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Exploring Your Solution: Using Solution Explorer

Solution Explorer is an area of the integrated development environment (IDE) that contains your solution and helps you manage your project files. The files are displayed in a hierarchical view, much like that of Windows Explorer. By default, Solution Explorer is located on the right side of the IDE. If Solution Explorer is not visible, you can click the View menu and then click Solution Explorer to open it.

When you create a new Windows Forms application by using Visual Basic Express, a Windows Application solution appears in Solution Explorer. The solution contains two nodes: My Project and Form1.vb, as the following diagram illustrates. 

Solution Explorer
NoteNote

By default, there are actually other files in Solution Explorer, but they are hidden. If you click the Show All Files button, you can see all the files associated with the project.

The My Project node opens the Project Designer when you double-click it. The Project Designer gives you access to project properties, settings, and resources. For more information, see Introduction to the Project Designer. The Form1.vb node is the Windows Form in your solution. You can view this file in Design view, which enables you to see the form and any controls that you have added to it. You can also view this file in the Code Editor, which enables you to see the code associated with the application you're creating.

To view project files in Solution Explorer

  1. On the File menu, click New Project.

    The New Project dialog box appears.

  2. Click Windows Forms Application and then click OK.

  3. If Solution Explorer is hidden, click the View menu and then click Solution Explorer.

  4. Right-click Form1.vb in Solution Explorer, and then click View Code.

    The Code Editor appears.

  5. Right-click Form1.vb in Solution Explorer again, but this time click View Designer.

    The Windows Form appears in Design view.

You can add items, such as another Windows Form, to your project by clicking the Project menu, and then clicking Add New Item. However, you can also add project items in Solution Explorer.

To add a project item in Solution Explorer

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the solution (WindowsApplication1), point to Add, and then click New Item.

    The Add New Item dialog box appears.

  2. Click Windows Form, and then click Add.

    A new form is added to your solution, and Form2.vb appears in Solution Explorer underneath Form1.vb.

In this lesson, you learned how to use Solution Explorer to perform project management tasks, such as switching from Design view to the Code Editor. You also learned how to add a new project item to your solution.

In the next lesson, you will learn about the Toolbox and how to find the controls you need to create an application.

Next Lesson: Rummaging Through the Toolbox

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