Common MSBuild project properties

The following table lists frequently used properties that are defined in the Visual Studio project files or included in .targets files that MSBuild provides.

Project files in Visual Studio (.csproj, .vbproj, .vcxproj, and others) contain MSBuild XML code that runs when you build a project by using the IDE. Projects typically import one or more .targets files to define their build process. For more information, see MSBuild .targets files.

List of common properties and parameters

Property or parameter name Project types Description
AdditionalLibPaths .NET Specifies additional folders in which compilers should look for reference assemblies.
AddModules .NET Causes the compiler to make all type information from the specified files available to the project you are compiling. This property is equivalent to the /addModules compiler switch.
ALToolPath .NET The path where AL.exe can be found. This property overrides the current version of AL.exe to enable use of a different version.
ApplicationIcon .NET The .ico icon file to pass to the compiler for embedding as a Win32 icon. The property is equivalent to the /win32icon compiler switch.
ApplicationManifest All Specifies the path of the file that is used to generate external User Account Control (UAC) manifest information. Applies only to Visual Studio projects targeting Windows Vista.

In most cases, the manifest is embedded. However, if you use Registration Free COM or ClickOnce deployment, then the manifest can be an external file that is installed together with your application assemblies. For more information, see the NoWin32Manifest property in this topic.
AssemblyOriginatorKeyFile .NET Specifies the file that's used to sign the assembly (.snk or .pfx) and that's passed to the ResolveKeySource task to generate the actual key that's used to sign the assembly.
AssemblySearchPaths .NET A list of locations to search during build-time reference assembly resolution. The order in which paths appear in this list is meaningful because paths listed earlier takes precedence over later entries.
AssemblyName .NET The name of the final output assembly after the project is built.
BaseAddress .NET Specifies the base address of the main output assembly. This property is equivalent to the /baseaddress compiler switch.
BaseIntermediateOutputPath All The top-level folder where all configuration-specific intermediate output folders are created. The default value is obj\. The following code is an example: <BaseIntermediateOutputPath>c:\xyz\obj\</BaseIntermediateOutputPath>
BaseOutputPath All Specifies the base path for the output file. If it is set, MSBuild will use OutputPath = $(BaseOutputPath)\$(Configuration)\. Example syntax: <BaseOutputPath>c:\xyz\bin\</BaseOutputPath>
BuildInParallel All A boolean value that indicates whether project references are built or cleaned in parallel when Multi-Proc MSBuild is used. The default value is true, which means that projects will be built in parallel if the system has multiple cores or processors.
BuildProjectReferences All A boolean value that indicates whether project references are built by MSBuild. Automatically set to false if you are building your project in the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE), true if otherwise. -p:BuildProjectReferences=false can be specified on the command line to avoid checking that referenced projects are up to date.
CleanFile All The name of the file that will be used as the "clean cache." The clean cache is a list of generated files to be deleted during the cleaning operation. The file is put in the intermediate output path by the build process.

This property specifies only file names that do not have path information.
CodePage .NET Specifies the code page to use for all source-code files in the compilation. This property is equivalent to the /codepage compiler switch.
CompilerResponseFile .NET An optional response file that can be passed to the compiler tasks.
Configuration All The configuration that you are building, generally Debug or Release, but configurable at the solution and project levels.
CscToolPath C# The path of csc.exe, the C# compiler.
CustomBeforeMicrosoftCommonTargets All The name of a project file or targets file that is to be imported automatically before the common targets import.
DebugSymbols All A boolean value that indicates whether symbols are generated by the build.

Setting -p:DebugSymbols=false on the command line disables generation of program database (.pdb) symbol files.
DebugType All Defines the level of debug information that you want generated. Valid values are "full," "pdbonly," "portable", "embedded", and "none."
DefineConstants .NET Defines conditional compiler constants. Symbol/value pairs are separated by semicolons and are specified by using the following syntax:

symbol1 = value1 ; symbol2 = value2

The property is equivalent to the /define compiler switch.
DefineDebug All A boolean value that indicates whether you want the DEBUG constant defined.
DefineTrace All A boolean value that indicates whether you want the TRACE constant defined.
DelaySign .NET A boolean value that indicates whether you want to delay-sign the assembly rather than full-sign it.
Deterministic .NET A boolean value that indicates whether the compiler should produce identical assemblies for identical inputs. This parameter corresponds to the /deterministic switch of the compilers.
DisableFastUpToDateCheck All A boolean value that applies to Visual Studio only. The Visual Studio build manager uses a process called FastUpToDateCheck to determine whether a project must be rebuilt to be up to date. This process is faster than using MSBuild to determine this. Setting the DisableFastUpToDateCheck property to true lets you bypass the Visual Studio build manager and force it to use MSBuild to determine whether the project is up to date.
DocumentationFile .NET The name of the file that is generated as the XML documentation file. This name includes only the file name and has no path information.
ErrorReport .NET Specifies how the compiler task should report internal compiler errors. Valid values are "prompt," "send," or "none." This property is equivalent to the /errorreport compiler switch.
ExcludeDeploymentUrl .NET The GenerateDeploymentManifest task adds a deploymentProvider tag to the deployment manifest if the project file includes any of the following elements:

- UpdateUrl
- InstallUrl
- PublishUrl

Using ExcludeDeploymentUrl, however, you can prevent the deploymentProvider tag from being added to the deployment manifest even if any of the above URLs are specified. To do this, add the following property to your project file:

<ExcludeDeploymentUrl>true</ExcludeDeploymentUrl>

Note: ExcludeDeploymentUrl is not exposed in the Visual Studio IDE and can be set only by manually editing the project file. Setting this property does not affect publishing within Visual Studio; that is, the deploymentProvider tag will still be added to the URL specified by PublishUrl.
FileAlignment .NET Specifies, in bytes, where to align the sections of the output file. Valid values are 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192. This property is equivalent to the /filealignment compiler switch.
FrameworkPathOverride Visual Basic Specifies the location of mscorlib.dll and microsoft.visualbasic.dll. This parameter is equivalent to the /sdkpath switch of the vbc.exe compiler.
GenerateDocumentation .NET A boolean parameter that indicates whether documentation is generated by the build. If true, the build generates documentation information and puts it in an .xml file together with the name of the executable file or library that the build task created.
GenerateFullPaths C# Generate full paths for filenames in output by using the -fullpaths compiler option.
GenerateSerializationAssemblies .NET Indicates whether XML serialization assemblies should be generated by SGen.exe, which can be set to on, auto, or off. This property is used for assemblies that target .NET Framework only. To generate XML serialization assemblies for .NET Standard or .NET Core assemblies, reference the Microsoft.XmlSerializer.Generator NuGet package.
IntermediateOutputPath All The full intermediate output path as derived from BaseIntermediateOutputPath, if no path is specified. For example, \obj\debug\.
KeyContainerName All The name of the strong-name key container.
KeyOriginatorFile All The name of the strong-name key file.
ModuleAssemblyName .NET The name of the assembly that the compiled module is to be incorporated into. The property is equivalent to the /moduleassemblyname compiler switch.
MSBuildProjectExtensionsPath All Specifies the path where project extensions are located. By default, this takes the same value as BaseIntermediateOutputPath.
NoLogo All A boolean value that indicates whether you want compiler logo to be turned off. This property is equivalent to the /nologo compiler switch.
NoStdLib .NET A boolean value that indicates whether to avoid referencing the standard library (mscorlib.dll). The default value is false.
NoVBRuntimeReference Visual Basic A boolean value that indicates whether the Visual Basic runtime (Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll) should be included as a reference in the project.
NoWarn .NET Suppresses the specified warnings. Only the numeric part of the warning identifier must be specified. Multiple warnings are separated by semicolons. This parameter corresponds to the /nowarn switch of the compilers.
NoWin32Manifest .NET A boolean value that indicates whether User Account Control (UAC) manifest information will be embedded in the application's executable. Applies only to Visual Studio projects targeting Windows Vista. In projects deployed using ClickOnce and Registration-Free COM, this element is ignored. False (the default value) specifies that User Account Control (UAC) manifest information be embedded in the application's executable. True specifies that UAC manifest information not be embedded.

This property applies only to Visual Studio projects targeting Windows Vista. In projects deployed using ClickOnce and Registration-Free COM, this property is ignored.

You should add NoWin32Manifest only if you do not want Visual Studio to embed any manifest information in the application's executable; this process is called virtualization. To use virtualization, set <ApplicationManifest> in conjunction with <NoWin32Manifest> as follows:

- For Visual Basic projects, remove the <ApplicationManifest> node. (In Visual Basic projects, <NoWin32Manifest> is ignored when an <ApplicationManifest> node exists.)
- For C# projects, set <ApplicationManifest> to False and <NoWin32Manifest> to True. (In C# projects, <ApplicationManifest> overrides <NoWin32Manifest>.)
This property is equivalent to the /nowin32manifest compiler switch of vbc.exe.
Optimize .NET A boolean value that when set to true, enables compiler optimizations. This property is equivalent to the /optimize compiler switch.
OptionCompare VisualBasic Specifies how string comparisons are made. Valid values are "binary" or "text." This property is equivalent to the /optioncompare compiler switch of vbc.exe.
OptionExplicit Visual Basic A boolean value that when set to true, requires explicit declaration of variables in the source code. This property is equivalent to the /optionexplicit compiler switch.
OptionInfer Visual Basic A boolean value that when set to true, enables type inference of variables. This property is equivalent to the /optioninfer compiler switch.
OptionStrict Visual Basic A boolean value that when set to true, causes the build task to enforce strict type semantics to restrict implicit type conversions. This property is equivalent to the /optionstrict switch of the vbc.exe compiler.
OutDir All Indicates the final output location for the project or solution. When building a solution, OutDir can be used to gather multiple project outputs in one location. In addition, OutDir is included in AssemblySearchPaths used for resolving references. For example, bin\Debug.
OutputPath All Specifies the path to the output directory, relative to the project directory, for example, bin\Debug.
OutputType All Specifies the file format of the output file. This parameter can have one of the following values:

- Library. Creates a code library. (Default value.)
- Exe. Creates a console application.
- Module. Creates a module.
- Winexe. Creates a Windows-based program.

For C# and Visual Basic, this property is equivalent to the /target switch.
OverwriteReadOnlyFiles All A boolean value that indicates whether you want to enable the build to overwrite read-only files or trigger an error.
PathMap .NET Specifies how to map physical paths to source path names output by the compiler. This property is equivalent to the /pathmap switch of the compilers.
PdbFile .NET The file name of the .pdb file that you are emitting. This property is equivalent to the /pdb switch of the csc.exe compiler.
Platform All The operating system you are building for. Examples for .NET Framework builds are "Any CPU", "x86", and "x64".
ProcessorArchitecture .NET The processor architecture that is used when assembly references are resolved. Valid values are "msil," "x86," "amd64," or "ia64."
ProduceOnlyReferenceAssembly .NET A boolean value that instructs the compiler to emit only a reference assembly rather than compiled code. Cannot be used in conjunction with ProduceReferenceAssembly. This property corresponds to the /refonly switch of the vbc.exe and csc.exe compilers.
ProduceReferenceAssembly .NET A boolean value that when set to true enables production of reference assemblies for the current assembly. Deterministic should be true when using this feature. This property corresponds to the /refout switch of the vbc.exe and csc.exe compilers.
RemoveIntegerChecks Visual Basic A boolean value that indicates whether to disable integer overflow error checks. The default value is false. This property is equivalent to the /removeintchecks switch of the vbc.exe compiler.
RootNamespace All The root namespace to use when you name an embedded resource. This namespace is part of the embedded resource manifest name.
Satellite_AlgorithmId .NET The ID of the AL.exe hashing algorithm to use when satellite assemblies are created.
Satellite_BaseAddress .NET The base address to use when culture-specific satellite assemblies are built by using the CreateSatelliteAssemblies target.
Satellite_CompanyName .NET The company name to pass into AL.exe during satellite assembly generation.
Satellite_Configuration .NET The configuration name to pass into AL.exe during satellite assembly generation.
Satellite_Description .NET The description text to pass into AL.exe during satellite assembly generation.
Satellite_EvidenceFile .NET Embeds the specified file in the satellite assembly that has the resource name "Security.Evidence."
Satellite_FileVersion .NET Specifies a string for the File Version field in the satellite assembly.
Satellite_Flags .NET Specifies a value for the Flags field in the satellite assembly.
Satellite_GenerateFullPaths .NET Causes the build task to use absolute paths for any files reported in an error message.
Satellite_LinkResource .NET Links the specified resource files to a satellite assembly.
Satellite_MainEntryPoint .NET Specifies the fully-qualified name (that is, class.method) of the method to use as an entry point when a module is converted to an executable file during satellite assembly generation.
Satellite_ProductName .NET Specifies a string for the Product field in the satellite assembly.
Satellite_ProductVersion .NET Specifies a string for the ProductVersion field in the satellite assembly.
Satellite_TargetType .NET Specifies the file format of the satellite assembly output file as "library," "exe," or "win." The default value is "library."
Satellite_Title .NET Specifies a string for the Title field in the satellite assembly.
Satellite_Trademark .NET Specifies a string for the Trademark field in the satellite assembly.
Satellite_Version .NET Specifies the version information for the satellite assembly.
Satellite_Win32Icon .NET Inserts an .ico icon file in the satellite assembly.
Satellite_Win32Resource .NET Inserts a Win32 resource (.res file) into the satellite assembly.
SGenToolPath .NET An optional tool path that indicates where to obtain SGen.exe when the current version of SGen.exe is overridden.
SGenUseProxyTypes .NET A boolean value that indicates whether proxy types should be generated by SGen.exe. This applies only when GenerateSerializationAssemblies is set to on.

The SGen target uses this property to set the UseProxyTypes flag. This property defaults to true, and there is no UI to change this. To generate the serialization assembly for non-webservice types, add this property to the project file and set it to false before importing the Microsoft.Common.Targets or the C#/VB.targets.
SkipInvalidConfigurations All When true, generate a warning on invalid platform and configuration combinations, but do not fail the build; when false or undefined (the default), generate an error.
StartupObject .NET Specifies the class or module that contains the Main method or Sub Main procedure. This property is equivalent to the /main compiler switch.
SubsystemVersion .NET Specifies the minimum version of the subsystem that the generated executable file can use. This property is equivalent to the /subsystemversion compiler switch. For information about the default value of this property, see /subsystemversion (Visual Basic) or /subsystemversion (C# compiler options).
TargetCompactFramework .NET The version of the .NET Compact Framework that is required to run the application that you are building. Specifying this lets you reference certain framework assemblies that you may not be able to reference otherwise.
TargetFrameworkVersion .NET The version of the .NET Framework that is required to run the application that you are building. Specifying this lets you reference certain framework assemblies that you may not be able to reference otherwise.
TreatWarningsAsErrors .NET A boolean parameter that, if true, causes all warnings to be treated as errors. This parameter is equivalent to the /nowarn compiler switch.
UseHostCompilerIfAvailable .NET A boolean parameter that, if true, causes the build task to use the in-process compiler object, if it is available. This parameter is used only by Visual Studio.
Utf8Output .NET A boolean parameter that, if true, logs compiler output by using UTF-8 encoding. This parameter is equivalent to the /utf8Output compiler switch.
VbcToolPath Visual Basic An optional path that indicates another location for vbc.exe when the current version of vbc.exe is overridden.
VbcVerbosity Visual Basic Specifies the verbosity of the Visual Basic compiler's output. Valid values are "Quiet," "Normal" (the default value), or "Verbose."
VisualStudioVersion All Specifies the version of Visual Studio under which this project should be considered to be running. If this property isn't specified, MSBuild sets it to a reasonable default value.

This property is used in several project types to specify the set of targets that are used for the build. If ToolsVersion is set to 4.0 or higher for a project, VisualStudioVersion is used to specify which sub-toolset to use. For more information, see Toolset (ToolsVersion).
WarningsAsErrors .NET Specifies a list of warnings to treat as errors. This parameter is equivalent to the /warnaserror compiler switch.
WarningsNotAsErrors .NET Specifies a list of warnings that are not treated as errors. This parameter is equivalent to the /warnaserror compiler switch.
Win32Manifest .NET The name of the manifest file that should be embedded in the final assembly. This parameter is equivalent to the /win32Manifest compiler switch.
Win32Resource .NET The file name of the Win32 resource to be embedded in the final assembly. This parameter is equivalent to the /win32resource compiler switch.

See also