ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Develop a Standalone (EXE) C# Application

Updated on December 22, 2011

Most Microsoft .Net applications require a setup program (msi) to allow a user to install the application on a host computer. However there are times when you might need to package a C# application as a standalone exe. Meaning, you simply copy the executable to the host computer and it contains it needs to run.

To create an standalone C# application is very simple. The magic is in the compilation of the application, otherwise the rest of the application is like any other. Write your application as you would any other C# application. Standalone applications are best suited for command line (shell) applications, or desktop applications.

Here are the steps to create a standalone executable application that doesn’t require any installation or setup programs.

When you install Visual Studio, a set of utilities are installed along with the Microsoft SDK. One of these tools is the Visual Studio Command-Line Shell. You will find it in the Visual Studio folder from the Start menu under Tools.

1- Launch the Visual Studio Command Prompt (2010). You will find it under the Visual Studio Tools subfolder.

2-At the prompt enter the following commands:
a) csc (this is the C# compiler)

b) /out applicationname.exe (this flag specifies the name of the executable)

c) /reference “path and name of reference” (list the dlls that your application will needand these dlls will be packaged with the exe. Make sure to enclose the path andfilenames in double quotes if there are spaces in the path)

d) List the full path and filename of each C# file in the application

e) List full path and filename of any other file that is required for the application

Here is a sample script:

csc /out:MyCSharpApplication.exe /reference:"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Visual Studio Tools for Office\PIA\Office12\Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel.dll" C:\Users\klanguedoc\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\ProjectStandalone\ProjectStandalone\Program.cs C:\Users\klanguedoc\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\Projects\ProjectStandalone\ProjectStandalone\UpdateExcel.cs

This will compile a standalone executable. Of course you can create a batch and just run the batch file from the command prompt. Of you still to have the .Net framework installed on the host computer.

In Summary
Creating standalone applications is very easy and come in handy for different types of host devices or computers. These are also good for distributed applications which reduces complicated setup scripts.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • klanguedoc profile imageAUTHOR

      Kevin Languedoc 

      7 months ago from Canada

      are you getting an error message. Can you share

      Nayeem Akhtar

      Add them with their path on the build string


      You need the .Net framework

    • profile image

      8 months ago

      it doesn't work

    • Nayeem Akhtar profile image

      Nayeem Akhtar 

      3 years ago

      if the application contains some external dll in a folder then how i can add it in the Standalone (EXE).

    • klanguedoc profile imageAUTHOR

      Kevin Languedoc 

      6 years ago from Canada

      yes it should but you have to include the framework in the EXE. Get the re-distributable from the msdn site and add the dll reference to the inputs.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Will this work on machines without any version of .NET Framework?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)