Download MSBuild Structured Log Viewer Open Online Structured Log Viewer

or, install from WinGet:

C:\> winget install KirillOsenkov.MSBuildStructuredLogViewer

or, install from Chocolatey:

C:\> choco install msbuild-structured-log-viewer

Instructions for Mac

dotnet build -bl

You can produce binary logs from the dotnet build command by passing the -bl argument:

dotnet build -bl

msbuild /bl

Pass /bl to record all build events to a binary log file:

Double-click the .binlog file to open it in MSBuild Structured Log Viewer:

Using MSBUILDDEBUGENGINE=1 to get full binlogs from Visual Studio

There are known limitations in binlogs obtained via the Project System Tools. Instead, try setting the MSBUILDDEBUGENGINE=1 environment variable as described here.

Visual Studio Project System Tools

You can install the Visual Studio Project System Tools Extension (unsupported) to investigate builds inside Visual Studio:

Project System Tools (2019 and below)
Project System Tools 2022

Replaying a .binlog to reconstruct text logs

You can pass a .binlog file to MSBuild instead of a project/solution to replay it to other loggers, as if a real build was happening. This allows you to reconstruct a text log of any verbosity given the .binlog file. Read more at:

Binary log advantages

Read more about the new MSBuild binary log format (*.binlog)

Viewer Features

The MSBuild Structured Log Viewer can build projects and solutions or open existing log files:

Leverage the source code of projects and targets embedded in the log file:

The viewer supports two file formats:

  1. *.binlog (official MSBuild binary log format, produced by msbuild.exe /bl
  2. *.xml (for large human-readable XML logs)

The viewer can read all formats and can save to *.xml.

See here for the list of viewer features

Sensitive data redaction

Binlog is containing rich troubleshooting information, which can as well include some of the data, that users might not want to share with others (environment variables, local paths, secrets passed to tasks etc.) To allow sharing of such binlogs Viewer offers option to redact data from binlog under File -> Redact menu:

Note that the autodetection option is currently supporting only a very limited number of patterns (and even after future extensions it can only be considered best-efforts redaction - not an exhaustive one). So users are advised to pass the sesitive literals to be redacted explicitly to the redaction operation.

Command-line help for the /bl switch

See MSBuild command-line help msbuild /? for more information on the /bl switch. The switch is available starting with MSBuild 15.3 (Visual Studio 2017 Update 3 or newer).

/binaryLogger[:[LogFile=]output.binlog[;ProjectImports={None,Embed,ZipFile}]] Serializes all build events to a compressed binary file. By default the file is in the current directory and named "msbuild.binlog". The binary log is a detailed description of the build process that can later be used to reconstruct text logs and used by other analysis tools. A binary log is usually 10-20x smaller than the most detailed text diagnostic-level log, but it contains more information. (Short form: /bl) The binary logger by default collects the source text of project files, including all imported projects and target files encountered during the build. The optional ProjectImports switch controls this behavior: ProjectImports=None - Don't collect the project imports. ProjectImports=Embed - Embed project imports in the log file. ProjectImports=ZipFile - Save project files to where output is the same name as the binary log file name. The default setting for ProjectImports is Embed. Note: the logger does not collect non-MSBuild source files such as .cs, .cpp etc. A .binlog file can be "played back" by passing it to msbuild.exe as an argument instead of a project/solution. Other loggers will receive the information contained in the log file as if the original build was happening. You can read more about the binary log and its usages at: Examples: /bl /bl:output.binlog /bl:output.binlog;ProjectImports=None /bl:output.binlog;ProjectImports=ZipFile /bl:..\..\custom.binlog /binaryLogger

Recording a binary log with older versions of MSBuild

The built-in /bl switch was only introduced in MSBuild 15.3 (Visual Studio 2017 Update 3). However there is a way to record a binary log with previous versions of MSBuild as well. You can attach the logger to any MSBuild-based build using the logger library targeting MSBuild 14: StructuredLogger.dll. It is available in a NuGet package:


Or you could download it directly here:

Use a command-line such as this to pass the BinaryLogger to MSBuild:

msbuild solution.sln /t:Rebuild /v:diag /noconlog /logger:BinaryLogger,StructuredLogger.dll;1.binlog

Investigating IDE and design-time builds inside Visual Studio

Use the Project System Tools Visual Studio extension to record binary logs of IDE and design-time builds.

See more information about design-time builds here:

Security Warning

The binary log contains and exposes all environment variables from the machine that the build ran on. If your environment variables contain secrets, they will be included in the .binlog file in plaintext.

Additionally, the source code of all project (.csproj) and targets files (.props, .targets, etc) is embedded in the .binlog file as well.

Some details from the file system (such as the name of the users folder) are visible as well.

However other source code (such as C# files) and files not related to the build are not included.

Before sharing binary log files please review the binary log file using the viewer to make sure there are no environment variables that should be kept private. Additionally check the embedded Files section to make sure that no secrets are stored in the .csproj files.

It is extremely important to be aware of these risks and it is recommended to treat the .binlog files like you treat your source code.

Reading MSBuild .binlogs programmatically

Reference the MSBuild.StructuredLogger NuGet package. All you need is to reference StructuredLogger.dll from that package.

You may also need to reference MSBuild Microsoft.Build.Framework.

There are various APIs for various scenarios. A high-level API to read a .binlog file into a tree structure that you normally see in the viewer is:

using System; using Microsoft.Build.Logging.StructuredLogger; class BinaryLogReadBuild { static void Main(string[] args) { string binLogFilePath = @"C:\temp\test.binlog"; var buildRoot = BinaryLog.ReadBuild(binLogFilePath); buildRoot.VisitAllChildren<CscTask>(c => Console.WriteLine(c.CommandLineArguments)); } }

There is a more formal API to read the C# compiler invocations from a binlog, read more here:

If you need a lower-level API to read the raw .binlog records yourself you can use BinLogReader.ReadRecords(string binLogFilePath):

using System; using Microsoft.Build.Framework; using Microsoft.Build.Logging; using Microsoft.Build.Logging.StructuredLogger; class BinLogReader { static void Main(string[] args) { string binLogFilePath = @"C:\temp\test.binlog"; var binLogReader = new BinLogReader(); foreach (var record in binLogReader.ReadRecords(binLogFilePath)) { var buildEventArgs = record.Args; // print command lines of all tool tasks such as Csc if (buildEventArgs is TaskCommandLineEventArgs taskCommandLine) { Console.WriteLine(taskCommandLine.CommandLine); } } } }

Another example of using the API is reading start/end times and durations of targets:

Source code on GitHub

The MSBuild Structured Log Viewer project is open-source on GitHub at:

The Online Structured Log Viewer is open-source on GitHub at:

This webpage is also open-source at: