File Types Created for Visual C++ Projects


For the latest documentation on Visual Studio 2017 RC, see Visual Studio 2017 RC Documentation.

This topic describes all the types of files that are associated with Visual C++ projects for classic desktop applications. The actual files included in your project depend on the project type and the options you select when using a wizard.

When you create a Visual C++ project, you might be creating a new solution, or you might be adding a project to a solution. Non-trivial applications are commonly developed with multiple projects in a solution.

Projects usually produce either an EXE or a DLL. Projects can be dependent on each other; during the build process, the Visual C++ environment checks dependencies both within and between projects. Each project has core source code, and depending on the kind of project, it may have many other files containing various aspects of the project. The contents of these files are indicated by the file extension. The Visual Studio development environment uses the file extensions to determine how to handle the file contents during a build.

The following table shows common files in a Visual C++ project, and identifies them with their file extension.

File extensionTypeContents
.asmxSourceDeployment file.
.aspSourceActive Server Page file.
.atpProjectApplication template project file.
.bmp, .dib, .gif, .jpg, .jpe, .pngResourceGeneral image files.
.bscCompilingThe browser code file.
.cpp; .cSourceMain source code files for your application.
.curResourceCursor bitmap graphic file.
.dbpProjectDatabase project file.
.discoSourceThe dynamic discovery document file. Handles XML Web service discovery.
.exe, .dllProjectExecutable or dynamic-link library files.
.hSourceA header (include) file.
.htm, .html, .xsp, .asp, .htc, .hta, .xmlResourceCommon Web files.
.HxCProjectHelp project file.
.icoResourceIcon bitmap graphic file.
.idbCompilingThe state file, containing dependency information between source files and class definitions, which can be used by the compiler during minimal rebuild and incremental compilation. Use the /Fd compiler option to specify the name of the .idb file. See /Gm (Enable Minimal Rebuild) for more information.
.idlCompilingAn interface definition language file. See Interface Definition (IDL) File in the Windows SDK for more information.
.ilkLinkingIncremental link file. See /INCREMENTAL for more information.
.mapLinkingA text file containing linker information. Use the /Fm compiler option to name the map file. See /MAP for more information.
.mfcribbon-msResourceA resource file that contains the XML code that defines the buttons, controls, and attributes in the ribbon. For more information, see Ribbon Designer (MFC).
.obj, .oObject files, compiled but not linked.
.pchDebugPrecompiled header file.
.rc, .rc2ResourceResource script files to generate resources.
.sbrCompilingSource browser intermediate file. The input file for BSCMAKE.
.slnSolutionThe solution file.
.suoSolutionThe solution options file.
.txtResourceA text file, usually the "readme" file.
.vapProjectA Visual Studio Analyzer project file.
.vbgSolutionA compatible project group file.
.vbp, .vip, .vbprojProjectThe Visual Basic project file.
.vcxitemsProjectShared Items project for sharing code files between multiple C++ projects. See Project Files and Makefiles for more information.
.vcxprojProjectThe Visual C++ project file. See Project Files and Makefiles for more information.
.vcxproj.filtersProjectWhen Solution Explorer is used to add a file to a project, the filters file defines where in the Solution Explorer tree view the file is added, based on its file name extension.
.vdprojProjectThe Visual Studio deployment project file.
.vmxProjectThe macro project file.
.vupProjectThe utility project file.

For information on other files associated with Visual Studio, see File Types and File Extensions in Visual Studio .NET.

Project files are organized into folders in Solution Explorer. Visual C++ creates a folder for source files, header files, and resource files, but you can reorganize these folders or create new ones. You can use folders to organize explicitly logical clusters of files within the hierarchy of a project. For example, you could create folders to contain all your user interface source files, or specifications, documentation, or test suites. All file folder names should be unique.

When you add an item to a project, you add the item to all configurations for that project, regardless of whether or not the item is buildable. For example, if you have a project named MyProject, adding an item adds it to both the Debug and Release project configurations.

Creating and Managing Visual C++ Projects
Visual C++ Project Types
Wizard Support for Other Languages