Visual Basic Naming Conventions


Updated: July 20, 2015

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

When you name an element in your Visual Basic application, the first character of that name must be an alphabetic character or an underscore. Note, however, that names beginning with an underscore are not compliant with the Language Independence and Language-Independent Components (CLS).

The following suggestions apply to naming.

  • Begin each separate word in a name with a capital letter, as in FindLastRecord and RedrawMyForm.

  • Begin function and method names with a verb, as in InitNameArray or CloseDialog.

  • Begin class, structure, module, and property names with a noun, as in EmployeeName or CarAccessory.

  • Begin interface names with the prefix "I", followed by a noun or a noun phrase, like IComponent, or with an adjective describing the interface's behavior, like IPersistable. Do not use the underscore, and use abbreviations sparingly, because abbreviations can cause confusion.

  • Begin event handler names with a noun describing the type of event followed by the "EventHandler" suffix, as in "MouseEventHandler".

  • In names of event argument classes, include the "EventArgs" suffix.

  • If an event has a concept of "before" or "after," use a suffix in present or past tense, as in "ControlAdd" or "ControlAdded".

  • For long or frequently used terms, use abbreviations to keep name lengths reasonable, for example, "HTML", instead of "Hypertext Markup Language". In general, variable names greater than 32 characters are difficult to read on a monitor set to a low resolution. Also, make sure your abbreviations are consistent throughout the entire application. Randomly switching in a project between "HTML" and "Hypertext Markup Language" can lead to confusion.

  • Avoid using names in an inner scope that are the same as names in an outer scope. Errors can result if the wrong variable is accessed. If a conflict occurs between a variable and the keyword of the same name, you must identify the keyword by preceding it with the appropriate type library. For example, if you have a variable called Date, you can use the intrinsic Date function only by calling DateTime.Date.

Keywords as Element Names in Code
Me, My, MyBase, and MyClass
Declared Element Names
Program Structure and Code Conventions
Visual Basic Language Reference