Create VSIX Installers

ImportantThe following article uses options that are available starting with the Professional edition and project type.

This tutorial will guide you in creating a project for a Visual Studio Extension installer (VSIX). Let's suppose you have a Visual Studio Extension which requires at least .NET Framework 3.0 in order to work and for which you want to create an installer.

1. Start a VSIX Project

If Advanced Installer is not currently running, it can be launched from its desktop icon or by selecting it from the "Start" menu. When the application starts, from the Start Page navigate to the "Add-Ins" tab and select the "Visual Studio Extension" template.

Visual Studio Extension Project

Press the [ Create Project ] button to create the project.

2. Add information about your extension

Using the Product Details Page add all the necessary information for your Visual Studio Extension, like Product Name, Author, Version or Info - User Guide URLs

NoteThe ID value in "Product Details" section can be left unchanged.

Optionally, you can select the "Install for all users" option if you want the VSIX package to be installed for all the users using the computer. If this option is not enabled the VSIX package will be installed only for the user launching the installation.

3. Add the extension files and set the prerequisites

Files and FoldersGo to the Files and Folders Page add the files that make your extension by using the "Add Files..." context menu option or toolbar button.

PrerequisitesGo to the Prerequisites Page. In the “Supported Products” tab set the minimum and maximum .NET Framework requirements. Since our extension requires .Net Framework 3.0 to work set the Min. Version to 3.0 and leave the Max. Version unchanged

Optionally, in the "Visual Studio Products" section add the Visual Studio Edition on which the extension will run and the "Visual Studio Isolated Shells".

VSIX Prerequisites

4. Set the output location and name of the VSIX package

BuildGo to the Build Page. In the "Folder" field write the location where you want to save the VSIX package. In the "File Name" field write the name of the VSIX package. For example: MyVSIX.

NoteWhen writing the name of the VSIX package do not append the .vsix extension. Advanced Installer will automatically do it for you.

TipThis step can be skipped. The VSIX package will be created in the same location where the VSIX project is saved and bearing the same name.

VSIX Build Page

5. Add the License Agreement, Icon and Preview image

AppearanceGo to Appearance Page. Using the [ ... ] button from the "License Text" field, select the file with the License Agreement. The License file must be included in the Files and Folders Page along with the files that make your Visual Studio extension.

NoteOnly .RTF and .TXT files can be used.

In the "Icon" field use the [ ... ] button to select the icon for your Visual Studio Extension. Like the License file, the icon file must be included in the "Files and Folders" Page. This icon will appear in Visual Studio Extension Manager for the entry of your extension. Only .ico files are supported.

In the "Preview Image" field use the [ ... ] button to select a image file for your Visual Studio Extension. The icon file must be included in the "Files and Folders" Page. The image will appear in Visual Studio Extension Manager for the entry of your extension. The supported file formats are: .bmp, .jpg, .jpeg, .png.

VSIX Appearance

6. Build the package

Build Project Build the project by using the "Build" toolbar button. Test the resulted VSIX package and see if it installs correctly in Visual Studio 2010.

Digital SignatureOptionally, you can digitally sign the package from the Digital Signature Page using a PKCS #12 certificate file.