Advanced Installer comes packed with a Visual Studio extension to help you create and manage installers for your solutions directly from Visual Studio.

Advanced Installer integration with Visual Studio

To create a new project (.AIPROJ), Advanced Installer must be installed on a machine where Visual Studio 2010/2012/2013/2015/2017 is already present. Once the extension is installed it will appear in Visual Studio Extension Manager and cannot be uninstalled separately from Advanced Installer.

ImportantStarting with Advanced Installer 13.4 the extension is installed separately. You can download the VSIX package from the Visual Studio Marketplace.

NoteTo build an existing project on a server or from Team Foundation Server (TFS), the minimum requirements are .NET 4.0 and 32-bit MSBuild 4.0.

Create an Advanced Installer Project in Visual Studio

You can add Advanced Installer Projects and create installers for Visual Studio solutions containing any types of projects. To add an Advanced Installer Project to a new or existing solution, from the "New Project" dialog select the Advanced Installer Project option.

An Advanced Installer Project can contain a single .AIP project file. The Visual Studio solution can contain multiple Advanced Installer Project for Visual Studio.

To add an existing .AIP project file to an Advanced Installer Project, you can delete the default .AIP that was created and use the "Add -> Existing Item..." option to import the existing .AIP project file.

Edit the Advanced Installer project in Visual Studio

Every Advanced Installer Project features a viewer that can be used to quickly get access or edit basic information about your installer. Select the project .AIP file from the "Solution Explorer" to access the viewer.

Edit the Advanced Installer project in Advanced Installer

Use the [ Edit in Advanced Installer ] button or the “Open with Advanced Installer” context menu option to open the installer project in Advanced Installer.

Opening the project in Advanced Installer gives you access to all available features for your installer. Once you finished editing the installer project, save it and exit Advanced Installer. Upon returning to Visual Studio you will be asked to reload the Advanced Installer Project files which includes all your modifications.

TipBy default, you can create installers for Visual Studio solutions using a Freeware license of Advanced Installer. However, if you have a Professional, Java, Enterprise or Architect license for Advanced Installer, you can convert your installer project to the desired project type from the Edit Project Settings Dialog.

Import Visual Studio solutions in your installer project

When adding an Advanced Installer project to a solution it will automatically import the build output from existent projects located in that solution. If later more projects are added or the current ones are modified and you want to include them in your install package, a new import operation must be performed.

Select the project .AIP file from the "Solution Explorer" and from the context menu use the “Redo import” option.

Revert to default

If you are not happy with the current content for your installer project you can revert to the original state anytime.

Select the project .AIP file from the "Solution Explorer" and from the context menu use the “Empty content” option.

NoteThis option will also change back the Advanced Installer project type to Freeware.