How to get Intellisense for Web.config and App.config in Visual Studio .NET
App.config have can have many
different configuration options but it is difficult to remember what
some of the less commonly used options are. This article provides a
schema definition for .NET configuration files such as
App.config. The schema makes
Visual Studio .NET help you out by displaying intellisense when working
in these files.
Extend Visual Studio .NET with XML Schema
Visual Studio .NET has an extensible model that provides intellisense in
XML and HTML-based documents based on XML schema. To get intellisense
App.config I created a
schema for the .NET configuration files and and put the schema into a
folder under the Visual Studio .NET installation.
Visual Studio .NET then reads the schema file and lists the schema in
targetNamespace drop-down list when editing the
properties of the document. Selecting the schema from the list adds the
xmlns attribute to the root element of the document.
There is a problem with this method that you need to be aware of. To
get intellisense in Visual Studio .NET, the
attribute is added to the root element of the document so that
Visual Studio .NET knows which schema to use for the document.
ASP.NET and Winforms applications will throw a runtime error if the
<configuration> element in
app.config has the
xmlns attribute when
you run your application. e.g. This will give an error.
You must remember to remove the
xmlns attribute when
you are finished using intellisense in your config file.
If you do not, you will get an error in your application!
CLRconfigSchema.zip (~10 KB)
How to install
- Download the CLRconfigSchema.zip file from the link above
- For Visual Studio .NET 2002 unzip the
contents of the zip file into
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET\Common7\Packages\schemas\xml
- For Visual Studio .NET 2003 unzip the contents of
the zip file into
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\Common7\Packages\schemas\xml
- Open Web.config or App.config in Visual Studio .NET
- View the properties for the document
- Select .NET Configuration File from the list for the
- Edit Web.config or App.config
- Remember to remove the
xmlnsattribute from the
<configuration>element when you have finished editing your
More Information on Visual Studio .NET Schema Annotations
This topic is covered in more depth in the MSDN article "Visual Studio .NET Schema Annotations" (search for 'requireattributequotes' in MSDN)