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NeutralResourcesLanguageAttribute Class

Updated: January 2011

Informs the ResourceManager of the neutral culture of an assembly. This class cannot be inherited.

Namespace:  System.Resources
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

[AttributeUsageAttribute(AttributeTargets.Assembly, AllowMultiple = false)]
public sealed class NeutralResourcesLanguageAttribute : Attribute

The NeutralResourcesLanguageAttribute informs the ResourceManager of the language used to write the neutral culture's resources for an assembly, and can also inform the ResourceManager of the assembly to use (either the main assembly or a satellite assembly) to retrieve neutral resources using the resource fallback process. When looking up resources in the same culture as the neutral resources language, the ResourceManager automatically uses the resources located in the main assembly, instead of searching for a satellite assembly with the current user interface culture for the current thread. This will improve lookup performance for the first resource you load, and can reduce your working set.


Apply this attribute to your main assembly, passing it the name of the neutral language that will work with your main assembly. Optionally, you can pass a member of the UltimateResourceFallbackLocation enumeration to indicate the location from which to retrieve fallback resources. Using this attribute is strongly recommended.

The following example uses a simple "Hello World" application to illustrate the use of NeutralResourcesLanguageAttribute to define a default or fallback culture. It requires the creation of separate resource files for the English (en), English (United States) (en-US), and French (France) (fr-FR) cultures. The following shows the contents of a text file named ExampleResources.txt for the English culture.

# Resources for the default (en) culture.

In order to use the resource file in an application, you must use Resource File Generator (Resgen.exe) to convert it from its text (.txt) format to a binary (.resources) format. The following command performs the conversion.

resgen ExampleResources.txt

When the application is compiled, the binary resource file will be embedded in the main application assembly.

The following shows the contents of a text file named ExampleResources.en-US.txt that provides resources for the English (United States) culture.

# Resources for the en-US culture.

The text file can be converted to a binary resources file by using the Resource File Generator (ResGen.exe) at the command line as follows:

resgen ExampleResources.en-US.txt ExampleResources.en-US.resources

The binary resource file should then be compiled into an assembly by using Assembly Linker (Al.exe) and placed in the en-US subdirectory of the application directory by issuing the following command:

al /t:lib /embed:ExampleResources.en-US.resources /culture:en-US /out:en-us\Example.resources.dll

The following shows the contents of a text file named that provides resources for the French (France) culture.

# Resources for the fr-FR culture.

The text file can be converted to a binary resource file by using ResGen.exe at the command line as follows:


The binary resources file should then be compiled into an assembly by using Assembly Linker and placed in the fr-FR subdirectory of the application directory by issuing the following command:

al /t:lib / /culture:fr-FR /out:fr-FR\Example.resources.dll

The following example provides the executable code that sets the current culture, prompts for the user's name, and displays a localized string.

using System;
using System.Globalization;
using System.Reflection;
using System.Resources;
using System.Threading;

public class Example
   public static void Main()
      // Select the current culture randomly to test resource fallback.
      string[] cultures = { "de-DE", "en-us", "fr-FR" };
      Random rnd = new Random();
      int index = rnd.Next(0, cultures.Length);
      Thread.CurrentThread.CurrentUICulture = CultureInfo.CreateSpecificCulture(cultures[index]);      
      Console.WriteLine("The current culture is {0}", 

      // Retrieve the resource.
      ResourceManager rm = new ResourceManager("ExampleResources" , 
      string greeting = rm.GetString("Greeting");

      Console.Write("Enter your name: ");
      string name = Console.ReadLine();
      Console.WriteLine("{0} {1}!", greeting, name);

It can be compiled by using the following command in Visual Basic:

vbc Example.vb /resource:ExampleResources.resources

or by using the following command in C#:

csc Example.cs /resource:ExampleResources.resources


Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0




January 2011

Replaced the example.

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