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.
|.asp||Source||Active Server Page file.|
|.atp||Project||Application template project file.|
|.bmp, .dib, .gif, .jpg, .jpe, .png||Resource||General image files.|
|.bsc||Compiling||The browser code file.|
|.cpp; .c||Source||Main source code files for your application.|
|.cur||Resource||Cursor bitmap graphic file.|
|.dbp||Project||Database project file.|
|.disco||Source||The dynamic discovery document file. Handles XML Web service discovery.|
|.exe, .dll||Project||Executable or dynamic-link library files.|
|.h||Source||A header (include) file.|
|.htm, .html, .xsp, .asp, .htc, .hta, .xml||Resource||Common Web files.|
|.HxC||Project||Help project file.|
|.ico||Resource||Icon bitmap graphic file.|
|.idb||Compiling||The 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.|
|.idl||Compiling||An interface definition language file. See Interface Definition (IDL) File in the Windows SDK for more information.|
|.ilk||Linking||Incremental link file. See /INCREMENTAL for more information.|
|.map||Linking||A text file containing linker information. Use the /Fm compiler option to name the map file. See /MAP for more information.|
|.mfcribbon-ms||Resource||A 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, .o||Object files, compiled but not linked.|
|.pch||Debug||Precompiled header file.|
|.rc, .rc2||Resource||Resource script files to generate resources.|
|.sbr||Compiling||Source browser intermediate file. The input file for BSCMAKE.|
|.sln||Solution||The solution file.|
|.suo||Solution||The solution options file.|
|.txt||Resource||A text file, usually the "readme" file.|
|.vap||Project||A Visual Studio Analyzer project file.|
|.vbg||Solution||A compatible project group file.|
|.vbp, .vip, .vbproj||Project||The Visual Basic project file.|
|.vcxitems||Project||Shared Items project for sharing code files between multiple C++ projects. See Project Files and Makefiles for more information.|
|.vcxproj||Project||The Visual C++ project file. See Project Files and Makefiles for more information.|
|.vcxproj.filters||Project||When 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.|
|.vdproj||Project||The Visual Studio deployment project file.|
|.vmx||Project||The macro project file.|
|.vup||Project||The 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.