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Posted 27 Dec 2004

Working with Embedded Data

, 10 May 2005
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The article shows you how to load embbeded data (e.g. XML, images) from an assembly.


In some cases it is necessary to embed resources. This can be because the user should not be allowed to read or update the files. In this short article, I will show you how you can read from an embedded XML-file which is located within a .NET assembly.

To receive the data located within an XML-file we have to use Reflection. You can find a lot of articles about Reflection at The Code Project or via Google. So I won't explain Reflection in this article.

OK, let's start.

We have an exemplary .NET assembly called Example.dll. This DLL includes some XML-files, one of them is the Test.xml. Now we try to receive the content of Test.xml and give it out via the Console.

First of all we have to load the assembly. This will be done using the following code (assuming that the Example.dll is in the working-directory):

Assembly b = Assembly.LoadFrom(@"Example.dll");

With the following lines of code, you can show the different types that are found within the assembly, but you do not want them to receive the content of Test.xml:

Type[] t = b.GetTypes();
foreach (Type t2 in t) 

OK, now we will receive the names of all the resources in our assembly:

string[] names = b.GetManifestResourceNames();
foreach(string name in names) 

As you know, we need the file Test.xml of our assembly Example.dll. Use the following code to create a stream of data we need:

System.IO.Stream s = b.GetManifestResourceStream("Example.Test.xml");
System.IO.StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(s);
string data = sr.ReadToEnd();

As you can see, the correct data will be shown in the console-window. (The demo application uses list boxes to make the output user-friendly.) Now you are able to load the data into an XmlDocument and manipulate it. Please note that you can't change the resources which are embedded in an assembly (without recompiling) - this means that you can't change resources from your application.

How to load an embedded image

Some of you may ask how to load an embedded image. This isn't more difficult than loading the embedded text:

private void LoadEmbeddedImage() 
    Assembly b = Assembly.LoadFrom(@"Example.dll");
    System.IO.Stream s = 

    System.IO.StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(s);

    Image img = Image.FromStream(s);
    this.picLogo.Image = img;

The method LoadEmbeddedImage reads the data from the manifest resource stream and writes the data directly into an image. This image will be shown in our GUI.

How to use the code

  • Start the Example.sln.
  • Compile it first.
  • Now you can start the ExampleTest.


  • 12/27/2004
    • Initial post.
  • 12/28/2004
    • Example for loading an embedded image.
    • Updated the GUI for showing some information in a user-friendly way.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Norbert Eder
Team Leader
Austria Austria
Norbert Eder currently works as a .NET software architect at UPPER Network. He writes books and articles about WPF, Silverlight and Windows Phone 7.

For further information see his website or his project site

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Dilushan Delgoda4-Nov-12 0:25
memberDilushan Delgoda4-Nov-12 0:25 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
nbgangsta31-Mar-11 9:05
membernbgangsta31-Mar-11 9:05 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
john_172626-Nov-10 11:14
memberjohn_172626-Nov-10 11:14 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Adham Ayman11-Oct-10 11:48
memberAdham Ayman11-Oct-10 11:48 
GeneralThanks Pin
tmdeeper23321-Jun-08 2:37
membertmdeeper23321-Jun-08 2:37 
GeneralThanks boss Pin
Padoor Shiras20-Jun-07 6:27
memberPadoor Shiras20-Jun-07 6:27 
QuestionHow can we write back to embedded XML? Pin
xbiplav26-May-07 7:43
memberxbiplav26-May-07 7:43 
AnswerRe: How can we write back to embedded XML? Pin
Norbert Eder28-May-07 0:11
memberNorbert Eder28-May-07 0:11 
GeneralThis Might Help Pin
perlmunger27-Dec-04 13:09
memberperlmunger27-Dec-04 13:09 
GeneralRe: This Might Help Pin
Norbert Eder27-Dec-04 20:56
memberNorbert Eder27-Dec-04 20:56 
GeneralRe: This Might Help Pin
Perry H28-Jun-05 12:37
memberPerry H28-Jun-05 12:37 

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