Introduction to Visual Basic Express

If you can imagine a computer program, you can probably create it with Visual Basic Express. From a simple program that displays a message, to a full-fledged application that accesses a database or a Web service, Visual Basic Express gives you the tools you need.

Visual Basic Express provides a fully functional development environment for first-time programmers and hobbyists who are interested in building Windows Forms applications, Windows Presentation Foundation client applications, Windows Presentation Foundation browser applications, console applications, and class libraries. Visual Basic Express is the ideal choice for first-time developers who are interested in learning how to program in the Visual Basic language.

Visual Basic Express is a version of Visual Basic that is easy to learn and available as a free download on the MSDN Web site. It is a fully functional development tool for programmers who do not need the full version of Visual Basic. It is also a tool for learning to program in Visual Basic. But Visual Basic Express is more than just a subset of Visual Basic: It includes many features that make Visual Basic programming easier than ever.

The best way to learn what you can do with Visual Basic Express is to work through the lessons in the Visual Basic Guided Tour. When you finish, you will be familiar with Visual Basic tools and concepts—and ready to start writing your own programs.

Visual Basic Express is a powerful tool that can create fully functional applications and components that can be shared with others. However, it is not intended for professional developers or for programmers who work in a team environment. Other versions of Visual Basic provide features that meet the advanced needs of professional and team development.

If you have to write applications that connect to a networked database, interact with Microsoft Office, support mobile devices or 64-bit operating systems, or require remote debugging, you will need a more advanced version of Visual Basic.


Visual Basic Express does not support development of Web applications; if you want to do Web development, you can download Visual Web Developer Express.

The Help files that are included with Visual Basic Express are a subset of the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express Editions, which is in turn a subset of the full MSDN Library. If you are connected to the Internet, you can access any Help topic in the full library. If you do not have online access or you chose not to install the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express Editions, some Help topics may not be available. For more information, see Troubleshooting Visual Basic Express.