Build Items

Build items control how a Xamarin.Android application or library project is built.


Supports Android Assets, files that would be included in the assets folder in a Java Android project.


The Build action of AndroidAarLibrary should be used to directly reference .aar files. This build action will be most commonly used by Xamarin Components. Namely to include references to .aar files which are required to get Google Play and other services working.

Files with this Build action will be treated in a similar fashion to the embedded resources found in Library projects. The .aar will be extracted into the intermediate directory. Then any assets, resource and .jar files will be included in the appropriate item groups.


Used to provide an AOT profile, for use with profile-guided AOT.


Indicates that the layout file is to have code-behind generated for it in case when the AndroidGenerateLayoutBindings property is set to false. In all other aspects it is identical to AndroidResource described above. This action can be used only with layout files:

<AndroidBoundLayout Include="Resources\layout\Main.axml" />


Files with a Build action of AndroidEnvironment are used to initialize environment variables and system properties during process startup. The AndroidEnvironment Build action may be applied to multiple files, and they will be evaluated in no particular order (so don't specify the same environment variable or system property in multiple files).


Specifies the default fully qualified type to be used for all <fragment> layout elements when generating the layout bindings code. The property defaults to the standard Android Android.App.Fragment type.


Files with a Build action of AndroidJavaLibrary are Java Archives ( .jar files) which will be included in the final Android package.


Files with a Build action of AndroidJavaSource are Java source code which will be included in the final Android package.


The Build action 'AndroidLintConfig' should be used in conjunction with the $(AndroidLintEnabled) property. Files with this build action will be merged together and passed to the android lint tooling. They should be XML files which contain information on which tests to enable and disable.

See the lint documentation for more details.


Native libraries are added to the build by setting their Build action to AndroidNativeLibrary.

Note that since Android supports multiple Application Binary Interfaces (ABIs), the build system must know which ABI the native library is built for. There are two ways this can be done:

  1. Path "sniffing".
  2. Using the Abi item attribute.

With path sniffing, the parent directory name of the native library is used to specify the ABI that the library targets. Thus, if you add lib/armeabi-v7a/ to the build, then the ABI will be "sniffed" as armeabi-v7a.

Item Attribute Name

Abi – Specifies the ABI of the native library.

  <AndroidNativeLibrary Include="path/to/">


All files with an AndroidResource build action are compiled into Android resources during the build process and made accessible via $(AndroidResgenFile).

  <AndroidResource Include="Resources\values\strings.xml" />

More advanced users might perhaps wish to have different resources used in different configurations but with the same effective path. This can be achieved by having multiple resource directories and having files with the same relative paths within these different directories, and using MSBuild conditions to conditionally include different files in different configurations. For example:

<ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)'!='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources\values\strings.xml" />
<ItemGroup  Condition="'$(Configuration)'=='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources-Debug\values\strings.xml"/>

LogicalName – Specifies the resource path explicitly. Allows “aliasing” files so that they will be available as multiple distinct resource names.

<ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)'!='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources/values/strings.xml"/>
<ItemGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)'=='Debug'">
  <AndroidResource Include="Resources-Debug/values/strings.xml">


The Build action AndroidResourceAnalysisConfig marks a file as a severity level configuration file for the Xamarin Android Designer layout diagnostics tool. This is currently only used in the layout editor and not for build messages.

See the Android Resource Analysis documentation for more details.

Added in Xamarin.Android 10.2.


The normal Content Build action is not supported (as we haven't figured out how to support it without a possibly costly first-run step).

Starting in Xamarin.Android 5.1, attempting to use the @(Content) Build action will result in a XA0101 warning.


Files with a LinkDescription build action are used to control linker behavior.


Files with a ProguardConfiguration build action contain options which are used to control proguard behavior. For more information about this build action, see ProGuard.

These files are ignored unless the $(EnableProguard) MSBuild property is True.