Visual Studio Installer Projects Extension and .NET 6.0

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

Packaging applications as an MSI is often accomplished using the Visual Studio Installer Projects Extension.

This article applies to apps targeting .NET Core 3.1, .NET 5, .NET 6 and later.

You can download the extension here:

Update for .NET Core

.NET Core has two different models for publishing.

  • Framework-dependent deployments

  • Self-contained applications include the runtime.

To learn more about these deployment strategies, see .NET Core application publishing overview.

Create a setup project

  1. From Visual Studio, choose Extensions > Manage Extensions, and search for "Visual Studio Installer Projects". Or, download the extension directly from the Marketplace.

  2. From the Start window, choose Create a new project, and then type "setup" in the search box. Choose a Setup project, and follow instructions.

    For more information, see Setup and Deployment projects.

Workflow changes for .NET Core 3.1 and later versions

  1. Select Publish Items instead of Primary Output to get the correct output for .NET Core 3.1, .NET 5.0, or .NET 6.0 projects. To bring up this dialog, select Add > Project Output... from the project's context menu.

    The Publish Items output group in the Add Project Output Group dialog

  2. To create a self-contained installer, set the PublishProfilePath property on the Publish Items node in the setup project, using the relative path of a publish profile with the correct properties set.

    Setting the publish profile on the Publish Items project output item


This workflow is not supported for ASP.NET Core applications, only Windows Desktop applications.


If you would like your installer to be able to install the necessary runtime for a framework-dependent .NET Core 3.1, .NET 5.0, or .NET 6.0 app, you can do this using prerequisites. From the properties dialog of your installer project, open the Prerequisites... dialog and you'll see the following entries:

.NET Core items in the Prerequisites dialog

The .NET Core Runtime... option should be selected for console applications, .NET Desktop Runtime... should be selected for WPF/WinForms applications.


These items are present starting with the Visual Studio 2019 Update 7 release.

See also