Visual Studio SDK

The Visual Studio SDK helps you extend Visual Studio features or integrate new features into Visual Studio. You can distribute your extensions to other users, as well as to the Visual Studio Marketplace. The following are some of the ways in which you can extend Visual Studio:

  • Add commands, buttons, menus, and other UI elements to the IDE

  • Add tool windows for new functionality

  • Extend IntelliSense for a given language, or provide IntelliSense for new programming languages

  • Use light bulbs to provide hints and suggestions that help developers write better code

  • Enable support for a new language

  • Add a custom project type

  • Reach millions of developers via the Visual Studio Marketplace

    If you've never written a Visual Studio extension before, you should find more information about these features and at Starting to develop Visual Studio extensions.

Install the Visual Studio SDK

The Visual Studio SDK is an optional feature in Visual Studio setup. You can also install the VS SDK later on. For more information, see Install the Visual Studio SDK.

What's new in the Visual Studio SDK

The Visual Studio SDK has some new features such as the synchronously autoloaded extensions warning and VSIX v3 format as well as breaking changes, which may require you to update your extension. For more information, see What's new in the Visual Studio 2019 SDK and What's new in the Visual Studio 2017 SDK.

Visual Studio user experience guidelines

Get great tips for designing the UI for your extension in Visual Studio user experience guidelines.

You can also learn how to make your extension look great on high DPI devices with the Address DPI issues article.

Take advantage of the Image service and catalog for great image management and support for high DPI and theming.

Find and install existing Visual Studio extensions

You can find Visual Studio extensions in the Extensions and Updates dialog on the Tools menu. For more information, see Find and Use Visual Studio Extensions. You can also find extensions in the Visual Studio Marketplace

Visual Studio SDK reference

You can find the Visual Studio SDK API reference at Visual Studio SDK Reference.

Visual Studio SDK samples

You can find open source examples of VS SDK extensions on GitHub at Visual Studio Samples. This GitHub repo contains samples that illustrate various extensible features in Visual Studio.

Other Visual Studio SDK resources

If you have questions about the VSSDK or want to share your experiences developing extensions, you can use the Visual Studio Extensibility Forum or the ExtendVS Gitter Chatroom.

You can find more information in the VSX Arcana blog and a number of blogs written by Microsoft MVPs: