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How to: Invoke the Command-Line Compiler (Visual Basic)

You can invoke the command-line compiler by typing the name of its executable file into the command line, also known as the MS-DOS prompt. If you compile from the default Windows Command Prompt, you must type the fully qualified path to the executable file. To override this default behavior, you can either use the Visual Studio Command Prompt, or modify the PATH environment variable. Both allow you to compile from any directory by simply typing the compiler name.

NoteNote

Your computer might show different names or locations for some of the Visual Studio user interface elements in the following instructions. The Visual Studio edition that you have and the settings that you use determine these elements. For more information, see Customizing Development Settings.

To invoke the compiler using the Visual Studio Command Prompt

  1. Open the Visual Studio Tools program folder within the Microsoft Visual Studio program group.

  2. You can use the Visual Studio Command Prompt to access the compiler from any directory on your machine, if Visual Studio is installed.

  3. Invoke the Visual Studio Command Prompt.

  4. At the command line, type vbc.exe sourceFileName and then press ENTER.

    For example, if you stored your source code in a directory called SourceFiles, you would open the Command Prompt and type cd SourceFiles to change to that directory. If the directory contained a source file named Source.vb, you could compile it by typing vbc.exe Source.vb.

To set the PATH environment variable to the compiler for the Windows Command Prompt

  1. Use the Windows Search feature to find Vbc.exe on your local disk.

    The exact name of the directory where the compiler is located depends on the location of the Windows directory and the version of the .NET Compact Framework installed. If you have more than one version of the .NET Compact Framework installed, you must determine which version to use (typically the latest version).

  2. From your Start Menu, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties from the shortcut menu.

  3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Environment Variables.

  4. In the System variables pane, select Path from the list and click Edit.

  5. In the Edit System Variable dialog box, move the insertion point to the end of the string in the Variable Value field and type a semicolon (;) followed by the full directory name found in Step 1.

  6. Click OK to confirm your edits and close the dialog boxes.

    After you change the PATH environment variable, you can run the Visual Basic compiler at the Windows Command Prompt from any directory on the computer.

To invoke the compiler using the Windows Command Prompt

  1. From the Start menu, click on the Accessories folder, and then open the Windows Command Prompt.

  2. At the command line, type vbc.exe sourceFileName and then press ENTER.

    For example, if you stored your source code in a directory called SourceFiles, you would open the Command Prompt and type cd SourceFiles to change to that directory. If the directory contained a source file named Source.vb, you could compile it by typing vbc.exe Source.vb.

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