Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

Multi-lingual development support in the Visual Studio IDE

Multi-lingual development support in the Visual Studio IDE

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One of the features of Visual Studio that has been around for a while and that I'm not sure a lot of folks know about is multi-lingual development support.  This feature has been present in Visual Studio .NET 2002, Visual Studio .NET 2003 and Visual Studio 2005.

What this feature means is that you can install multiple language versions of Visual Studio on the same machine, and you will end up with a single version of the IDE and a set of satellite language resource files.  Then you can go to the Tools | Options menu and change the language used by the IDE user interface for toolbars, menu items, etc.  This can be very useful in a team development setting where developers want to share terminal server machines that have Visual Studio installed but want to run the IDE in their native UI language.

In case you're interested - behind the scenes, Visual Studio setup uses the concept of vertical integration (which I previously described here) to accomplish the multi-lingual install scenario.

I am very curious to know how many people know that it is even possible to install multiple langauge versions of Visual Studio on the same system.  In addition, I am curious about how many people actually install and use Visual Studio in this kind of scenario.  If anyone reading my blog has any experiences to share with this kind of development scenario, please post a comment so I can learn more about how Visual Studio is being used in the "real world."


  • I'm in Canada and we do business countrywide, so I need an installer to display french also.  I'm installing the French version of Visual Studio right now and hoping that when I'm done, my installer will be able to display French panels if the operating system is French.

  • Hi Marc - It is possible to create a multi-lingual installer for your application.  It can detect the OS language and then load setup UI resources based on the OS language.  Windows Installer does not support the ability to do this natively, but you can write a setup.exe wrapper that can do this.  The .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 setup is architected in this way and you can use that as an example if you're interested.  If you have more detailed questions about how to create this type of setup, please contact me using http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/contact.aspx and I can try to help.

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