I am trying to learn how to develop web parts and custom solutions for SharePoint 2013. I am running into issues in building an environment suitable for development.

I have installed VS2015 along with the Office Developer Tools on my local PC. I then spun up an Azure installation of SharePoint and linked my Azure account to Visual Studio. However when I attempt to start a blank project I still get the error that it cannot locate SharePoint.

How do I set up a connection between my local Visual Studio and the SharePoint server? Do I need to install Visual Studio directly on the server and do my editing there? How do larger development houses do this?

2 Answers 2


Yes, you need to install VS directly on the server that is running SharePoint.

In my experience, for the projects I have worked on, each developer gets a single Windows Server VM where they run SQL Server and SharePoint locally as their development environment.

This article on MSDN may be of use to you as well, after a quick glance it seems to have instructions for how to set up a SharePoint development environment on Azure.



The examples you see on the internet where people are using Visual Studio on their local machines such as Windows 10 & 8, these examples are for doing development on SharePoint Online, where you would build SharePoint Add-ins. This type of development doesn't require you to have SharePoint installed on your machine.

If you want to build sandbox solutions or farm solutions and generate .wsp file, you need to install SharePoint on your machine, either it's a virtual machine on your computer, or a machine hosted in an environment such as Azure.

I've seen companies giving each employee a virtual machine on CloudShare, and each machine has SharePoint installed there with Visual Studio, and they have a TFS on a virtual machine as well to host the code.

Some other companies would have a server locally in the company, with virtual machines on that server representing TFS, Exchange, etc. and each developer would have his own powerful laptop (16GB ram), where he can install SharePoint with Visual Studio locally and commit the code to the centralized TFS server in the company.

  • Thank you for the tips, I'll need to have a rethink of how I am going to approach the project.
    – Burgi
    Dec 20, 2015 at 13:20

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