Tips and Tricks: Visual Studio 2010 Image Library

Tips and Tricks: Visual Studio 2010 Image Library

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I was in the middle of creating UI mockups for some extensions I’ve been working on and realized that I needed some icons to polish off the sketch.  Sure, I could have just grabbed a screenshot of VS, opened up my favorite image editor, and pulled out the icon that I needed…but what if my “perfect” icon wasn’t in VS?  After all, these extensions are adding new functionality.

I was about to download one of the various icon packs floating around the Web, but then I remembered that VS already ships with a number of images to add to your applications: the Visual Studio Image Library! 

The Visual Studio Image Library packages up over 1,000 images (in various formats) from other Microsoft applications including Windows, Office, Visual Studio, and more.  These images are zipped up ( under ..\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\VS2010ImageLibrary\1033\.   The best part is: you can use these in your actual application, not just for mockups! 

Each folder contains a readme.html file which lists all the images in the directory, their sizes, and information on when and how to use these images.  There is one restriction: the images must be used in a manner consistent with the definitions found in the readme file.  In other words, don’t use the “Cut” image for a “Copy” command.  Things might get confusing… 


Hope this helps!

  wespic Weston Hutchins – Program Manager, Visual Studio Shell Team
Short Bio: I started at Microsoft as an intern in 2005 and have been working in Visual Studio ever since.  I’m currently a PM on the VS Shell IDE team and work on the core IDE UI and services as well as the Extension Manager and integration. Prior to my current duties, I was the SKU manager for the Visual Studio Express products.
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  • Hi!

    I think, this is the first image library release with up to date image styles. One reason might be that the graphics have not changed from Vista to 7 very much...

    Good work!

    - Dennis

  • Really good post.

    The vast majority of developers out there don't know that Visual Studio comes with an Image Library.

    Take this question as an example of the above:

    Thanks for sharing,

    Leniel Macaferi

  • we need xaml icons ! ....

  • Great post.

    Me either didn't know Visual Studio comes with such a awesome image library, also i couldn't find Visual Studio icon included :)

  • In my, all the file names have a space after them.  (i.e. "file.png ")  So after I unzip the files, they are non-usable and Windows even thinks they don't exist.  Is this a problem with the version I am using or something?  Anyone else seen this problem?

  • @Meena: for branding reasons we can't include the Visual Studio icon.  These are intended to be generic icons for use in applications.

    @Paul: I'm not seeing this on my Win7 machine.  What OS and .ZIP program are you using?

  • I would also vote for more vector/xaml icons inside. I actually thought that bringing VS to WPF would cause the icons to go xaml, for the high DPI stuff and similar. :)

  • I am on Windows 7, I have unzipped the file with JZip and also the built-in Windows unzipper.  I am using the 90-day evaluation version of VS 2010 Ultimate, maybe they did this to the eval version so that the icons are not pirated.  There is definitely something wrong with the file names inside the zip.  I even wrote a program to try to fix the file names, and it won't let me.  Something at the system/OS level is causing the files not to be recognized.

  • I see the spaces at the end of the filenames when I open the archive in WinZip, and go to rename on eof the files, but it removes the trailing spaces when extracting them.

  • @Paul, GregM: You are right, there is something wrong with the filenames. I see the problem as well, on Win7 ENU and VS10 RTM ENU installed.

    To view the problem I use Window's shell extension to browse inside the archive: expand the archive as a folder in Folder's view of Windows Explorer. The files in the right pane are all shown of having "File" type instead of the actual type (png, bmp, etc). The files in the right pane can be right clicked and in Properties I clearly see the extra trailing space.

    This issue is new to VS10. The similar icon library from Orcas/VS9 ( doesn't have this problem.

    It's also possible that localized versions of VS10 are not affected (if I remember correctly the archive is recreated when localized VS SKUs are built. Only on ENU version we ship a pre-built archive, so it looks like there was a problem when this pre-built archive was created.

    That being said, I don't have problems unzipping the archive. I've tried both extracting with Winzip 9.0 and copy-pasting in Windows Explorer from a folder inside the archive/shell extension to a new folder. In both cases the extra spaces were removed on extraction. As a workaround, perhaps you can use a different unzip program to extract the files?

    Anyway, I'm going to open a bug to fix this in a future release.

  • If after unzipping you have problems to delete those files, open a Command Prompt Windows (Console application) and go one level before that directory and type "RD VS2010ImageLibrary /s /q" (without "") and you will delete that folder.

    After that use Windows Explorer to open that zip file and just drag and drop that folder.


  • if anyone is still interested, I had the same problem as above which was caused by trying to extract while still in the Program Files directory. Moving the zip to Desktop and extracting there fixed this issue.

  • @Chris: Depending on your operating system and unarchive program, unpacking in Program Files may or may not work. The reason are not the spaces in the file names, but instead the fact that in OSes like Vista and Win7 you don't have permissions to write under Program Files when running non-elevated programs. Some old archivers are not UAC-aware, don't prompt for elevation and fail to unpack the archive. E.g. unpacking usign WinRAR 3.71's context menu integration with Windows Explorer fails for this reason, but works if you copy the archive in a place like Desktop or other folder where normal users have write access.

    Using other archivers works (e.g. if you expand the archive in Folders view in Windows Explorer and use the namespace extension to copy the files out of the archive will prompt for elevation if necessary).

  • Can these images be used for on web applications?

  • The images with multiple sizes in the same file - eg Paste.png - are we supposed to use Paint etc to cut n paste n manipulate these into the correct size for our applications, or is there an easier way? 'Cos those aesthetically challenged amongst us would appreciate a bit of guidance!

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