How to: Integrate Custom Tools into the Project Properties

You can add custom tool options to the Visual Studio Property Pages window by creating an underlying XML schema file.

The Configuration Properties section of the Property Pages window displays setting groups that are known as rules. Every rule contains the settings for a tool or a group of features. For example, the Linker rule contains the settings for the linker tool. The settings in a rule can be subdivided into categories.

This document explains how to create a file in a set directory that contains properties for your custom tool so that the properties are loaded when Visual Studio starts. For information about how to modify the file, see Platform Extensibilty Part 2 on the Visual Studio Project Team blog.

To add or change project properties

  1. In the XML editor, create an XML file.

  2. Save the file in the %ProgramFiles%\MSBuild\Microsoft.Cpp\v4.0\ folder. Every rule in the Property Pages window is represented by an XML file in this folder. Make sure that the file is uniquely named in the folder.

  3. Copy the content of %ProgramFiles%\MSBuild\Microsoft.Cpp\v4.0\cl.xml, close it without saving changes, and then paste the content in your new XML file. You can use any XML schema file – this is just one that can be used so you start with a template.

  4. In the new XML file, modify the content according to your requirements. Make sure to change the Rule Name and Rule.DisplayName at the top of the file.

  5. Save the changes and close the file.

  6. The XML files in %ProgramFiles%\MSBuild\Microsoft.Cpp\v4.0\ are loaded when Visual Studio starts. Therefore, to test the new file, restart Visual Studio.

  7. In Solution Explorer, right-click a project and then click Properties. In the Property Pages window, in the left pane, verify that there is a new node with the name of your Rule.

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