How to get the item type or build action of a file in a project

When working inside a Visual Studio extension, it’s not rare to need to go back and forth between the two. Projects can be uniquely identified in a solution by their Guid. This is the ProjectGuid MSBuild property of a project, available from the IVsHierarchy VSHPROPID_ProjectIDGuid property that uniquely identifies the project in a solution. And files are frequently need to be located within a project given their path.

In my case, I needed to retrieve the item type (build action in the property browser), given those two values: project id, file path. Tell me it doesn’t give you the creeps:

static string GetItemType (IServiceProvider services, Guid projectId, string filePath)
	var solution = services.GetService<SVsSolution, IVsSolution> ();

	IVsHierarchy project;
	uint itemId;
	object projectItem;
	string itemType = null;

	if (ErrorHandler.Succeeded (solution.GetProjectOfGuid (projectId, out project)) &&
		ErrorHandler.Succeeded (project.ParseCanonicalName (filePath, out itemId)) &&
		itemId != (uint)VSConstants.VSITEMID.Nil &&
		ErrorHandler.Succeeded (project.GetProperty (itemId, (int)__VSHPROPID.VSHPROPID_ExtObject, out projectItem)) &&
		projectItem != null && projectItem is ProjectItem) {
		itemType = ((ProjectItem)projectItem).Properties.Item ("ItemType").Value.ToString ();

	return itemType;

It’s pretty awesome to come across posts that say things like Who said building Visual Studio Extensions was hard?