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Choose the Team Foundation client to support your tasks

You can use one of several client applications to connect with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 (TFS) to manage your product lifecycle using work items, version control, build definitions, and test plans and test cases suites.  All clients require that you connect to a server that runs TFS, and select a team project collection and a team project. All clients require that you have the required permissions to access the team projects that you select. See Add team members to a team project or a team.

Also, regardless of the type of client application you use to interact with TFS, a client access license (CAL) is required to connect to TFS. The only exception is Work Item Only View using Team Web Access. See Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing white paper.

The following clients, except for Team Web Access and Team Explorer Everywhere, are installed when you install one of the editions of Visual Studio 2012. Team Web Access is automatically installed and updated when TFS is installed or updated. Also, Team Explorer and Team Explorer Everywhere are available as free downloads.

  • Team Web Access provides a web interface to Team Foundation Server that grants access to team projects, Agile planning and tracking tools, version control, and builds.

    For more information, see Use Team Web Access to interact with Visual Studio ALM.

  • Team Web Access - Work Item View Only (WIOV) provides users within an organization without CAL to create, view, and modify only those work items that they have created. This includes bugs, feedback responses, and other work item types. See Work in Limited access view or Work Item Only View.

  • Team Explorer provides access to team projects, work item tracking, code reviews, version control, and builds. Team Explorer is a plug-in that is installed with each version of Visual Studio 2012. Or, you can install Team Explorer from the Microsoft download center as a standalone client and on as many physical devices as you like.

    For more information, see Use Team Explorer to interact with Visual Studio ALM.

  • Team Explorer Everywhere. Your team can collaborate from Eclipse or from the command line on the operating system of your choice and improve the predictability of your development processes by using Team Explorer Everywhere. Team Explorer Everywhere includes both the Team Foundation Server plug-in for Eclipse and the Cross-platform Command-Line Client for Team Foundation Server. For more information, see Adopting Team Explorer Everywhere.

  • Microsoft Test Manager. You can use Test Manager to define your test effort and create and run manual tests. Test Manager also integrates with the work item database in Team Foundation to create and track bugs that are found during test efforts. Test Manager installs with Visual Studio Premium, Visual Studio Ultimate, or Visual Studio Test Professional.

    For more information, see Quick Start Guide for Manual Testing using Microsoft Test Manager.

  • Microsoft Feedback Client allows stakeholders to launch an application, capture their interaction with it as video, and record verbal or type-written comments. Feedback is stored in TFS to support traceability. Stakeholders can download the tool for free. To connect to Team Foundation Server to record and save feedback, stakeholders must have required permissions.

    For more information, see Request and review feedback.

A Team Foundation add-in is installed into each of the following Microsoft Office products when you install any edition of Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio Team Explorer 2012. The add-in requires Office 2007 version or later.

To work online from one of these clients or to link a storyboard to a work item, you must connect to TFS. See Working in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project Connected to Team Foundation Server.

  • Excel. With Excel, you can add or bulk edit work items to TFS to help manage your project and stay synchronized with the work item database. In Excel, a Team tab provides access to a set of features for connecting to a team project, importing work items from a query, and publishing or refreshing a work item list.

  • PowerPoint Storyboarding allows you to illustrate user stories and requirements using PowerPoint. The Team Foundation add-in supports linking storyboard files to Team Foundation Server. This add-in installs with one of the supported Visual Studio 2012 editions listed in the table below.

  • Project. With Project, you can plan projects, schedule tasks, assign resources, and track changes to manage TFS data. You have access to features that TFS doesn’t support, such as a project calendar, Gantt charts, and resource views. In Project, a Team menu appears and work items appear as tasks in a project plan.

  • Project Professional. Team Foundation Server integrates with Project Server to enable data to flow from work items in TFS to tasks in enterprise project plans in Project Server. Project managers and software development teams can use the tools that they prefer, work at the level of precision that supports their needs, and easily share information. After the two server products are configured, the TFS synchronization engine updates scheduling data and resource usage in both the mapped enterprise project plan and team project.

    For more information, see Enable Data Flow Between Team Foundation Server and Microsoft Project Server.

The following pages and links can only be accessed from Team Web Access.


To access some of these features you might need Visual Studio Premium, Visual Studio Ultimate, or Visual Studio Test Professional installed. Also, you might need to be added to the Full group for Web Access Permissions. See Change access levels.

The following features can only be accessed from Team Explorer.