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Adding .NET Core 3.0 custom controls in VS toolbox

How to Add a .NET Core 3.0 Custom Control to Your Visual Studio Toolbox in Less Than 3 Minutes

If you are looking to configure .NET Core custom controls in your Visual Studio toolbox, this article is right for you. I’ll guide you through configuring a .NET Core 3.0 custom control in Visual Studio 2019, available as a NuGet package. Following are the prerequisites for the toolbox configuration:

  • Visual Studio 2019 (update 16.3.1 and later)
  • .NET Core SDK 3.0

NuGet structure to support .NET Core 3.0 toolbox

The custom control will be populated in the toolbox only if the NuGet package has the VisualStudioToolsManifest file inside the tools folder. The tools folder will be present parallel to the lib folder inside the NuGet package. Refer to this link for more information about the structure of the VisualStudioToolsManifest file.

For the normal working of the NuGet package, this VisualStudioToolsManifest file isn’t necessary. Its only purpose is to configure a custom control in the Visual Studio toolbox. Add this file in the right location during NuGet packaging.

You can find the structure of the VisualStudioToolsManifest file in the following image.Structure of Visual Studio Tools Manifest

  • The Reference attribute points to the name of the assembly.
  • ContainsControls attribute specifies whether there are any controls to be listed in the Visual Studio toolbox for the given assembly.
  • VSCategory/BlendCategory is the name for the toolbox to be displayed in Visual Studio.
  • Type is the fully qualified name for the control including the namespace.

Install NuGet

Install NuGet to check if it adds the control to toolbox:

  1. Create a .NET Core project in the platform you intend to configure the .NET Core 3.0 controls in your toolbox.Create a new project dialog
  2. Ensure that the target framework is set to .NET Core 3.0.Setting target framework to .NET Core 3.0
  3. Right-click the project and select the Manage NuGet Packages… option.Manage NuGet Package Option
  4. The NuGet Package Manager window will open. Navigate to the Browse tab and search for the NuGet package that has .NET Core 3.0 support.
  5. Select the NuGet package and click Install.Installing the NuGet package
  6. A confirmation message will be displayed. Click OK. The Output window will display the NuGet installation details followed by a completion message.Installation completion message in Output Window
  7. Now, open Visual Studio toolbox to check if the control is displayed in it.Control listed in the VS Toolbox

The control’s name will be displayed along with its Namespace.

Control name (Namespace)

Conclusion

I hope this blog was helpful in configuring your NuGet package to list custom controls in the Visual Studio toolbox for .NET Core 3.0.

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