Overview of XML tools in Visual Studio

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

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that provides a format for describing data. XML separates the data and its presentation by using associated style sheets such as Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) and cascading style sheets (CSS). Visual Studio includes tools and features that make it easier to work with XML, XSLT, and XML schemas.

XML editor

The XML editor is used to edit XML documents. It provides full XML syntax checking, schema validation while you type, color-coding, and IntelliSense. If a schema or document type definition is provided, it is used by IntelliSense to list allowable elements and attributes.

Additional features include:

  • XML snippet support, including schema-generated snippets

  • Document outlining so that elements can be expanded and collapsed

  • The ability to execute XSLT transformations and to view the results as text, XML, or HTML

  • The ability to generate XML Schema definition language (XSD) schemas from the XML instance document

  • Support for editing XSLT style sheets, including IntelliSense support

  • XML Schema Explorer

XML Schema Designer

The XML Schema Designer is integrated with Visual Studio and the XML editor to enable you to work with XML schema definition language (XSD) schemas.

XSLT debugging

Visual Studio supports debugging XSLT style sheets. Using the debugger, you can set break points in an XSLT style sheet, step into an XSLT style sheet from code, and so on.


The XSLT debugger is only available in the Enterprise edition of Visual Studio.

See also