c# - number - visual studio assembly version

Can I automatically increment the file build version when using Visual Studio? (16)

I was just wondering how I could automatically increment the build (and version?) of my files using Visual Studio (2005).

If I look up the properties of say C:\Windows\notepad.exe, the Version tab gives "File version: 5.1.2600.2180". I would like to get these cool numbers in the version of my dll's too, not version, which let's face it is a bit dull.

I tried a few things, but it doesn't seem to be out-of-box functionality, or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong place (as usual).

I work with mainly web projects....

I looked at both:

  1. http://www.codeproject.com/KB/dotnet/Auto_Increment_Version.aspx
  2. http://www.codeproject.com/KB/dotnet/build_versioning.aspx

and I couldn't believe it so much effort to do something is standard practice.

EDIT: It does not work in VS2005 as far I can tell (http://www.codeproject.com/KB/dotnet/AutoIncrementVersion.aspx)

How to get the version {major}.{year}.1{date}.1{time}

This one is kind of experimental, but I like it. Inspired by Jeff Atwood @ CodingHorror (link).

The resulting version number becomes 1.2016.10709.11641 (meaning 2016-07-09 16:41), which allows for

  • poor mans zero padding (with the stupid leading 1s)
  • nearly-human readable local DateTime embedded into the version number
  • leaving Major version alone for really major breaking changes.

Add a new item to your project, select General -> Text Template, name it something like CustomVersionNumber and (where applicable) comment out the AssemblyVersion and AssemblyFileVersion in Properties/AssemblyInfo.cs.

Then, when saving this file, or building the project, this will regenerate a .cs file located as a sub-item under the created .tt file.

<#@ template language="C#" #>
<#@ assembly name="System.Core" #>
<#@ import namespace="System.Linq" #>

// This code was generated by a tool. Any changes made manually will be lost
// the next time this code is regenerated.

using System.Reflection;

    var date = DateTime.Now;
    int major = 1;
    int minor = date.Year;
    int build = 10000 + int.Parse(date.ToString("MMdd"));
    int revision = 10000 + int.Parse(date.ToString("HHmm"));

[assembly: AssemblyVersion("<#= $"{major}.{minor}.{build}.{revision}" #>")]
[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("<#= $"{major}.{minor}.{build}.{revision}" #>")]

Cake supports AssemblyInfo files patching. With cake in hands you have infinite ways to implement automatic version incrementing.

Simple example of incrementing version like C# compiler does:

Setup(() =>
    // Executed BEFORE the first task.
    var datetimeNow = DateTime.Now;
    var daysPart = (datetimeNow - new DateTime(2000, 1, 1)).Days;
    var secondsPart = (long)datetimeNow.TimeOfDay.TotalSeconds/2;
    var assemblyInfo = new AssemblyInfoSettings
        Version = "",
        FileVersion = string.Format("3.0.{0}.{1}", daysPart, secondsPart)
    CreateAssemblyInfo("MyProject/Properties/AssemblyInfo.cs", assemblyInfo);


  • Version - is assembly version. Best practice is to lock major version number and leave remaining with zeroes (like "").
  • FileVersion - is assembly file version.

Note that you can patch not only versions but also all other necessary information.

Another option for changing version numbers in each build is to use the Version task of MSBuild.Community.Tasks. Just download their installer, install it, then adapt the following code and paste it after <Import Project="$(MSBuildBinPath)\Microsoft.CSharp.targets" /> in your .csproj file:

<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\MSBuildCommunityTasks\MSBuild.Community.Tasks.Targets" />
<Target Name="BeforeBuild">
    <Version VersionFile="Properties\version.txt" Major="1" Minor="0" BuildType="Automatic" StartDate="12/31/2009" RevisionType="BuildIncrement">
      <Output TaskParameter="Major" PropertyName="Major" />
      <Output TaskParameter="Minor" PropertyName="Minor" />
      <Output TaskParameter="Build" PropertyName="Build" />
      <Output TaskParameter="Revision" PropertyName="Revision" />
    <AssemblyInfo CodeLanguage="CS"
                  AssemblyFileVersion="$(Major).$(Minor).$(Build).$(Revision)" />

Note: Adapt the StartDate property to your locale. It currently does not use the invariant culture.

For the third build on January 14th, 2010, this creates a VersionInfo.cs with this content:

[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0")]
[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("")]

This file then has to be added to the project (via Add existing item), and the AssemblyVersion and AssemblyFileVersion lines have to be removed from AssemblyInfo.cs.

The different algorithms for changing the version components are described in $(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\MSBuildCommunityTasks\MSBuild.Community.Tasks.chm and Version Properties.

As of right now, for my application,

string ver = Application.ProductVersion;

returns ver = 1.0.3251.27860

The value 3251 is the number of days since 1/1/2000. I use it to put a version creation date on the splash screen of my application. When dealing with a user, I can ask the creation date which is easier to communicate than some long number.

(I'm a one-man dept supporting a small company. This approach may not work for you.)

Each time I do a build it auto-increments the least-significant digit.

I don't have any idea how to update the others, but you should at least be seeing that already...

Go to Project | Properties and then Assembly Information and then Assembly Version and put an * in the last or the second-to-last box (you can't auto-increment the Major or Minor components).

I have created an application to increment the file version automatically.

  1. Download Application
  2. add the following line to pre-build event command line

    C:\temp\IncrementFileVersion.exe $(SolutionDir)\Properties\AssemblyInfo.cs

  3. Build the project

To keep it simple the app only throws messages if there is an error, to confirm it worked fine you will need to check the file version in 'Assembly Information'

Note : You will have to reload the solution in Visual studio for 'Assembly Information' button to populate the fields, however your output file will have the updated version.

For suggestions and requests please email me at [email protected]

I'm using this approach https://.com/a/827209/3975786 by placing the T4 template in a "Solution Items" and using it with "Add as Link" within each project.

Maybe, for this task, you can use code like this:

    private bool IncreaseFileVersionBuild()
        if (System.Diagnostics.Debugger.IsAttached)
                var fi = new DirectoryInfo(AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory).Parent.Parent.GetDirectories("Properties")[0].GetFiles("AssemblyInfo.cs")[0];
                var ve = System.Diagnostics.FileVersionInfo.GetVersionInfo(System.Reflection.Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().Location);
                string ol = ve.FileMajorPart.ToString() + "." + ve.FileMinorPart.ToString() + "." + ve.FileBuildPart.ToString() + "." + ve.FilePrivatePart.ToString();
                string ne = ve.FileMajorPart.ToString() + "." + ve.FileMinorPart.ToString() + "." + (ve.FileBuildPart + 1).ToString() + "." + ve.FilePrivatePart.ToString();
                System.IO.File.WriteAllText(fi.FullName, System.IO.File.ReadAllText(fi.FullName).Replace("[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion(\"" + ol + "\")]", "[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion(\"" + ne + "\")]"));
                return true;
                return false;
        return false;

and call it from form loading.
With this code you can update any part of file info in AssemblyInfo.cs (but you must use "standard" directory structure).

Set the version number to "1.0.*" and it will automatically fill in the last two number with the date (in days from some point) and the time (half the seconds from midnight)

There is a visual studio extension Automatic Versions which supports Visual Studio 2012, 2013, 2015 & 2017.

Screen Shots

To get incrementing (DateTime) information into the AssemblyFileVersion property which has the advantage of not breaking any dependencies.

Building on Boog's solution (did not work for me, maybe because of VS2008?), you can use a combination of a pre-build event generating a file, adding that file (including its version properties) and then using a way to read out those values again. That is..


echo [assembly:System.Reflection.AssemblyFileVersion("%date:~-4,4%.%date:~-7,2%%date:~-10,2%.%time:~0,2%%time:~3,2%.%time:~-5,2%")] > $(ProjectDir)Properties\VersionInfo.cs

Include the resulting VersionInfo.cs file (Properties subfolder) into your project

Code to get Date back (years down to seconds):

var version = assembly.GetName().Version;
var fileVersionString = System.Diagnostics.FileVersionInfo.GetVersionInfo(assembly.Location).FileVersion;
Version fileVersion = new Version(fileVersionString);
var buildDateTime = new DateTime(fileVersion.Major, fileVersion.Minor/100, fileVersion.Minor%100, fileVersion.Build/100, fileVersion.Build%100, fileVersion.Revision);

Not very comfortable.. also, I do not know if it creates a lot of force-rebuilds (since a file always changes).

You could make it smarter for example if you only update the VersionInfo.cs file every few minutes/hours (by using a temporary file and then copying/overwriting the real VersionInfo.cs if a change large enough is detected). I did this once pretty successfully.

Use the AssemblyInfo task from the MSBuild Community Tasks (http://msbuildtasks.tigris.org/) project, and integrate it into your .csproj/.vbproj file.

It has a number of options, including one to tie the version number to the date and time of day.


open up the AssemblyInfo.cs file and change

// You can specify all the values or you can default the Build and Revision Numbers 
// by using the '*' as shown below:
// [assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.*")]
[assembly: AssemblyVersion("")]
[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("")]


[assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.*")]
//[assembly: AssemblyFileVersion("")]

you can do this in IDE by going to project -> properties -> assembly information

This however will only allow you to auto increment the Assembly version and will give you the

Assembly File Version: A wildcard ("*") is not allowed in this field

message box if you try place a * in the file version field.

So just open up the assemblyinfo.cs and do it manually.