ReSharper 2021.2 Help

ReSharper by Language: MSBuild

MSBuild is a platform that is widely used for building applications. Using specific XML tags, you can define how your project should be built or executed. Using ReSharper you can do it faster.

Code inspection

If you mistype names of predefined elements or their attributes, ReSharper informs you about such mismatch via highlighting.

ReSharper: Error highlighting in MSBuild

If you try to reference the property that is not yet defined, ReSharper detects such cases as well.

ReSharper: Warning highlighting in MSBuild

To look through the list of available inspections for MSBuild, open the Code Inspection | Inspection Severity page of ReSharper options (Alt+R, O), and then expand the MSBuild node.

Examples of quick-fixes

Define property

If you have not defined the property yet, but want to, use the quick-fix. ReSharper adds a new markup element with the corresponding name above the usage.

ReSharper: 'Define property' quick-fix in MSBuild

Add required attribute

If for some reason you have not added required attributes or even do not remember what attributes are obligatory for an element, do not bother. ReSharper highlights such elements and suggests the quick-fix to fix the problem.

ReSharper: 'Add required attribute' quick-fix in MSBuild

Code style assistance

You can reformat MSBuild files according to your XML formatting styles.

Code completion

Code completion features are helpful when you start typing predefined elements and their attributes. ReSharper completes them, you save your time.

ReSharper: Code completion in MSBuild

If you have custom elements and they are properly referenced, ReSharper also suggests them.

ReSharper: Code completion in MSBuild

ReSharper provides code completion capabilities for MSBuild and NAnt scripts. It suggests tags, their attributes, properties, item groups and metadata names.

ReSharper: Code completion in MSBuild

ReSharper distinguishes required elements and adds special icon, so you can easily find them in the completion list. The list includes all symbols visible in the current scope, so pick an item from the list or continue typing to narrow down the scope.

ReSharper: Code completion in MSBuild

To invoke the completion list in NAnt scripts, press Control+Space or select ReSharper | Edit | Complete Symbol from the main menu. In MSBuild scripts ReSharper does it for you, automatically.

In the completion list, use the following icons to distinguish between the types of suggested items.

Themed icon property group screen gray

represents the PropertyGroup element only

Themed icon attribute screen gray

represents attributes of elements

Themed icon item group screen gray

represents the ItemGroup element and its items

Themed icon property screen symbols vs11gray

represents properties

Themed icon target screen gray

represents the Target element and targets

Themed icon task screen gray

represents tasks

Themed icon using task screen gray

represents the UsingTask element only

Themed icon element screen gray

represents all other structure elements

To get a general idea about the structure of your build file, use the File Structure window. You can also double-click an element to navigate directly from the tree to its declaration in source code.

ReSharper: File Structure for MSBuild

Use Navigate To features to jump to the declaration of a symbol or move through found usages.

ReSharper: 'Navigate To' in MSBuild

ReSharper can find usages of properties, item groups and targets. All found usages are listed in the Find Results window.

ReSharper: 'Find Usages' in MSBuild


You can easily rename an element and get its usages updated correspondingly.

ReSharper: 'Rename' refactoring in MSBuild

You can delete elements safely. Before removing an element ReSharper performs a check whether the element has usages or not. If there are usages, they will be listed so that you can make necessary changes or discard the refactoring.

Last modified: 16 November 2021