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Zeta Resource Editor

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6 Jun 2013CPOL16 min read 1.2M   243   582
A small utility application to edit .NET string resources inside multiple resource files (.resx) in parallel.

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Image 1
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(Please see the bottom of this article for the latest updates)
(The official website is located at The project is also available at CodePlex, at GitHub and Google Code)


This is a small utility application that enables you to edit string resources from multiple different resource files together inside one single data grid.


When translating the resources of a .NET application into other languages, the biggest and most difficult task for me was to translate string resources:

The recommended way (at least what I know) is to create one single .RESX file for every language you want the strings to be translated to. I.e. one "Resources.resx" for neutral/English, one "" for German, one "" for French, etc.

Since I had to duplicate the resource keys into each RESX file, I often did not manage to keep the resource keys synchronal among all RESX files.

This is where the idea for this tool came up: Take all RESX files, merge their resource keys and display the resource values side by side in one editable data grid.

How to use the tool (simple version)

1.) Create your resource files in Visual Studio .NET 2005 as you usually do

Add a resource file for each language you want to support and place them in the "Properties" folder of your project.

Keep the naming schema "Resources.<language>.resx", e.g. "" for Swiss with French language. The following screenshot is an example for English and German.

Image 2
English and German language resources

2.) Start Zeta Resource Editor and open the resource files

Next, simply start Zeta Resource Editor and open the files you want to edit in parallel.

Image 3
Opening two resource files and load them into Zeta Resource Editor

3.) Edit the resources and save them

Image 4
The main window of Zeta Resource Editor

You could either edit the cells in the grid directly by selecting and pressing F2 or, for a better overview, select a cell in the grid and then edit the details in the details view at the bottom of the window.

4.) Save and compile

Finally save the resources in Zeta Resource Editor and compile your solution inside Visual Studio .NET 2005/2008.

How to use the tool (enhanced version with projects)

Starting march 2008, I added the concept of "projects". Projects are XML files with the ".zreproj" file extension that store 1..n so called "file groups" of RESX files that you want to edit together.

The idea is that you usually have a Visual Studio .NET solution that has multiple projects with multiple RESX files. Instead of opening them one by one inside Zeta Resource Editor, you once create a project inside Zeta Resource Editor and all the resources files you want to edit.

Later you simple open the Zeta Resource Editor project and double click the individual files to edit them.

To use projects, simply select Create New Project from the Projects main menu.

Image 5
Dialog to create a new project

Once you have created a new project, it is being displayed in the main window on the left side. Right click the root node and select Add file group to project to add a new file group with multiple RESX files to the project:

Image 6
Right-clicking the project to add files

Then select the apropriate files and they will appear in the project list:

Image 7
Project list with one added file group with two individual files

Simply double click the file group to edit the files inside the grid in Zeta Resource Editor.


Other Tools

I must admit that I am not an expert regarding translation/localization/globalization tools.

Doing lots of Internet searches, trying different tools, all of them seems to do their own kind of hand algorithms and behaviors.

But what I wanted was to do it my way, respectively the way that Visual Studio .NET 2005 does it.

So I do hope my approach isn't that naive but rather a small pragmatic tool to aid me (and hopefully others) managing the hassles of translating string resources.

If you do know other tools, preferably free ones, that do the same or even better than this one I presented you here, please post the hyperlinks below in the comments section!

Some tools and resources I found to be rather good are:

The current state of the Tool

Beside small test applications, we did not use the tool extensively.

We developed this tool for the upcoming releases of our applications Zeta Producer version 9 (a windows-based Content Management System) and Zeta Test (a free test case/test plan management system).

Although I think it is ready-to-use, the main reason why I already released it was to give other developers the chance to use it and to provide a lot of feedback to me for improving the application.

So please keep the feedback coming :-)!

Planed enhancements

  • Work on a more content-based way instead of a file-based way. E.g. allow for editing/exporting/importing all resources from all files of a project within one single grid/Excel document.
  • Add tagging to simplify the finding of resources across multiple resource files.
  • Support other resource files beside the .NET resx files.
  • Your suggestions here.


  • 2013-06-07 - Made available on GitHub.
  • 2012-02-22 - Updated the binary setup. Small fix to allow translation even when no project is loaded.
  • 2011-12-31 - Updated the binary setup. Adjusted the Microsoft Bing translation API binding to the new version 2. Please be aware that you now have to purchase a key from Microsoft to continue using Microsoft Bing Translate.
  • 2011-12-22 - Updated the binary setup. Adjusted the Google translation API binding to the new version 2. Please be aware that you now have to purchase a key from Google to continue using Google Translate.
  • 2011-10-10 - Updated the binary setup. Fixed an issue when automatically adding resource files from a Visual Studio .NET Solution.
  • 2011-08-02 - I've just set up an "official" support forum for Zeta Resource Editor. Hope you like it!
  • 2011-06-14 - Updated the binary setup. Fixed an issue when adding new resources and letting them automatically translate. Optimized away some more pixels in the main window to have more height.
  • 2011-05-14 - Updated the binary setup. The Excel export wizard now allows to directly send exported files to one or multiple e-mail receivers. This is done through our free Zeta Uploader service.
  • 2011-04-20 - Updated the binary setup. Some minor adjustments to the automatic translation. The lists now only show those languages that the currently selected translation provider (Microsoft Bing or Google) actually support.
  • 2011-04-02 - Updated the binary setup. Migrated back from .NET 4 to .NET 2 to reach a broader number of users (those who cannot upgrade to .NET 4). Reduced the download file size of the setup by 5 MB.
  • 2011-03-24 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added missing VC 10.0 CRT DLLs to setup package. This fixes errors on some machines where the Excel export failed with SQLite-related error message.
  • 2011-03-14 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed an issue with translation through Bing Translator with unsupported languages.
  • 2011-03-06 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added a right-click grid context menu item to delete the contents of a row for selected languages.
  • 2011-02-08 - Fixed an issue with the new snapshot functionality when exporting only modified texts. Thanks to Colm.
  • 2011-02-01 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added experimental support for the Excel export option "Only export texts that were modified since the last export". This required to store a kind of history of previous values. I solved it by automatically creating a companion SQLite database (*.zredb) for every project file (*.zreproj). It is all done automatically and in the background, just in case you wonder where the file comes from. If you have added your project file to SVN/CSV/GIT/TFS/etc. please also add the database file.
  • 2011-01-30 - Updated the binary setup and the source download:
    • Added a replace function to find and replace texts in a grid.
    • Added project folders properties to exclude project folders and file groups from being exported/imported.
    • Improved speed of translating a large number of texts.
    • Added a "Don't translate" word list to protect words from being translated.
    • The dialog window to create new resource files now has the ability to add files for multiple languages in one operation.
    • Various bugs were fixed.
  • 2011-01-06 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added Danish translation to the GUI.
  • 2010-10-23 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed some issues regarding project folder editing.
  • 2010-08-08 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added the ability to choose the translation service when automatically translating resources. Currently, Google Translate and Microsoft Bing are supported.
  • 2010-07-26 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added an option to export the comments column with to the Excel export wizard. Please note that I currently have no plans to add an import function of the comments column.
  • 2010-07-20 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed an issue when exporting to multiple Excel document files. Added more warnings to the Excel export wizard. Updated to use the new Microsoft .NET Framework 4.
  • 2010-07-18 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed an issue when translating.
  • 2010-07-10 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added "en-US" as the default neutral language if none is specified via the project settings. Simplified the right-click popup context menus in the project tree. Now, only the relevant options are displayed, depending on the type of item you right-clicked in the tree.
  • 2010-07-04 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed an issue with automatic translation. Also added Office 2010 UI style.
  • 2010-06-12 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Rewritten larger parts of the Microsoft Office Excel export and import routines. The export wizard has more options resulting in a more flexible and more natural, real-world-aware way of letting Zeta Resource Editor generate your Excel files. The import wizard is now capable of handling a broader range of input files in terms of column layouts. In addition an explanation dialog was added, describing how an Excel file should look like in order to import successfully.
  • 2010-05-30 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added several new options to the Excel export wizard. Now you can generate multiple Excel files (based on file groups and/or languages) with one single export run.
  • 2010-05-19 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Allowed the Quick Access Toolbar to be persisted. Fixed an issue when editing multiple file groups. Thanks to user "Member 802361" for detecting and resolving the issue!
  • 2010-05-14 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed an issue when editing multiple file groups. Thanks to user "Member 802361" for detecting and resolving the issue!
  • 2010-05-10 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added the ability to hide completely translated rows. Added a color legend to the options dialog that shows the meaning of the special colors in the grid. ZetaResourceEditor/zeta-resource-editor-color-legend.png
  • 2010-05-08 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added the ability to hide language columns: ZetaResourceEditor/zre-display-language-columns.png
  • 2010-05-02 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed a reported issue when opening a resource file without having an open project.
  • 2010-04-28 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Fixed a reported issue with culture checking. Converted solution and projects to Visual Studio 2010.
  • 2010-03-16 - Updated the binary setup and the source download. Added support for coloring NULL values in cells.
  • 2010-03-09 - I've added a "Donate 1 USD" button to the toolbar in the binary setup. You can hide this button in the program options (third ribbon tab page). I hope you don't mind.
  • 2010-02-26 - Modified the binary setup. Fixed an issue when exporting and translating languages. Implemented grid filtering (but not yet persistent). Changed grid column headers caption from resource file names to language codes, which seem to be a more natural way of naming.
  • 2010-02-24 - Modified the binary setup and the source code. Added support for configuring an HTTP proxy server for all outgoing HTTP requests like e.g. the translation service.
  • 2010-02-21 - Modified the binary setup and the source code. It is now possible to edit not just one file group inside the grid but also multiple file groups at once. Simply double-click on the project or a project folder in the tree (This feature is currently in Beta stage; your feedback is very welcome!).
    Image 12
  • 2010-02-14 - Modified the binary setup and the source code. Added the suggestion of this comment.
  • 2010-01-15 - Modified the binary setup and the source code. Added ability to display the comments of the first resource file in the editor grid (read and write). Activate this option in the project settings Fixed issues with automatic translations. All changes were done by user "TheMegaLoser".
  • 2010-01-14 - Updated the source download to match the latest binary setup. Due to its size, the source download is now hosted on Google Code.
  • 2010-01-04 - Modified the binary setup, enhanced the Excel export and import to make it more usable for external translators/translations. See my weblog article for details and a screenshot.
  • 2009-12-15 - Minor modifications to the binary setup, updated the translation functions to work with Google's recent change in their translation pages.
  • 2009-10-31 - Minor modifications to the binary setup. As of request, I updated the source code download (at the top of this article). Please note that you need to have an installed license of the DevExpress WinForms components in order to successfully compile the sources.
  • 2009-08-25
    Updated the binary setup again. Rewrote the language detection routine that detects a language from a file name. Now configurable through the project settings. Added function "Create new files" to create missing resource files for a complete project (or a project folder) with just a few clicks.
  • 2009-08-08
    Updated the binary setup again. Added the long-requested (including by myself!) ability to create new files from within Zeta Resource Editor:
    This is done by copying from an existing file and replacing all the existing texts. Also included serveral minor bug fixes. Added the ability to show/hide the complete project tree panel (the left part of the main window) for better screen usage on smaller monitors.
  • 2009-07-12
    Updated the binary setup again. Introduced what I call "Project Folders" - virtual folders that enables you to organize larger numbers of file groups into separate units to keep the project manageable. Also added move (up/down) and drag and drop to the tree.
  • 2009-07-04
    Created/updated Projects at CodePlex and Google Code.
  • 2009-07-04
    Updated the binary setup again. Also updated the source download. Changes: Fixed reported bugs. Added first version of Microsoft Office Excel export and import (Your feedback is very welcome.
  • 2009-06-27
    Updated the binary setup and fixed several bugs reported directly to me and below here in the forum. Added keyboard shortcuts to work again. Unfortunately the previous version broke the update mechanism, so you will get an error when clicking the "Update available" button. Sorry for that, I fixed it now.
  • 2009-06-18
    Updated the binary setup. Changes:
    • This version is primarily a complete rewrite of the GUI. I hope you like it! I throw out all standard Windows Forms components and used the GUI components of DevExpress. The main reason for the rewrite was to have a strong foundation for doing more complex UI stuff (like grid filtering, exporting) in the future.
    • Changed the main window to use ribbons.
    • Added modern Windows Vista compatible icons.
    • Added a news area to the main windows. You can turn this of in the application's options dialog window.
    • Added some initial spell checking functionality (configurable in the project settings) with support of OpenOffice dictionaries.
    • Complete empty lines can now be hidden from the grid.
    • Added an option to configure the behaviour reported by "nkstr".
  • 2009-04-26
    Updated the binary setup again. Changes: Integrated Google Translation API calls to automatically translate from one language to another language (See the "Edit" main menu). Also included is a general-purpose translation window. Did some rather simple, but hopefully useful introduction screencasts.
  • 2009-03-31
    Updated the binary setup again. Changes: The state of a translated file group is now shown both in the tree view as well as in the upper left corner of the editing grid.
  • 2009-02-08
    Updated the binary setup again. Changes: Adjusted the display of file groups in the left tree. Enhanced and corrected the coloring in the grid. New color gray to show completely empty rows among all languages.
  • 2009-02-08
    Updated the binary setup. Again some minor fixes in how the settings are stored. Added a German translation for the whole GUI, which is automatically chosen if you are on a German OS. Added project option for not storing empty resource strings (useful for fall back to the default language)
  • 2008-12-29
    Updated the binary setup. Some minor fixes, adjustments of the generated group names and a neat little function to import a complete folder tree with all its resource files with one single operation.
  • 2008-08-09
    On commenter's request, I also published this project as a CodePlex project.
  • 2008-04-11
    Maintenance release to fix a small bug when dealing with misformed RESX-files.
  • 2008-03-27
    Added the concept of "projects". Added installable setup. Created new website and online manual.
  • 2007-06-24
    Added searching/finding (Ctrl+F) and "Find next". Added coloring cells: The read-only column zero is colored blue, except when the number of formatting placeholders (you known these "{0}", "{3:F2}", etc. don't match between the languages; then the first column becomes red. An empty cell gets colored yellow to easier spot things to translate.
  • 2007-06-17
    Maintenance release. Adding small convenience functions like a LRU list. Fixing some minor UI bugs. Please note the this is not yet the major update to expect in the future that will include all your great suggestions from the comments below.
  • 2007-01-11
    Fixed a bug when saving/loading. Thanks to Rudolf Jan Heijink for telling us! In fact, Markus wrote several large parts of the loading/saving engine new.
  • 2007-01-01
    Added modifications when writing the files, as suggested by Jens Buchta.
  • 2006-11-16
    Markus Klieber fixed this bug found by Bo E. Pedersen. Thanks to both!
  • 2006-10-24
    Fixed a bug that occured when comments were present in the resource files. Thanks to Crispin Horsfield for pointing this out.
  • 2006-10-22
    Initial publishing of this article. The core engine of the application was developed by our current trainee Markus, the GUI details and the finishing and packaging were done by myself.


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

Written By
Chief Technology Officer Zeta Software GmbH
Germany Germany
Uwe does programming since 1989 with experiences in Assembler, C++, MFC and lots of web- and database stuff and now uses ASP.NET and C# extensively, too. He has also teached programming to students at the local university.

➡️ Give me a tip 🙂

In his free time, he does climbing, running and mountain biking. In 2012 he became a father of a cute boy and in 2014 of an awesome girl.

Some cool, free software from us:

Windows 10 Ereignisanzeige  
German Developer Community  
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Comments and Discussions

QuestionZeta nuget packages Pin
Member 1093713728-Apr-22 19:52
Member 1093713728-Apr-22 19:52 
SuggestionFeature request Pin
Llarian8-May-14 21:59
Llarian8-May-14 21:59 
QuestionSeveral problems in export Pin
Dialecticus11-Dec-13 7:17
Dialecticus11-Dec-13 7:17 
QuestionI really really need some keyboard shortcuts Pin
Martin H. Andersen25-Feb-13 23:26
Martin H. Andersen25-Feb-13 23:26 
QuestionExport from Excel to resource files Pin
Member 975374913-Jan-13 20:49
Member 975374913-Jan-13 20:49 
AnswerRe: Export from Excel to resource files Pin
Uwe Keim13-Jan-13 20:49
sitebuilderUwe Keim13-Jan-13 20:49 
SuggestionDisplay information about base file name inside edit grid Pin
Member 8023619-Jan-13 4:42
Member 8023619-Jan-13 4:42 
QuestionModifications Reorder data nodes in the RESX file Pin
MattDC9-Nov-12 12:19
MattDC9-Nov-12 12:19 
QuestionFile name pattern is not working. All ok while using std config but wrong when using '_' instead of '.' Pin
TTrebla7-Feb-12 0:42
TTrebla7-Feb-12 0:42 
QuestionAnother localization product to try Pin
Hexadigm Systems18-Jan-12 14:56
Hexadigm Systems18-Jan-12 14:56 
QuestionHandling custom localize properties Pin
hyperplus9-Jan-12 5:18
hyperplus9-Jan-12 5:18 
AnswerRe: Handling custom localize properties Pin
Uwe Keim9-Jan-12 10:31
sitebuilderUwe Keim9-Jan-12 10:31 
BugGoogle Translator API changes Pin
jphone12321-Dec-11 20:23
jphone12321-Dec-11 20:23 
GeneralRe: Google Translator API changes Pin
Uwe Keim21-Dec-11 22:04
sitebuilderUwe Keim21-Dec-11 22:04 
QuestionI can not merge two resources from different projects in one file Pin
denimenom20-Dec-11 23:24
denimenom20-Dec-11 23:24 
AnswerRe: I can not merge two resources from different projects in one file Pin
Uwe Keim20-Dec-11 23:26
sitebuilderUwe Keim20-Dec-11 23:26 
QuestionBuilding From Source Pin
WillScott5-Sep-11 0:14
WillScott5-Sep-11 0:14 
AnswerRe: Building From Source Pin
Uwe Keim5-Sep-11 2:31
sitebuilderUwe Keim5-Sep-11 2:31 
GeneralRe: Building From Source Pin
WillScott7-Sep-11 4:32
WillScott7-Sep-11 4:32 
GeneralRe: Building From Source Pin
WillScott8-Sep-11 0:01
WillScott8-Sep-11 0:01 
GeneralRe: Building From Source Pin
MrSmoofy22-Sep-11 4:04
MrSmoofy22-Sep-11 4:04 
QuestionPurpose of Group and Name fields? Pin
WillScott5-Sep-11 0:10
WillScott5-Sep-11 0:10 
QuestionFile Path Length Error Pin
WillScott5-Sep-11 0:02
WillScott5-Sep-11 0:02 
AnswerRe: File Path Length Error Pin
Uwe Keim5-Sep-11 2:32
sitebuilderUwe Keim5-Sep-11 2:32 
GeneralRe: File Path Length Error Pin
WillScott5-Sep-11 2:37
WillScott5-Sep-11 2:37 

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