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Visual Studio
VS 2005+

Transfer Visual Studio Settings Between PCs

Visual Studio has many hundreds of settings that can be configured using the Options dialog box from the Tools menu. If you use several computers, it can be useful to configure the environment on one machine, then transfer the settings to other systems.

Transferring Settings

To transfer your Visual Studio options and settings between machines, you must follow a two-stage process. Firstly, you use the Import and Export Settings wizard to export the configuration to a named vssettings file. This type of file can hold all of the various configuration options that Visual Studio provides.

Once the file has been created, it must be placed into a folder that is visible to the machine that you are copying the configuration to. You then use the Import and Export wizard for a second time to load the options into the other installation of Visual Studio. The importing process can be repeated for each development PC for which you wish to duplicate the environment options.

Saving Settings

To save the current configuration, you must use the export settings function. To start the wizard, select "Import and Export Settings..." from the Tools menu.

Visual Studio Import and Export Settings Wizard

The "Export selected environment settings" option should be selected before pressing the Next button.

Visual Studio Export Settings Options

The second step of the wizard is to select the options that you wish to save. The settings are displayed in a tree so that you can select to export individual sets of options or larger groups of settings depending upon your requirements. As you select options, a description is displayed. Once you have selected the desired items, click the Next button.

On the next screen you can provide the name for your new settings file and the location in which to save the file. Enter these details and press the Finish button to complete the process. The file will be created and a success message should be displayed.

Loading Settings

To load the saved settings from the vssettings file, you must use the import function. This uses the same wizard, so select "Import and Export Settings..." from the Tools menu. On the first page of the wizard, select the "Import selected environment settings" radio button and click Next.

Visual Studio Save Current Options Before Importing

The second page of the wizard provides the option to save your current environment configuration before importing the new options. If you wish to back up the settings, select the first option. Alternatively, select the "No..." radio button and click the Next button.

Visual Studio Choose Import Options

On the next screen you can choose the options to be imported. As you have previously created a settings file, click the Browse button and locate the file before clicking Next. You will be presented with further options that allow you to choose which groups of settings to import. This screen is similar to the second image in this article where you selected the options to export. Choose the options you require and click the Finish button to complete the process.

17 December 2008