Getting Started with C++ in Visual Studio

This guide will help you become familiar with many of the tools and dialog boxes that you can use when you develop applications in C++ with Visual Studio. We'll create a "Hello, World" - style console application to help you learn more about working in this IDE.


To follow along, you need a copy of Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3 or later, with the Desktop development with C++ workload installed. For a fast guide to installation, see Install C++ support in Visual Studio(

Create a console app

  • Start Visual Studio
  • To create a console app project, choose File > New > Project to open the New Project dialog box.
  • In the New Project dialog, select Installed > Visual C++ if it isn't selected already. In the center pane, select the Windows Console Application template. In the Name edit box, enter MyFirstApp. Note: If you don't see Visual C++ project templates, you need to run the Visual Studio installer again and install the Desktop development with C++ workload. You can do this directly from the New Project dialog.
  • Choose the OK button to create your app project and solution.
  • The MyFirstApp.cpp file will open in the code editor. They'll also appear in the solution explorer on the left.

Add your code

  • The MyFirstApp.cpp file opened in the code editor will have some amount of code in it already.
  • Before the return 0; line, add: std::cout << "Hello\n";
  • Save the changes to this file and project using Ctrl + S.

Build Your Application

It's easy to build your code. On the menu bar, choose Build > Build Solution. Visual Studio builds the MyFirstApp solution, and reports progress in the Output window at the bottom.

Debug and test your Application

Once your solution is built(or in C++ speak, compiled), you can debug it to see whether Hello appears in the output console.

  • To start the debugger, choose Debug > Start Debugging on the menu bar.
  • The debugger starts and runs the code. The console window (a separate window that looks like a command prompt) appears for a few seconds but closes quickly when the debugger stops running. To see the text, you need to set a breakpoint to stop program execution.
  • To add a breakpoint in your program,  click in the left margin to set a breakpoint on the return 0; line.
  • Debug the app again using F5(shortcut). You'll see the output of your code. To stop debugging, press Shift + F5.

You can find a detailed version of this guide at