File Types Created for Visual Studio C++ Projects

Many types of files are associated with Visual Studio projects for classic desktop applications. The actual files included in your project depend on the project type and the options you select when using a wizard.

When you create a Visual Studio project, you might create it in a new solution, or you might add a project to an existing solution. Non-trivial applications are commonly developed with multiple projects in a solution.

Projects usually produce either an EXE or a DLL. Projects can be dependent on each other; during the build process, the Visual Studio environment checks dependencies both within and between projects. Each project usually has core source code. Depending on the kind of project, it may have many other files containing various aspects of the project. The contents of these files are indicated by the file extension. The Visual Studio development environment uses the file extensions to determine how to handle the file contents during a build.

The following table shows common files in a Visual Studio project, and identifies them with their file extension.

File extension Type Contents
.asmx Source Deployment file.
.asp Source Active Server Page file.
.atp Project Application template project file.
.bmp, .dib, .gif, .jpg, .jpe, .png Resource General image files.
.bsc Compiling The browser code file.
.cpp, .c Source Main source code files for your application.
.cur Resource Cursor bitmap graphic file.
.dbp Project Database project file.
.disco Source The dynamic discovery document file. Handles XML Web service discovery.
.exe, .dll Project Executable or dynamic-link library files.
.h Source A header (include) file.
.htm, .html, .xsp, .asp, .htc, .hta, .xml Resource Common Web files.
.HxC Project Help project file.
.ico Resource Icon bitmap graphic file.
.idb Compiling The state file, containing dependency information between source files and class definitions. It can be used by the compiler during incremental compilation. Use the /Fd compiler option to specify the name of the .idb file.
.idl Compiling An interface definition language file. For more information, see Interface Definition (IDL) File in the Windows SDK.
.ilk Linking Incremental link file. For more information, see /INCREMENTAL.
.map Linking A text file containing linker information. Use the /Fm compiler option to name the map file. For more information, see /MAP.
.mfcribbon-ms Resource A resource file that contains the XML code that defines the MFC buttons, controls, and attributes in the ribbon. For more information, see Ribbon Designer.
.obj, .o Object files, compiled but not linked.
.pch Debug Precompiled header file.
.rc, .rc2 Resource Resource script files to generate resources.
.sbr Compiling Source browser intermediate file. The input file for BSCMAKE.
.sln Solution The solution file.
.suo Solution The solution options file.
.txt Resource A text file, usually the "readme" file.
.vap Project A Visual Studio Analyzer project file.
.vbg Solution A compatible project group file.
.vbp, .vip, .vbproj Project The Visual Basic project file.
.vcxitems Project Shared Items project for sharing code files between multiple C++ projects. For more information, see Project and Solution Files.
.vcxproj Project The Visual Studio project file. For more information, see Project and Solution Files.
.vcxproj.filters Project Used when you use Solution Explorer to add a file to a project. The filters file defines where in the Solution Explorer tree view to add the file, based on its file name extension.
.vdproj Project The Visual Studio deployment project file.
.vmx Project The macro project file.
.vup Project The utility project file.

For information on other files associated with Visual Studio, see File Types and File Extensions in Visual Studio .NET.

Project files are organized into folders in Solution Explorer. Visual Studio creates a folder for source files, header files, and resource files, but you can reorganize these folders or create new ones. You can use folders to organize explicitly logical clusters of files within the hierarchy of a project. For example, you could create folders to contain all your user interface source files. Or, folders for specifications, documentation, or test suites. All file folder names should be unique.

When you add an item to a project, you add the item to all configurations for that project. The item is added whether it's buildable or not. For example, if you have a project named MyProject, adding an item adds it to both the Debug and Release project configurations.

See also

Creating and Managing Visual Studio C++ Projects
Visual Studio C++ Project Types