Installing EF Power Tools into VS2015


TLDR: If you don’t want to do the tasks (even though they are so easy) you can download the updated VSIX I created from here.

The Entity Framework Power Tools extension for Visual Studio has been around for quite some time and is still called a Beta. I cannot live without it’s “View Entity Data Model (Read-Only)” feature which I used to validate my code first models.

But if you try to install the extension into Visual Studio 2015, you won’t find it.

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Checking the extension in Visual Studio Gallery, you’ll see that it hasn’t been updated to install into VS2015.7-25-2015 9-47-49 AM

The fix is nothing more than making it know about VS2015. There are no other compatibility problems that I have experienced. Modifying an extensions installation package (which is just a zip file!) to be aware of another version of Visual Studio is pretty easy. Here are the steps to get the EF Power Tools into VS2015.

Download the extension from the Visual Studio Gallery page.

Find the file

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and change it’s extension to zip.

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Extract the files from the zip file.

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Open the extension.vsixmanifest file in a text editor and find the Supported Products section.

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And copy paste one of the Visual studio elements, changing the version to 14.0. I have the Enterprise version but didn’t bother changing it from Pro here and it didn’t seem to be a problem.

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Now you have to reverse your steps in order to recreate the VSIX file.

Select the files in the extracted folder and zip them. Don’t zip the folder. The files have to be at the root. (Guess how I learned that! Smile ) I named my zip file








Rename the file to have the vsix extension.

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Run the file right from here.

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If Visual Studio was open, you’ll have to restart to get this to kick in.

Also you’ll see Entity Framework Power Tools listed in the installed extensions when you look at the About section of Visual Studio 2015.

I accidentally mistook this for something it was NOT and (embarrassingly) tweeted it. I had forgotten that I had done this for the VS2015 preview. Then I installed VS2015 RTM on top of the preview and that picked up all of the installed extensions. When I saw the power tools listed in About, I thought they had a) finally gotten rid of the “Beta” tag and b) installed automatically with VS2015. When I realized the extension was installed, I uninstalled that and indeed the tool went away. So for anyone who saw that tweet…. sorry! Guilty as charged …

41 thoughts on “Installing EF Power Tools into VS2015

  1. For some reason, it doesn’t work for me… I’m running VS2015 Community. I tried changing the manifest version to Community but no luck.

  2. I was able to install the power tools and when I right click on the context class and select View Entity Data Model (read only) from the Entity Framework menu VS hangs and the designer never appears. Any ideas?

  3. I Installed the power tools beta 4 on vs2013 but and follow the videos of pluralsight but when i tryed to view the model , i got the following error
    System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not find file ‘C:\EF6\NinjaDomain.Classes\NinjaDomain.Classes\App.config’.
    File name: ‘C:\EF6\NinjaDomain.Classes\NinjaDomain.Classes\App.config’
    at System.IO.__Error.WinIOError(Int32 errorCode, String maybeFullPath)
    at System.IO.FileStream.Init(String path, FileMode mode, FileAccess access, Int32 rights, Boolean useRights, FileShare share, Int32 bufferSize, FileOptions options, SECURITY_ATTRIBUTES secAttrs, String msgPath, Boolean bFromProxy, Boolean useLongPath, Boolean checkHost)
    at System.IO.FileStream..ctor(String path, FileMode mode, FileAccess access, FileShare share, Int32 bufferSize)
    at System.Xml.XmlDownloadManager.GetStream(Uri uri, ICredentials credentials, IWebProxy proxy, RequestCachePolicy cachePolicy)
    at System.Xml.XmlUrlResolver.GetEntity(Uri absoluteUri, String role, Type ofObjectToReturn)
    at System.Xml.XmlTextReaderImpl.FinishInitUriString()
    at System.Xml.XmlTextReaderImpl..ctor(String uriStr, XmlReaderSettings settings, XmlParserContext context, XmlResolver uriResolver)
    at System.Xml.XmlReaderSettings.CreateReader(String inputUri, XmlParserContext inputContext)
    at System.Xml.XmlReader.Create(String inputUri, XmlReaderSettings settings, XmlParserContext inputContext)
    at System.Xml.Linq.XDocument.Load(String uri, LoadOptions options)
    at Microsoft.DbContextPackage.DbContextPackage.GetUserConfig(Project project, String assemblyFullName)
    at Microsoft.DbContextPackage.DbContextPackage.DiscoverUserContextType(Type& systemContextType)

  4. Sorry for taking a little bit away of the topic, but I could not find any info about EF6 Tools. What is the difference between “EF 6 Tools” (separate WIN installation) and “EF Power Tools” (as extension for VS)?

    1. EF Tools is the designer itself. It used to be built directly in to Visual Studio. It will be installed as part of the VS2013 and VS2015 installations though but it is up to you to install updates. The power tools are some extras.

  5. Hello, Julie!
    Thanks for great VSIX package!
    I just wanted to share my little issue and the solution.
    Everything worked great until upgrade MySQL package. Then nasty “Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation” error message started to appear.
    After debugging the PowerTools (VS with VS) I’ve figured out the problem. My solution is add binding redirection into C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe.config file as follow:

    Put your MySql.Data.dll version instead of “”

    Thanx again!

  6. You are a gem! I would have been crying if it wast for this line:
    “Select the files in the extracted folder and zip them. Don’t zip the folder. The files have to be at the root. (Guess how I learned that! Smile )”

  7. Hello,

    Has anyone had power tools working with Visual Studio 2015 and Entity Framework 7 (core) ? I have installed power tools successfully with this post instructions but keep getting this error when trying to access the read only model from power tools.

    Here’s the error:
    “a constructible type deriving from DbContext could not be found in selected file.”

    1. EF7 is totally different set of APIs from EF6 so the power tools will not work with it. It’s killing me not to be able to validate my models visually yet with EF7 but the team has too much on their plate ATM to even look at that problem. I do know that they have toyed at some point with a way to visualize the models and it is something that they will give us at some point. Maybe someone else is working on a tool as well.

    1. except it’s a paid product and a completely different designer. Why shouldn’t we be able to use the Microsoft tool when it’s literally a matter of a tiny edit to the vsix?

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