.VCXPROJ File Extension

Visual C++ Project

Developer Microsoft
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What is a VCXPROJ file?

A VCXPROJ file is a software development project created by Visual C++, a Microsoft Visual Studio component used to develop C++ programs. It contains XML-formatted text that defines a project's content, platform requirements, versioning information, and web server or database server settings. VCXPROJ files are used to build developers' projects using MSBuild (the Microsoft Build Engine).

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Screenshot of a .vcxproj file in Microsoft Visual Studio Code
VCXPROJ file open in Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Developers who are creating new programs in Visual Studio start by creating a new project and associated project file. The project file contains the information MSBuild needs to turn the developer's project into an executable program. Specific types of Visual Studio projects use specific types of Visual Studio project files; Visual C++ projects use VCXPROJ project files.

VCXPROJ files are XML files that contain elements defined by MSBuild's XML schema. These elements tell MSBuild what items to build and how to build them. For example, a VCXPROJ file may contain settings that tell MSBuild to build an application differently when targeting different operating systems. Some of the elements VCXPROJ files contain include:

  • <Project>: Used to identify the project file's XML schema and specify entry points for the build process.
  • <PropertyGroup>: Used to define build configuration properties.
  • <ItemGroup>: Used to add inputs, such as source code files, into the build system.
  • <Target>: Used to specify and execute build operations.

How do I use a VCXPROJ file to build an application?

To build a C++ application developed in Visual Studio, a developer invokes MSBuild.exe from the Windows command-line interface along with the name of their VCXPROJ file. For example, to build a project named MyProject.vcxproj, a developer would enter the command MSBuild.exe MyProject.vcxproj in the command prompt, along with any other appropriate command-line options.

NOTE: Prior to Visual Studio 2010, Visual C++ projects used the .VCPROJ file format.

How to open a VCXPROJ file

VCXPROJ files are meant to be opened and edited in Microsoft Visual Studio (Windows, Mac) as part of Visual Studio projects. However, because VCXPROJ files are XML files, you can open and edit them in any text or source code editor.

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Programs that open VCXPROJ files

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