Getting Started with Visual Basic .NET

Launch your Visual Basic .NET or Visual Studio software. When the software first loads, you'll see a screen something like this one, if you have Visual Studio Express 2012:

Visual Studio Express 2012 Software - new popup window - 40K

If you have Visual Studio Express 2013, the software will look like this:

VB NET 2013 Software - new popup window (31K)

When you first start Visual Studio Community 2015 and 2017, you'll see a screen like this one:

Visual Studio Community Edition 2015

This let's you select the colour scheme for the software. We've gone for Light, in the screenshot above. Click the Start Visual Studio button at the bottom and you'll see this screen appear.

VB NET Community 2015 - new popup window (31K)

Or this, for the 2017 edition:

VB NET Community 2017 - new popup window (31K)

There's a lot happening on the start page. But basically, this is where you can start a new project, or open an existing one. At the moment, the area bottom-left labelled Recent is blank.
When you create a project, the name you give it will be displayed here, as a hyperlink. Clicking the link will open the project.

On the left-hand side of the start screen, there are two links: "New Project" and "Open Project". To get started, click the New Project link. For Community 20017 users, you won't see the links. Instead, click File > New > Project.

Creating a new project will bring up a dialogue box. This is the dialogue box for 2012 and 2013 users:

The New Project dialogue box in Visual Studio Express 2012

Visual Studio Community 2015 is very similar, except it has more options:

New Project Dialogue Box, Visual Studio 2015

In Visual Studio Community 2017, the dialogue is slightly different, as there's not so many templates:

New Project dialogue box in Visual Studio Community 2017

Select the Visual Basic item, on the left hand side. You'll then see the type of projects you can create. As a beginner, you'll normally want the option "Windows Forms Application" (Windows Forms App in Community 2017). This means that you're going to be designing a programme to run on a computer running the Microsoft Windows operating system.

If you look in the Name textbox at the bottom, you'll see it says WindowsApplication1 or WindowsApp1. This is the default name for your projects. It's not a good idea to keep this name. After all, you don't want all of your projects to be called "WindowsApplication1", "WindowsApplication2", etc. So click inside this textbox and change this Name to the following:

My First Project

Keep the Location the same as the default. This is a folder inside of your "My Documents" folder called "Visual Studio Projects". A new folder will then be created for you, and its name will be the one you typed in the "Name" textbox. All of your files for your first project are then saved in this folder.

Click the OK button, and the Visual Basic NET design time environment will open. It will look like the following:

That's a very daunting piece of software, hey? Well, don't worry. We'll break it down bit by bit in the next few sections, and pretty soon you'll be zipping your way around it like a pro!