Visual Studio 25th Anniversary2023-02-22T11:50:07-08:00

  • 2021


    Visual Studio 2021 logo

    64 bits and counting

    Visual Studio 2022, the first true 64-bit version, releases in November. For developers who work with very large projects, this change nearly eliminates their pain points with out-of-memory exceptions. This version adds Hot Reload capabilities, which can deploy code changes into running apps without needing to stop and recompile. A more sophisticated IntelliCode now suggests entire lines of code. After 25 years, Visual Studio remains the most-loved, most-trusted IDE for professional developers.

  • 2019


    Visual Studio 2019 logo

    Faster and easier than ever

    Visual Studio 2019 now includes full LiveShare integration, offering developers a powerful and indispensable way to work on code together. IntelliCode starts offering coding recommendations, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to help support developers on every line. With the goal of helping developers get to their code even faster, this version of Visual Studio introduces the Start Window to quickly navigate between recent projects.

  • 2017


    Visual Studio 2017 logo

    Getting even better with every update

    Visual Studio 2017 (initially referred to as “Visual Studio 15”) ships in March, and continues to add new features and functionality in later updates. During its lifecycle, this version of Visual Studio takes on new features like EditorConfig support, toolsets for .NET Core and Docker, and Xamarin. The debugging and IntelliSense experiences get several improvements. This is the last version of Visual Studio with support for Windows 10 Mobile projects.

  • 2015


    Visual Studio 2015 logo

    Roslyn lights up the IDE

    Visual Studio 2015 replaces the old .NET compilers with the new “Roslyn” compiler platform. As part of the Roslyn upgrade, Visual Studio adds a light bulb indicator to the margin of the code editor to help developers spot and perform common tasks more easily. In an industry first, Visual Studio 2015 offers a JSON editor with JSON Schema and support.

  • 2012


    Visual Studio 2012 logo

    Color makes a splash

    Visual Studio 2012 ships with approximately 50 million lines in its source code. It offers better syntax highlighting, which developers love. It also removes the color from some tools and icons, which developers do not love. Many, many developers report that they rely on these colors to find their place or distinguish between similar elements, something the redesign didn’t account for. After hearing the feedback, the color comes back. Some developers also have strong objections that the menu bar in this version, which uses all capital letters, is too hard to read.

  • 2010


    Visual Studio 2010 logo

    UI overhaul

    For Visual Studio 2010, the IDE shell is entirely rewritten using WPF. The product team makes numerous improvements to the user interface and user experience, with better support for multiple monitors and open windows. Database support now includes IBM D2 and Oracle, in addition to Microsoft SQL Server. Web developers now have integrated Microsoft Silverlight support, including an interactive designer.

  • 2005


    Visual Studio 2005 logo

    Visual Studio for free

    Visual Studio Express releases as a free version with a simplified IDE and a smaller feature set, designed for beginners to get up and running quickly. Visual Studio 2005 ships with even more support for .NET development, plus new features for databases and web apps. While Visual Studio itself remains a 32-bit application, this version introduces compiler support for 64-bit architectures and a new task-based build platform, MSBuild, that uses an XML-based project file format.

  • 2002


    Visual Studio 2002 cover image

    Our first truly unified IDE

    Visual Studio .NET ships, introducing both C++ extensions and managed code through the .NET Framework. This third major version of Visual Studio supports C# and .NET for WinForms desktop apps and ASP.NET web apps. This is the first Visual Studio with a unified shell, which presents some unusual UX challenges for the product team: basic commands like “File > New” aren’t the same in Visual Basic and Visual C++. Getting everything to work together requires each menu item to be re-negotiated.

  • 1998


    Visual Studio 1998 cover image

    Visual Studio 6.0

    The second version of Visual Studio ships under the name “Visual Studio 6.0.” (To coincide with the flagship product Visual Basic 6.0, and to avoid a misconception that developers may think “Visual Studio 2.0” is a downgrade by comparison.) This is the last version that includes Visual J++, and the last that runs on Windows 95 or Windows 98.

  • 1997


    Visual Studio 1997 cover image

    The original Visual Studio

    At the beginning of the “programmable web”, and determined to compete in the Java tooling space, Microsoft bundles its developer tooling for multiple languages into one package, containing Visual C++, Visual Basic, Visual FoxPro, Visual InterDev, and Visual J++. The result, Visual Studio 1997, is essentially an installer for a collection of separate products, beginning the journey toward a fully integrated development environment.

Check out the event sizzle reel

Every release there’s more functionality… As Visual Studio continues to grow — we’re at 25 years now — I can’t wait to see how powerful this tool is when it gets to 50.

— Zach Fuller, Principal Product Lead, Visual Studio 2022 user.

‘VS’ stands for ‘virtual swag’


Gorgeous high-resolution images for your desktop or Microsoft Teams background.

3D models

Printable 3D models of the original and current Visual Studio product icons.


Exclusive celebratory color themes for Visual Studio 2022.

Explore Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2022

Version 17.1

The best comprehensive IDE for .NET and C++ developers on Windows. Fully packed with a sweet array of tools and features to elevate and enhance every stage of software development.

What’s your Visual Studio story?

Share your favorite Visual Studio memories with #MyVSStory by March 17 for a chance to be featured on our stream.

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