How to: Customize a SharePoint Feature

You can create and customize SharePoint features by using the Feature Designer in Visual Studio. For example, you can set the Feature scope and add other Features as dependencies. By default, the Feature Designer is opened when you add a new Feature in Solution Explorer or the SharePoint Package Explorer.

You can add or remove SharePoint project items to a Feature using the Feature Designer.

To open the Feature Designer

  1. In Solution Explorer, expand Features.

  2. Double-click the Feature1 item, or open the shortcut menu for the Feature1 item and then choose View Designer.

You can use the Feature Designer to modify and generate the packaged manifest file for the Feature (feature.xml). Then, you can view the XML code for this file in Visual Studio.

To view the packaged manifest file

  • In the Feature Designer, choose the Manifest tab.

To view the packaged manifest file by using Solution Explorer

  1. In Solution Explorer, choose the Show All Files icon.

  2. Expand Features, expand FeatureName, expand FeatureName.feature, and then open the FeatureName.Template.xml file.

    Note Note

    When you open the Feature template manifest XML file, the files are automatically validated and the warnings that appear in the Error List window can be ignored.

You can change the XML code for the Feature manifest file in the Visual Studio XML Editor or the Manifest Template pane. Any changes to the XML code is merged into the packaged manifest file for the Feature. For example, you may want to change the manifest template to customize a Feature property.

To change the manifest template by using the XML Editor

  • In the Feature Designer, choose the Manifest tab, expand the Edit Options node, and then choose the Open in XML Editor link.

    Changes to the XML are merged into the packaged manifest file.

To change the manifest template by using the Manifest Template pane

  • In the Feature Designer, choose the Manifest tab, expand the Edit Options node, and then change the XML that appears in the Manifest Template pane.

    Changes to the XML appear in the Preview of Packaged Manifest pane.

You can disable the Feature Designer and create the feature.xml file manually. The first time that you perform this procedure, the current settings in the Feature Designer are saved to the Feature template XML file. Then, you can modify or overwrite the XML code.

Note Note

If you add or remove SharePoint project items in the XML file while the Feature Designer is disabled, these project items are not packaged.

To overwrite packaged manifest file by disabling the designer

  1. In the Feature Designer, choose the Manifest tab.

  2. Expand the Edit Options node, choose the Overwrite generated XML and edit manifest in the XML editor link, and then choose the Yes button.

    The template is updated with the current packaged manifest file.

You can re-enable the Feature Designer to customize the feature.xml file.

To re-enable the designer

  1. In the Feature Designer, choose the Discard manifest edits and re-enable the designer link, and then choose the Yes button.

  2. The template is refreshed with the original text, and any changes to the XML are lost.

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