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How to: Share Settings Between Computers or Visual Studio Versions

You can export settings for the editor, projects, debugging, fonts and colors, and other IDE areas to a file that you can import and use on another computer, such as your second development computer or a coworker's computer. You can also migrate settings from an earlier version of Visual Studio for use in another Visual Studio release.

You can choose to export all or some of your current settings to a .vssettings file that you can use on a second computer or share with other developers. For example, you can choose to export only your shortcut key combinations and your editor settings.

To export settings

  1. On the Tools menu, click Import and Export Settings.

  2. On Welcome to the Import and Export Settings Wizard page, click Export selected environment settings and then click Next.

  3. In Which settings do you want to export?, select the settings categories you intend to export and then click Next.

    NoteNote:

    Some settings categories can contain information about you or your computer that could be a security issue. These settings categories are identified by a yellow and black warning icon.

  4. In What do you want to name your settings file, type a name for the settings file.

  5. If you want to save the file in a different location, click Browse or enter a new path for Store my settings file in this directory.

  6. Click Finish.

  7. On the Export Complete page, review any errors associated with exporting your settings under Details.

After you have created a .vssettings file, you can then use this file on other computers by importing this file into another installation of Visual Studio. You can also import settings files created by others and apply those settings to Visual Studio.

If the settings file that you are importing contains all possible settings categories, importing this file overrides your existing settings. If a settings file contains only a subset of the settings categories, importing the file only applies those categories and does not affect your current settings for categories not imported.

NoteNote:

If you import settings from another version or edition of Visual Studio, some settings may not migrate. For example, if you try to migrate settings from a Visual Studio Team System edition to a Visual Studio Professional edition, not all settings would migrate because the Professional edition does not have the same features. Similarly, if a settings category has changed between releases, trying to migrate settings related to the changed category may not work.

For example, a developer on your team has exported all his settings to a file so that others on the team can use it. If you only want to apply the Fonts and Colors settings and the Keyboard settings from that file, you can clear all other settings categories and just apply the selected settings without changing your current settings for the remaining categories.

To import settings

  1. On the Tools menu, click Import and Export Settings.

  2. On Welcome to the Import and Export Settings Wizard page, click Import selected environment settings and then click Next.

  3. On Save Current Settings, select Yes, save my current settings to create a backup of your current IDE customizations; select No, just import new settings, overwriting my current settings to continue without backing up your current IDE customizations.

  4. In What collection of settings do you want to import?, select a file from the list or click Browse to locate a settings file, and then click Next.

  5. In Which settings do you want to import?, select the options settings that you intend to import from the selected .vssettings file.

    NoteNote:

    Some settings categories can contain information that could be a security issue. These settings categories are identified by a yellow and black warning icon.

  6. Click Finish.

  7. In the Save Current Settings dialog box, decide whether to save your current settings.

  8. On the Import Complete page, review any errors associated with importing the settings under Details.

Instead of creating a copy of your current settings and then using that copy on another computer, you can share a single .vssettings file on a network share. This technique can be useful if you want exactly the same customizations available at all times on multiple computers.

When you share a single .vssettings file on multiple computers, any customizations that you make, regardless of which computer that you make them on, are saved to the .vssettings file. For example, if you close the Task List on one computer, the next time that you start Visual Studio on the other computers, the Task List will not appear.

To share a single settings file between computers

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options

  2. In the Environment folder, select Import and Export Settings.

  3. In Automatically save my settings to this file, enter a shared directory or click Browse to locate a network share.

  4. Click OK.

  5. On the second computer, repeat steps 1-4.

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