Add, edit, rename, and delete files in the web browser with Visual Studio Online and TFS 2015

Back in the December 17th update, we added the ability to make changes to files in the web UI, and it works for both TFVC and Git. Edit is easy to find, since it’s right above the content on the screen.

Add, rename, and delete are available through drop down menus. Let’s take a look at where those are.

To add files, you need to click on the triangle beside the parent folder. In that same menu, you can also rename or delete the folder as well as download the folder as zip file.


When adding files, I can either choose to create a new file, which will then take me to the editor in the browser, or I can upload existing files by dragging and dropping or by browsing.


When you add or edit a file, don’t forget to update the comment to something meaningful – it’s the text beside your avatar.


To rename or delete a file, you need to click the triangle beside the file’s name to get the drop down menu to appear.


While all of my screen shots are with TFVC, this all works with Git repos as well.


For TFVC, saving an edit checks in the change unless you have gated checkin configured. If you are using gated checkin, your change will be submitted if the build passes. If you have continuous integration enabled, saving the file will trigger a build.

For Git, saving will by default commit your change. You have the option of committing to a new branch and issuing a pull request. To do that, click the triangle beside the save icon.


Then you’ll have the opportunity to name the branch.


If you go with the default option to create a pull request, you’ll be taken to the pull request experience automatically.



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Comments (13)

  1. DS19 says:

    How it will work with on-premise TFS?

    The check-in policies will be skipped?

  2. Matt Ring says:

    Thanks for the tip Buck. Can you talk a little about how this may impact TFVC Workspaces? Today, there are workspace mapping implications if you try and upload a file that exists outside your local workspace (I believe Team Explorer will add a mapping folder entry to the active Workspace). Doing this often can lead to an unweildy local workspace. Does this approach help to get around that side-effect?



  3. buckh says:

    DS19, yes, it will work on-premises in TFS 2015.

    Yes, checkin policies will be skipped. Those are client-side only. If you have gated checkin configured, the build would validate them.

  4. buckh says:

    Matt, if you want an easy way to add/change a file in a random place where you can do it from the web (i.e., you don't need to build and run tests), it's definitely more convenient, and it won't affect your workspace mappings.

  5. Matt Ring says:

    Thanks Buck. I never said it was a good practice… ; ) Just that I do get this scenario on occasion (for example, when adding static files / PScripts that may not be managed within a Visual Studio project).

  6. buckh says:

    Yeah, it makes sense for that, Readme files, and lots of others (I've even fixed some comments in code that way). The other thing that's particularly convenient for TFVC is being able to delete something, particularly large folders, without having them locally.

  7. Thanks for this post, Buck. I am trying to check in existing code from the file system into the repository for the first time, and I have to use the web interface as in your article, as the client uses VS08 and I don't have the VS08 SP1 with the GDR required to use TFVC ready yet. On your post you show a screenshot with a drag and drop area under a radio button that says "Upload existing files". On my screen I do not have that radio button. I only see "Add new or replace existing files…". Would you know why would that be the case? Or how could I check in existing files and folders?



  8. Buck Hodges says:

    Mauricio, I tried a couple of my accounts, and I got the options as shown in the screenshots above. Which browser and version are you using? I did my tests with Chrome and Edge.

  9. TFSUser says:

    Buckh, Is there a way to create folders using web browser? if the feature is not currently available is this something that we can expect in the near future. Any tentative dates? Are there any other tools that can perform this using web browser

    1. Hi TFS User,

      As one of the ALM Rangers I’m currently working on an extension that you can find at the Marketplace for free ( Extension will also be supported on-premises. For now, you can install this extension into your Visual Studio Team Services account.

      If you have questions or feedback, feel free to contact the ALM Rangers.


  10. Jon says:

    We’ve been given guidance from Microsoft to use check-in policies to help with audit controls. I didn’t realize until now that when we went through our TFS 2015 on-prem upgrade we created an open door to circumvent those policies. This completely takes the ground out from under us when we have to answer audit questions.
    I know the TFS team uses feature flags. Surely there is a way to disable this feature as a stop-gap for us?

  11. Pero says:

    Being able to circumvent check-in policies has quite serious implications for a lot of organizations from an audit perspective. Being able to disable the feature or maybe having it as a specific permission (so it could be applied at a branch level) would be desirable. Are there any plans in the pipeline for this?

    1. Buck Hodges says:

      Jon and Pero, sorry for not responding sooner. Checkin policies are purely client side. The best way to enforce them is to require gated checkin, and then the policies can be independently verified by the build.

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