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Project Items

Project items can be files, references to libraries, data connections, and folders that are within the project container. Some items represent a physical item you can locate in storage. Other items are links and represent pointers to other items that may reside within a service, module, or other component.

Virtual Physical Items graphic

However, most of your work is likely to be on the files you use to determine the parts of your application. How these files are managed within a project is determined by the project itself. Solution Explorer displays the file or set of files needed to develop that item. For more information about how projects manage items, see Item Management in Projects. For information about item management within a specific project type, see the documentation for the language or project type that is of interest to you.

All Visual Studio development products provide a number of pre-defined item templates. You can use one of the many templates to create the items that you might need to develop your application, class, control, or library. For example, if you chose to create a Windows form, the project offers a Windows form item for you to add and customize. Similarly, if you chose to create a Web application, the project offers a Web form item. For more information about project types and templates for your language, see Add New Item Dialog Box.

For more information about


Stand-alone files that are excluded from solution and project builds.

Miscellaneous Files

All file types that are supported in Visual Studio .NET. Provides a short description of each type and links to in-depth descriptions of new or important ones.

File Types and File Extensions in Visual Studio

Project-independent items that can be shared by multiple projects and included in solution builds.

Solution Items

Accomplishing file management-related tasks.

Managing Solutions, Projects, and Files

Introduction to the concept of a solution.

Solutions as Containers

Conceptual overview of projects.

Projects as Containers