Chapter 2

The Solution Explorer, Toolbox, and Properties


  • Arranging files with the Solution Explorer
  • Adding projects, items, and references to your solution
  • Working with the Properties tool window
  • Include your own properties in the Properties tool window

In Chapter 1, “A Quick Tour,” you briefly saw and interacted with a number of the components that make up the Visual Studio 2012 IDE. Now you get an opportunity to work with three of the most commonly used tool windows: the Solution Explorer, the Toolbox, and Properties.

Throughout this and other chapters you see references to keyboard shortcuts, such as Ctrl+S. In these cases, we assume the use of the general development settings, as shown in Chapter 1. Other profiles may have different key combinations. And, as you will see in upcoming chapters, you can use the Quick Launch area to get to commands regardless of the development settings that you use.


Whenever you create or open an application, or for that matter just a single file, Visual Studio 2012 uses the concept of a solution to tie everything together. Typically, a solution is made up of one or more projects, each of which can have multiple items associated with it. In the past these items were typically just files, but increasingly projects are made up of items that may consist of multiple files, or in some cases no files at all. Chapter 6, “Solutions, Projects, and Items,” goes into more detail about projects, the structure ...

Get Professional Visual Studio 2012 now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.