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Use rule sets to group code analysis rules

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac


This article applies to Visual Studio 2017. If you're looking for the latest Visual Studio documentation, see Visual Studio documentation. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of Visual Studio. Download it here

When you configure code analysis in Visual Studio, you can choose from a list of built-in rule sets. A rule set is a grouping of code analysis rules that identify targeted issues and specific conditions for that project. For example, you can apply a rule set that's designed to scan code for publicly available APIs. You can also apply a rule set that includes all the available rules.

You can customize a rule set by adding or deleting rules or by changing rule severities to appear as either warnings or errors in the Error List. Customized rule sets can fulfill a need for your particular development environment. When you customize a rule set, the rule set editor provides search and filtering tools to help you in the process.

Rule sets are available for managed code analysis, legacy analysis of managed code, and C++ code analysis.


Starting in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.3, you can use EditorConfig files to configure rules for .NET source code analysis, but not legacy analysis. For more information, see EditorConfig versus rule sets section in the FAQ.

Rule set format

A rule set is specified in XML format in a .ruleset file. Rules, which consist of an ID and an action, are grouped by analyzer ID and namespace in the file.

The contents of a .ruleset file looks similar to this XML:

<RuleSet Name="Rules for Hello World project" Description="These rules focus on critical issues for the Hello World app." ToolsVersion="10.0">
  <Localization ResourceAssembly="Microsoft.VisualStudio.CodeAnalysis.RuleSets.Strings.dll" ResourceBaseName="Microsoft.VisualStudio.CodeAnalysis.RuleSets.Strings.Localized">
    <Name Resource="HelloWorldRules_Name" />
    <Description Resource="HelloWorldRules_Description" />
  <Rules AnalyzerId="Microsoft.Analyzers.ManagedCodeAnalysis" RuleNamespace="Microsoft.Rules.Managed">
    <Rule Id="CA1001" Action="Warning" />
    <Rule Id="CA1009" Action="Warning" />
    <Rule Id="CA1016" Action="Warning" />
    <Rule Id="CA1033" Action="Warning" />
  <Rules AnalyzerId="Microsoft.CodeQuality.Analyzers" RuleNamespace="Microsoft.CodeQuality.Analyzers">
    <Rule Id="CA1802" Action="Error" />
    <Rule Id="CA1814" Action="Info" />
    <Rule Id="CA1823" Action="None" />
    <Rule Id="CA2217" Action="Warning" />


It's easier to edit a rule set in the graphical Rule Set Editor than by hand.

Specify a rule set for a project

The rule set for a project is specified by the CodeAnalysisRuleSet property in the Visual Studio project file. For example:

<PropertyGroup Condition=" '$(Configuration)|$(Platform)' == 'Debug|AnyCPU' ">

See also