Xamarin + Visual Studio

Build iOS and Android apps right inside Visual Studio

Yes, it seems impossible but you can build iOS and Android apps alongside Windows apps in Visual Studio. Code can also be easily shared with Mac and Windows apps.

Developers familiar with Visual Studio can leverage existing skills and increase productivity by developing for Xamarin with Visual Studio. Visual Studio support also means that applications sharing code between iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows can be developed in the same IDE. This section will introduce Xamarin Visual Studio support, and provide guidelines for developing Xamarin applications in Visual Studio.

Support

Xamarin is available in the following editions of Visual Studio

  • Non-express editions of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2
  • Visual Studio 2015 Community, Professional, and Enterprise
  • Visual Studio 2017 Community, Professional, and Enterprise
ℹ️

To develop Xamarin.Forms apps for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) requires a minimum of Windows 10 with Visual Studio 2015.

Check out these frequently asked questions to help resolve any issues you might encounter.

Xamarin.Forms

You can create Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps - from business logic to user interface - with almost 100% common code using Xamarin.Forms in Visual Studio. You can even use our XAML syntax to declaratively build your screens, with styles, behaviors, and triggers.

Start with our documentation and free downloadable book chapters to learn more.

Android Apps

Once you've installed Xamarin for Windows you can create, build, test, and debug Android apps from within Visual Studio.

Learn from Microsoft how to build cross-platform apps for Android and Windows Phone!

Weather sample

Xamarin's Android UI Designer works in Visual Studio, letting you create your user interface by dragging and dropping controls onto each screen.

iOS Apps

Xamarin brings iOS development to Visual Studio, from UI design to C# coding, deploying, and debugging iPhone and iPad apps. You just need to have a networked Mac to take care of the compiler and host the simulator or plug in a device.

Once installed the development experience is just like any other Visual Studio project. Check out our introduction to Xamarin.iOS for Visual Studio and see how the iOS Designer works.

macOS Apps

Mac apps can be opened and compiled in Visual Studio to check for errors, however to debug or create a working executable the project must currently be built on a Mac. This limited support for Mac projects allows for easier code sharing in Visual Studio between iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac apps.

Check the release notes for more details.

Cross-Platform Apps

Using Portable Class Libraries or Shared Projects, you can write common code, to share with Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.Android, and Xamarin.Mac projects, as well as UWP, Windows, WPF, WinRT, or other C#-based platforms from inside Visual Studio. Start with our docs on setting up a cross-platform app.

Check out VisualStudio.com for more links and videos on how to build cross-platform apps with Xamarin and Visual Studio.

Xamarin Workbook

If it's not already installed, install the Xamarin Workbooks app first. The workbook file should download automatically, but if it doesn't, just click to start the workbook download manually.