How To: Publish a ClickOnce application in Visual Studio 2010

Ever wanted an easy way to deploy an application and then publish updates/patches to it with no fuss? If so then look no further than ClickOnce applications. Here's the simple steps you need to do to get your app out there!


You need to run Visual Studio 2010 as Administrator. For instructions on how to see this please see Run Visual Studio as Administrator.

Step 1

Right click on your project file, and choose Publish... from the options. You will be presented with the following screen:

You can publish to a file path, or a server or to a website. In this instance I'll just choose the default and press Next >.

Step 2

The next stage in the wizard asks you whether you want allow the user to run the program offline (i.e. they run it locally from their own machines) or whether you want it to run from the publish location.

In my example I'm publishing my MediaPlayer, so I want people to run it from their local machine without a connection to the Internet needed.  Press Next >.

Step 3

The final stage in the wizard is to press finish on the confirmation screen. This just shows a summary of the previous steps.

Press Finish.

Step 4

Once you have clicked Finish your application will be published. In my example I am shown the web page where the application has been published to. Now, anyone who wants to install the app just needs to click Install.

Note that it shows the pre-requisites required, and also handles the Version numbering for you - pretty neat!

Publishing updates

So you have deployed your application and you need to circulate a fix? Worried you will need to uninstall/install the application everywhere again? Fear not, you just follow the steps above again and it will release the new version to everyone the next time they launch the application.

The user  then just presses ok, it downloads the new version and away you go - job done!

Version Numbering

If you want more control over the version numbering, then you can also do this. Simply right click on your project and choose Properties. Now navigate to the Publish tab and you will see the Publish Version numbering down the bottom. Now you also have an easy way to version your software.

Each time you publish you can automatically increment the version number too.

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