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Automatically Increment Build Numbers in Visual Studio 2005

, 19 Apr 2006
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A demonstration of how to harness the power of the DTE and macros in Visual Studio, to create a build number incrementer.


This macro automatically increments the build number of a project by one, every time a build is started.


One of my long time gripes about Visual Studio is the lack of an option to just increment the build number every time I hit the Build button. Sure, this is not the most elegant solution, but it's better than nothing. When I was originally contemplating this project, I was looking for a way to intelligently check whether the increment is warranted or not, like say in C#, I hit the Build button just to check for errors, so I might want the build to increment every time I hit F5 instead. However, there is no good way to do this using the interfaces provided by Visual Studio, so we will just have to make one.

Using the code

Download the code and extract it. Open up Visual Studio, and from the Tools menu, select Macros->Macros IDE. Under the MyMacros heading in the Macro Project Explorer, open EnvironmentEvents and copy the function from the corresponding file in the Zip. Repeat for the functions in Module1.vb in the Zip. That's all, your project build number will now be automatically incremented. The code is very heavily commented, so if you have any questions, the comments are bound to answer them.

Points of Interest

One interesting note that tripped me up is that VB sticks a comment demonstrating how to set a wildcard for the AssemblyVersion attribute. As the comment came before the actual code line, the macro would read it first and then would be unable to find the AssemblyFileVersion attribute and would error out. My solution was to have the macro check for this commented line and remove it every time the macro was run. It is a brute-force solution, but it solved the problem.

There is currently no way to turn this macro off unless you erase the event handler in EnvironmentEvents.

If you have a wildcard character (*) in the build number field, it will be automatically replaced with a 1 when the build is started.

Currently, the macro only operates on C# and Visual Basic projects, and ignores everything else. However, it would be very easy to expand the function to include your own language of choice.

To my knowledge, C++ is so different in structure from .NET that this incrementer will not work on pure C++ projects.


  • 1.0 - First release.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Team Leader Prospective Software Inc.
United States United States
My name is Adam Wilson.
I am business software developer with over 7 years of VB.NET experience, starting with Visual Studio 2002 RC1. However I made the switch to C# a few years ago and I haven't looked back. I started programming in VB6 13 years ago, and have been on employed as a Senior Software Developer/IT Manager at a small ISV since 2003.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralNumber updated too late PinmemberLuke Edwards3-Feb-09 0:34 
GeneralGoodness Gracious [modified] Pinmembertoddmo16-Sep-08 19:07 
GeneralThe event BuildEvents_OnBuildProjConfigBegin doesn't fire PinmemberGiGi Abbrescia28-May-07 0:02 
GeneralFeature exists in VS2005 Pinmembersimabo5-Mar-07 1:04 
GeneralRe: Feature exists in VS2005 Pinmembermikey2225-Jun-07 6:21 
GeneralRe: Feature exists in VS2005 (Works in VS2008 Express as well) PinmemberTyreck19-Jan-09 9:52 
GeneralRe: Feature exists in VS2005 PinmemberAveryH9-May-09 15:15 
QuestionIncrement a Solution dosn't work?! Pinmemberj5136p18-Nov-06 1:34 
QuestionRe: Increment a Solution dosn't work?! PinmemberBellerephon8-Nov-06 7:07 
QuestionRe: Increment a Solution dosn't work?! Pinmemberj5136p18-Nov-06 18:48 
GeneralNot working for me... Pinmemberdirigo14-May-06 2:14 
AnswerRe: Not working for me... PinmemberBellerephon15-May-06 21:54 
GeneralRe: Not working for me... Pinmemberdirigo16-May-06 5:17 
AnswerRe: Not working for me... PinmemberBellerephon17-May-06 20:29 
QuestionNot in Express versions PinmemberSLURPO26-Apr-06 3:14 
AnswerRe: Not in Express versions PinmemberBellerephon26-Apr-06 18:25 
GeneralAutoincrementing build numbers is considered a bug in VS.NET 2003!!! Pinmemberperformer2426-Apr-06 0:21 
AnswerRe: Autoincrementing build numbers is considered a bug in VS.NET 2003!!! PinmemberBellerephon26-Apr-06 18:28 

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