Differences between Visual Studio Community Edition and Express Editions

First of all, both are free!  Visual Studio Community Edition is newly released today.

There are two main differences between Visual Studio Community Edition and the Express Editions that is documented by the Visual Studio MVP Kent Bryant on his blog.

Visual Studio Community vs. Visual Studio Express.


Comments (44)

  1. Marcos Paulo - Slipmp says:

    What I've read:

    "Soma mentioned in today's Connect event that Visual Studio Community Edition may retire Visual Studio Express Editions in future, but this is not decided yet."

    What I understood:

    "Soma said Visual Studio Community Edition will retire Visual Studio Express Editions soon!"

    By the way, Good job on Visual Studio Community! It is needless to say how it will be usefull 😉

  2. Krzysztof J. Obara says:

    Thank you so much! This is just wonderful. Any guidance about if we need to get rid of Express before installing Community?

  3. Fallon says:

    Can this version attach to a process?

  4. bob says:

    Does this version still need registering (activation) in 30 days or can it be used in a fully offline environment unlike the express editions?

  5. Jinal says:

    Does it required registration ?

    Let me explain you problem.

    I have visual studio 2013 professional trial installed and it was get expired way back.Today I came to know about Visual studio 2013 community edition so I uninstalled Professional and installed community edition. It still display that it get expired.

  6. Ola says:

    @bob: You still need to register for more than 30 days trial.

  7. Vinod says:

    What are the differences between the Community Edition and the Licensed Versions i.e. Visual Studio Ultimate??

  8. Octavio Cesar says:

    Hello: What is the difference between VS Community  and VIsual Studio Shell? I use the shell to test the extension that I develop too (vsix). Any aditional feature?

  9. BillG says:

    Can the Community Edition also do the same kind of web development that was in the Express web edition?

  10. Paul Coddington says:

    I hope that the Express editions are never retired: sometimes it is just the ticket to have a lean, focussed, uncluttered environment for working on small and simple projects.

  11. Bart Czernicki says:

    If you read the FAQ:


    Visual Studio 2013 Community has the same features as the Professional SKU!  

  12. Glen says:

    Then so how does the Community Edition differ from Professional?  

    Is there any reason to use one edition over the other?    What are the advantages or disadvantages of using the Professional Edition over the Community Edition?   As a student I am currently eligible to use the Professional Edition for free.    But perhaps it would be more advantageous for me to use Community.  Is it?

  13. Glen says:

    I see.

    So basically there is no difference between Community and Professional, except you can do Enterprise application development (which I assume means in a for-profit business?).

    If so, then I guess there is really no reason a student needs the Professional version.   Unless there was some difference that will better prepare me for work in the industry; so that I don't need to learn something new once I transition into industry development work.

    Not sure what they mean by the Community edition being "designed and optimized for individual developers, students, open source contributors, and small teams…"

  14. Max Johnson says:

    Where can I find the iso file download for community express

  15. Jirajha says:

    So.. TL;DR:

    Community Edition = Express Editions + Plugins + Cross-Platform.

    But it will not replace Express.

    The only question left: Why is the rum gone?

  16. Romoku says:

    Can we get a Visual Studio build server edition?

  17. Adam says:


    There's already MSBuild for that very purpose. Sadly not everything you do in VS is supported so YMMV.

  18. Anirudha says:

    I didn't Web essential for update 4 and web essential disabled now in my express. Is that means you guys don't care for me like who use Express version.

    can you clear if we still got WE 2014 for express.

  19. Xethnic says:

    This is a great move! I think that Microsoft should go even further and make Visual Studio Community have the same features as Visual Studio Premium has today, or at least they should include the test management and UI test tools in the free edition. Currently Microsoft tools are just too expensive for many startup companies and independent developers, so these users choose the open source and free tools. Their choice naturally leads these users into the competitive tools and environments where they will tend to use services from competitors. Microsoft tools are better and if they are tightly integrated with Microsoft services then these users will choose the tools because they are better and then use the services because it is easier.

    I recently went through a technology assessment for a new public service project. I decided that Microsoft was too expensive but ultimately I chose Microsoft technologies only because the experience benefits me in my regular job. If it had not been for that, I would have chosen the java and open source path for sure, and I would have used Amazon web services instead of Azure.

  20. Simon says:

    Thank you Microsoft. As a hobby programmer I have often been annoyed about how I can't use a specific addon/extension because I were always running the Express editions.

  21. Jonathan Swinnen says:

    Thanks! So VS Community is just kind of VS Express but better?

    Cool that they're making it free!

    i love cross platform!! 🙂

  22. Shivam says:

    Can i use Visual Studio Community Edition for C/C++ progamming learning purpose?

  23. fpi says:

    Can it install the community edition without removing/updating VS2010Pro ? I have to maintain existing project using VS2010 but want to benefit from the new edition.

  24. Steve says:

    I don't understand the point of Express Desktop or Web if Community exists. Are people so desperate to save space they would possibly install only one specific version that they needed?

    I wanted to use Devsense PHP Tools and I had been using Express Web for about 6 months which can't use plug-ins. Community was a God-sent; the ability to use plug-ins makes it so valuable. I just don't understand why MS doesn't immediately get rid of Express Web/Desktop and just redirect people straight to Community (I mean, they kind of do since visualstudio.com has a huge "Download Visual Studio Community" button in the front).

    It just seems silly to even entertain the existence of the Express version now. I'm just wondering if there's some type of reason anyone would conceivably still want to install VS Express instead of just using Community.

  25. Connor says:

    Can I have both Visual Studio Express 2013 and Visual Studio Community 2013 on my computer?

  26. Bertrand says:

    If community version is much, better, more simple and equally free, so why always an express version ?

  27. Den Zuk says:

    Developer may use VS Community Edition only for non-enterprise projects (not for profit). With Express Editions constrained but profitable development of enterprise projects. Do not like restrictions? Purchase VS Professional or more…

  28. asdf says:

    What about a for-profit company, that doesn't sell software or IT services, that has fewer than 250 PCs, but more than US$1 million annual revenue, where VS is used to make internal-use software?  With fewer than 5 programmers.

    It seems to me that the "US$1 million annual revenue" clause makes VS 2013 Community un-usable.

    But VS 2013 Express is OK to use for free.

    Am I correct?

  29. Terry Olsen says:

    If the Express Editions (which are licensed for commercial use) are retired, will the community edition then be licensed for commercial use? If not, will our only option be to purchase a professional edition?

  30. carpio87 says:

    Can you deploy applications to production in Community Edition?

  31. Paul_in_AZ says:

    I'm glad to have found that Community seems to be a better development environment than Express. I've installed VS 2015 for the evaluation period, but really, it seems like I'd be better just to uninstall it and then install Community and avoid the transition.

    If I read the information correctly, a small shop can develop commercial software on Community, and sell it, as long as the shop has fewer than five programmers involved, or less than $1 Million in annual revenues. That would cover most of us who work as individuals (I promise, as soon as I've sold 100 copies of my software I'll buy a copy of Pro!). Am I reading that correctly?

    Thank you so much for Community; the price is right and it provides a wonderful opportunity. BTW will there be an upgrade price on Pro from, say, VS 2010, or just the single price of $499 for any purchase of Pro (without MSDN)?

  32. Serg says:

    Why the express take more space than community?

    Both are ugly big and havy. I do not see reason for such monsters

  33. Umesh says:

    Does crystal report comes in visual studio professional with/without msdn?

  34. Glauco says:

    Still no negative comments? Strange. I am using Express 2013 for a huge project (for desktop) written in C, yes C, I started it many years ago with Visual Studio 6.0 (which was great IMHO!) and I don't see valid reasons for converting it to C++.

    There are strong limitations of Express versions for GUI development, so some months ago I tried to convert/upgrade to VS Community, but I had big problems in loading my project and getting it compiled and linked! There are lot of incompatibilities! So I switched back to Express 2013, and I am still in search of  a valid alternative, but maybe I will give Community another try in next months.

    None of you had similar problems?

  35. Munavvar Husein says:

    I have a question: as per licenses, Microsoft restrict a use of community edition with only 5 users. So are there any restrictions for the Express edition of Visual Studio?

  36. Dennis Ruggere says:

    I am using the Community Edition for ASP and it is bad, bad, bad. It takes forever to load a page and when the page loads it only loads a portion of the page. After waiting it will finally load the whole page. Poor!

  37. Thanks a lot! This is an superb web-site!.

  38. CIAO says:

    Can i ask if also Visual Studio Express requires the registration after 30 days of use ?

  39. Kunjal says:

    Is it that express editions are simpler versions for learners?

  40. Israel Rodrigo Faria says:

    There’s a important difference on legal side too. Community edition EULA forbids use on enterprise environments, express editions don’t.

  41. rusty says:

    does the visual studio express edition permit click once deployment?

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