Visual-studio – What are the various “Build action” settings in Visual Studio project properties and what do they do

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For the most part, you just take whatever Visual Studio sets it for you as a default… I'm referring to the BuildAction property for each file selected in Solution Explorer. There are a number of options and it's difficult to know what each one of them will do.

Best Solution

  • None: The file is not included in the project output group and is not compiled in the build process. An example is a text file that contains documentation, such as a Readme file.

  • Compile: The file is compiled into the build output. This setting is used for code files.

  • Content: Allows you to retrieve a file (in the same directory as the assembly) as a stream via Application.GetContentStream(URI). For this method to work, it needs a AssemblyAssociatedContentFile custom attribute which Visual Studio graciously adds when you mark a file as "Content"

  • Embedded resource: Embeds the file in an exclusive assembly manifest resource.

  • Resource (WPF only): Embeds the file in a shared (by all files in the assembly with similar setting) assembly manifest resource named AppName.g.resources.

  • Page (WPF only): Used to compile a xaml file into baml. The baml is then embedded with the same technique as Resource (i.e. available as `AppName.g.resources)

  • ApplicationDefinition (WPF only): Mark the XAML/class file that defines your application. You specify the code-behind with the x:Class="Namespace.ClassName" and set the startup form/page with StartupUri="Window1.xaml"

  • SplashScreen (WPF only): An image that is marked as SplashScreen is shown automatically when an WPF application loads, and then fades

  • DesignData: Compiles XAML viewmodels so that usercontrols can be previewed with sample data in Visual Studio (uses mock types)

  • DesignDataWithDesignTimeCreatableTypes: Compiles XAML viewmodels so that usercontrols can be previewed with sample data in Visual Studio (uses actual types)

  • EntityDeploy: (Entity Framework): used to deploy the Entity Framework artifacts

  • CodeAnalysisDictionary: An XML file containing custom word dictionary for spelling rules