to the list

Select the provider from the list, and enter your credentials:

Dialog showing option for source control provider

Creating a new workspace

To start working with a project, you need to have a workspace. If you don't already have a workspace, you can create one from the Workspace combobox in the Open from Source Control dialog:

Create new workspace combobox option

Set the name and local path for your new workspace and select Create Workspace:

Entering a name and local path for the new workspace

Using the Source Code Explorer

Once you've created a workspace and mapped your project, you can start working with the Source Code Explorer.

To open the Source Code Explorer, select the Version Control > TFS/Azure DevOps > Source Control Explorer menu item.

The Source Code Explorer enables you to navigate through all the mapped projects, their files, and folders. It also allows you to perform all the basic source control actions such as:

  • Get the latest version
  • Get a specific version
  • Check files in and out
  • Lock and unlock files
  • Add, delete, and rename files
  • View history
  • Compare changes.

Many of these actions are available through context actions on the project:

Context menu actions for a project

Managing workspaces

If you haven't already created a workspace, as described in the Creating a workspace section, you'll notice that the Source Code Explorer is empty:

empty source code explorer

To set up your remote project with a local workspace, use the following steps:

  1. Select the Server from the combobox.

  2. Note that there are "no workspaces" and that the Local Path is "Not Mapped". Select the Not Mapped link to display the Create new Workspace dialog.

  3. Provide a name for the workspace and then click Add Working Folder to map the project to a local folder on your computer:

    Create a new workspace dialog showing default options

  4. Select the "$" folder to map all projects on your server to the same workspace, or select an individual project, and click OK:

    Browse for folder dialog showing all projects

  5. Select the location on your local machine that you wish to map the project(s) to and click Select Folder.

  6. Confirm the details of the new workspace by pressing OK

    Create new workspace dialog with working folder added

Once your workspace is set up, it can be changed or removed by clicking the Manage Workspaces button in the Source Code Explorer.

Manage Workspaces

Troubleshooting and Known Issues

Problems using basic authentication

The following options can be used to authenticate with a server:

  • Oauth
  • Basic
  • Ntlm

To use basic authentication it is necessary to enable Alternative authentication credentials in Azure DevOps Services, by following the steps below:

  1. Sign in to your Azure DevOps organization as the owner ({organization}/{project}).

  2. From your organization toolbar, select the gear icon and select Policy:

    Policy settings option selected

  3. Review your application connection settings. Change these settings, based on your security policies:

    Policy settings option selected

I do not see anything in TFVC

To set up Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) on your dev machine, you must create a workspace, as described in the Managing workspaces section.

In Source Control Explorer, press the Manage Workspaces Button. Follow the steps to map the project to a folder on your dev machine.

I do not see any / all of my projects

After authenticating you should see the list of projects. By default, only TFS projects are shown. To see other types of projects, check the "See all projects" box.

Keep in mind that projects that are on the server will not appear if you don't have the correct privileges.

I am getting the error "Cannot create the workspace. Please, try again"

When trying to create a new workspace, you should make sure the following conditions are met:

  • No use of invalid characters in the workspace name.
  • The name must be less than 64 characters.
  • The local path cannot be used by any other workspaces.

See also