ReSharper DevGuide

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Running and Debugging an Extension

In order to manually test or debug your plugin, it must first be installed into an instance of ReSharper. Currently, this initial install is a manual step, details of which can be found in the Initial Installation guide (our intention is to make this easier in future versions of the SDK). Once the plugin has been initially installed, it can be updated automatically by modifying the project to copy updated files on build.

It is strongly recommended to install ReSharper and your plugin into an experimental instance of Visual Studio. This allows the assembly to be updated while compiling. If the plugin being tested/debugged is installed in the main instance of Visual Studio, all instances of VS need to be closed before the plugin can be updated. If the plugin is installed in a different instance of Visual Studio to the solution used to build the plugin, the plugin’s assemblies can be updated without restarting all instances of Visual Studio.

Once installed, the extension is loaded as part of ReSharper.


To debug an extension, simply attach a debugger to an instance of Visual Studio that will run the plugin.

  1. Set the properties of the plugin project to start Visual Studio (e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\Visual Studio 12.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe for Visual Studio 2013). Also set the command line to run in the appropriate experimental instance, e.g. /rootSuffix Plugins will run Visual Studio in the “Plugins” experimental instance.
  2. Start Visual Studio with F5 or Ctrl+F5. Using F5 may have performance implications as .net disables optimisations for applications started under the debugger. With an application the size of Visual Studio, this can have a notable impact on performance. If this is the case, use Ctrl+F5 - Visual Studio will start quicker, you can attach (look for the devenv.exe process) and debug as normal.

If debugging a plugin installed into a standalone host such as dotPeek, simply change the startup executable to point to the host. The standalone applications are installed to %LOCALAPPDATA%\JetBrains\Installations\{HostFullIdentifier}. The /rootSuffix argument is not needed.

If the plugin doesn’t load, see the Troubleshooting section.

Last modified: 10 July 2017