Required installations for C# programming

Valid from toolchain 2021.6

Mandatory installations

In order to develop C# functions, function blocks, and programs and use them in a PLCnext Technology real-time application, the following installations are required.

PLCnext Engineer automation engineering software

The PLCnext Engineer software suite is required for starting up your PLCnext Control. For additional information, refer to the online help in the PLCnext Engineer user interface.

Tip: Starting with release 2022.0 LTS, the PLCnext Engineer embedded help is also online available.

In the Getting started with PLCnext Engineer you will find information on how to install and get started with PLCnext Engineer.

Importing a library into PLCnext Engineer describes how to import a PLM library and instantiate a program thereof. To use PLM libraries built with the PLCnext CLI, at least the same release version of the PLCnext Engineer is needed.

PLCnext programming toolchain and PLCnext CLI

The PLCnext Technology Toolchain is a set of tools you will need when programming for PLCnext Technology in high-level languages. From its release 2021.6 on, the PLCnext toolchain integrates all tools for PLCnext C# development.  See Installing the PLCnext toolchain for details.

The PLCnext CLI is a command line interface that can be used for generating metadata, C++ header files, PLCnext Engineer libraries and for the build process. PLCnext CLI functions can be called using simple commands. An integrated help lists the commands and describes their functions. For details on using this lightweight, versatile tool see PLCnext CLI.


The PLCnext CLI was tested and released for Microsoft® Windows® 10 and for Linux® (tested with Ubuntu 18.04.1.LTS). 

Where to get the tools:

The PLCnext CLI is bundled with the PLCnext Technology Toolchain installation package.

  • Find an installation package free-of-charge in the download area of the product page for each PLCnext Control.
  • For a version overview and direct links to the respective product pages, see the Tools topic in this Info Center.

Optional installations

Phoenix Contact officially offers a Visual Studio® extension. It is necessary for the C# development process for PLCnext Technology. It extends the well known Visual Studio® IDE with templates, profiles, functionalities, and a debugging option. 

IDE and PLCnext Technology plug-ins

Before starting the installation, ensure that the system requirements are met:

For C# development Phoenix Contact officially supports:

  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® (all editions) 2019, minimal version 16.11.26
  • Microsoft® Visual Studio® (all editions) 2022, minimal version 17.6.2

For details see Installing the PLCnext toolchain,  then Installing IDE plug-ins.

Tip: Find sample applications programmed in C# at




• Published/reviewed: 2024-05-06   ★  Revision 068 •