Enable Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 in Visual Studio 2012, 2010 and 2008

Web Service Enhancements 3 (WSE 3) is not officially supported since Visual Studio 2008. The reason is that Microsoft wants you to migrate your code to WCF. See below to enable Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 in VS2012, VS2010 and VS2008.

1. Download and install Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 for Microsoft .NET. Make sure you have all the files after installing WSE v3.0. In Window 7 the location is “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft WSE\v3.0\Tools”. Note: Close Visual Studio before installing.

WSE 3.0 DLL on Window 7

WSE 3.0 DLL on Window 7

WSE 3.0 DLL on Window XP

WSE 3.0 DLL on Window XP

2. Go to the folder %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\MSEnvShared\AddIns (notice that “Application Data” is hardcoded, which shouldn’t because Windows XP localizes that folder). If the folder is not there close Visual Studio and create the folder as show below.

– Windows XP: “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\MSEnvShared\AddIns”
– Windows Vista / Windows 7: “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\MSEnvShared\AddIns”. ( This is a hidden folder. Copy paste the UNC path to Windows Explorer.)

3. In the folder in step 2 you will find WSESettingsVS3.AddIn file. Backup WSESettingsVS3.AddIn before modifying. If its not there then create one with the file name WSESettingsVS3.Addin and type the content from the picture shown in step 4.

4. You’ll find two sections. Note that the version is 8.0. Copy and paste these two sections and change the version of the new sections to 9.0 (if using Visual Studio 2008) or 10.0 (if using Visual Studio 2010) or 11.0 (if using Visual Studio 2012). Save the file.

VS2012 WSE3.0 WSESettingsVS3.AddIn file

VS2012 WSE3.0 WSESettingsVS3.AddIn file

5. Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE (if using VS2012) or C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE (if using VS2008) or C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE (if using VS 2010) and open the devenv.exe.config file. Backup the devenv.exe.config file and add the following snippet just above the closing tag inside the file. This helps Visual Studio to generate web service proxy classes using WSE.

Visual Studio Devenv.exe.config file

Visual Studio Devenv.exe. config file

      <add type="Microsoft.Web.Services3.Description.WseExtensionImporter,
       Microsoft.Web.Services3, Version=,
       Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" />

7. Close all the instances of Visual Studio and start the application again.

8. Open your project in Visual Studio and right click on project to see the WSE Setting 3.0 option. Now you could configure WSE setting in Visual Studio. Good luck.

WSE Setting 3.0 on VS2012 menu

WSE Setting 3.0 on VS2012 menu

WSE Setting 3.0 under VS2010 project

WSE Setting 3.0 under VS2010 project


Default .AddIn file locations for Visual Studio add-ins
How to use WSE 3 in Visual Studio 2008
Migrating WSE 3.0 Web Services to WCF
WSE 3.0 Setting Tool For Visual Studio 2008
How to use WSE 3 in Visual Studio 2008
How to use WSE 3 in Visual Studio 2010

Diganta Kumar is an experienced Technical Program Manager with a passion for technology. He has architected and developed software for over a decade for a broad range of industries. Diganta is a founder of two online IT businesses. He likes to help, mentor, and manage software development teams to improve and produce great software. He currently works as a Principal Program Manager for Microsoft. Before joining Microsoft, he was with AWS for five years, where he managed large cross-functional programs on a global scale.

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Posted in ASP.NET, C#, Visual Studio
69 comments on “Enable Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 in Visual Studio 2012, 2010 and 2008
  1. #Coder says:

    Thank you – works like a charm! One thing to note is that if you copy/paste the code above, you may need to manually enter the double quotes found in the add element to avoid syntax errors.

  2. jet says:

    Thank you! Works great. And thanks for the heads up on the double quotes too.

  3. Thanasekaran says:

    Thank you much. This was really helpful.
    I would like to add this, please make sure you select Visual Studio Developer optin when you install WSE3.0 extension. Also you need to enable WES3.0 from project. In visual studion, right click on the project and select WSE Settings 3.0 and enable the option from popup dialog.

    Hope this might helpe if some needs to know how to enable the extension after the above setup.

    Thanks again.

  4. Vu Nguyen Hai Dang says:

    I use vs2010 and win 7 ultimate. After instal wse3.0, i can’t find this folder : C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\MSEnvShared\Addins
    Please help me!

  5. Swami says:

    Wonderful article and saved me tonnes of time from installing vs 2005.

  6. i have a problem.
    i do everthing and i then i use in my code:

    using Microsoft.Web.Services3.Design;

    (its an example)

    but then when i Start Debuggin its appears:
    The type or namespace name ‘Web’ does not exist in the namespace ‘Microsoft’ (are you missing an assembly reference?)

    and i need to addit again but every time i start debugging the reference is missing. u_u

    can you help me please?

  7. it works! thanks.

    But only in framework 3.5 and below.

    its the a way to make it work with framework 4.0?

    it works references in 4.0 but then i compile it and it doesnt find the references anymore:

    The referenced assembly “Microsoft.Web.Services3, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35, processorArchitecture=MSIL” could not be resolved because it has a dependency on “System.Web, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a” which is not in the currently targeted framework “.NETFramework,Version=v4.0,Profile=Client”. Please remove references to assemblies not in the targeted framework or consider retargeting your project.

    thanks in advance!

  8. Thanks..it helped a lot..

  9. Natalia says:

    Thank you very much for this information. Your help has been great!

  10. AnkurV says:

    Did the steps exactly as given but WSE Settings 3.0 option is still not comming when I right click on project. Trying with VS2010 and Windows Server 2008R2.

    After installation of WSE 3.0 Addin file was not there so created manually under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\MSEnvShared\AddIns

  11. pardhu says:

    It worked for the first time but after restarting my machine this option is not showing on the right click menu of the project. First time worked application is compiling successfully but if I tried to add reference of the dll in another project even that way is also not working. What could be the reason?

  12. […] Visual Studio 2005. If you need the same addin to be added to VS 2008 or 2010 please follow this link. We use this link the create the proxy class for the web service that we are going to use in our […]

  13. Omer Khayyam says:

    great work

  14. lorisgia says:

    Thank you so much. This is just what I need!.

  15. lorisgia says:

    Thank you so much!. This is just what I need it! Keep doing a great job!

  16. venkat says:

    Hey thanks !!! that worked like charm

  17. Graham says:

    Solution also works when trying to install Visual Studio 2005 and WSE 3.0 on Windows 7, although WSE 3 appears fine it does not build the wse class in the imported web service, devenv.exe.config does not get set up correctly by the WSE 3 installer, manually adding in the fix above get it working

  18. WSE3…

      This is useful when trying to get WSE3 running in Visual Studio 2010:  …

  19. vipin says:

    Very Very nice. I got Solution…..

  20. Brian McLaughlin says:

    Thank you very much, you are the man.

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  22. HyeonGu Kwon says:

    Thanks for this article. I’ve got finally added WSE in Visual Studio 2008.
    I appreciated it !!
    I’ve had link of this article on my blog to review this some day later.
    Please let me know if you mind, then I’ll remove it.
    Good luck 😀

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  25. Charlie says:

    Great article,Thanks very much 🙂

  26. youga says:

    ive tryed those steps in windows 7 ultimate 64bit but i get problem when i open vs2010
    even thou it worked fine with windows xp

  27. Fernando says:

    Man you saved me a lot of time. Thanks!

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  34. VS2013 User says:

    Diganta – Could you update this excellent post to include “Visual Studio Community 2013”.

  35. Luis says:

    Has anyone been able to replicate this on VS 2013 or 2015?

  36. Luis says:

    This could work on VS2012 Express?

  37. Manu Vishwakarma says:

    Excellent and comprehensive configuration article.

  38. Erik says:

    Hi, how do you incorporate these to VS2015?

  39. Erik says:

    hello sir,

    is it possible to operate with this in visual studio 2015? I couldn’t make it work…

  40. Kristian0 says:

    Now Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 is available on Nuget Gallery as an indipendent library (.dll). Worked for me on VS2015 https://www.nuget.org/packages/Microsoft.Web.Services3/

    • Erik says:

      Than you sir, I’ll check it out.

      • Erik says:

        Hi Sir.
        I just didn’t manage to establish the Proxy with wse class included, even after importing wse dll through nuget manager. Did anyone manage to get the thing worked?

      • Kristian0 says:

        You need first to configure WSE for use it, but the WSE Menu option doesn’t appear because a simple external library (Microsoft.Web.Services3.dll) cannot add a menu option in Visual Studio (only an Visual Studio extension can do it). But don’t worry, there is a simple solution : write directly into web.config the configuration that you need (that the WSE Menu automatically would wrote for you). But you need some configuration examples, i suppose!

        Download the source code of those projects and read the web.config
        – An old .NET 2.0 project that use WSE with MTOM protocol (path /WebService/web.config)

        – A project with WCF and WSE (path /StandardWS/web.config)

        It worked for me!

        And be careful to set the value of the attribute “serverMode” of MTOM item inside web.config, if you want to use the MTOM protocol

        In the first example that i have suggested, his value is “Always”, in the second is “optional”. Try both and find what work for you…

  41. Erik D. says:

    Hi Sir.

    Thank you very much for your input and all the invested effort for helping me.
    But I dont’t know anymore what is wrong. Considering links that you have suggested, I have tried changing web.config file from the project and also devenv.xml file of the VS. It doesn’t make any difference – my proxies are still generated without WSE partial classes. It became very frustrating now…
    Regards, Erik D.

  42. Erik D. says:

    Thank you sir for all the effort helping me. But it just wont work. I have manually set the config as it should be, but the WSE method just wont appear in the generated Proxy. It’s just frustrating… VS wont grab assemblly…

  43. […] Enable Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 in Visual … – Web Service Enhancements 3 (WSE 3) is not officially supported since Visual Studio 2008. The reason is that Microsoft wants you to migrate your code to WCF. See … […]

  44. […] Enable Web Services Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 in Visual … – See below to enable Web Services Enhancements (WSE) … Posted in ASP.NET, … Follow “Diganta Kumar’s Blog … […]

  45. […] SOAP with the correct security headers but this was depreciated post VS2005. It was possible to hack the add-in into newer Visual Studio versions  but this doesn’t work in VS2015 and to be honest it is time to move […]

  46. Craig Henderson says:

    I cannot find the devenv.exe.config file in the following location:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE
    I’m using VS 2012 Express

  47. Craig Henderson says:

    Never mind! It’s called WDExpress.exe.config on my version

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  49. Kiran Patel says:

    Confirmed to be working on Visual studio 2013 (12.0) also. Main point which I missed while configuration was following:

    Add below in WSESettingsVS3.AddIn file:

    Microsoft Visual Studio Macros

    Microsoft Visual Studio

    and perform the remaining step as mentioned in article and do the following:
    1. Go to Tools – Options – Environment – Add-in Security where Visual Studio
    2. Add path [Windows Installation Drive]:\ProgramData\Microsoft\MSEnvShared\Addins (Window 10) to Add-in
    3. Restart the Visual studio 2013 and you are good to go

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