Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Using Resource Files in ASP.NET

There are 2 types of resource files, local and global resource files.  Local resource files are used for a specific page, while global resources can be used throughout a site.

Local Resource files

Local resource files must be stored in the ASP.NET folder App_LocalResources.  These files have the extension .resx and must be named like the page.  If the page is named About.aspx, then the resource page will be About.aspx.resx.  This will be the default resource file for the page.  In order to create a resource file for another language, you will need to create another file with the language 2 letter ISO code.  If you need resources for the German language for example, the file will need to be named  You can also use specific languages like About.aspx.en-GB.resx

Implicit Localization

To easiest way to create a resource file, is to use the tool provided in Visual Studio. From the Tools menu, select Generate Local Resource.  This will create a resource file for the form you are viewing.

The tool will generate resource keys for every string property for every control

Explicit Localization

In explicit localization, you can manually attach a resource to a control's property like so


Global Resource files

Global resource files are stored in the App_GlobalResources ASP.NET folder.  Use these resources for text which will be used more than once in your website.  I typically use it for common words such as 'Save', 'Edit', 'Delete', etc.. These files also have the .resx extension.  In order to use them from mark up, use the same syntax as the explicit localization mentioned above

Using and accessing resources programmatically

There are 2 ways to retrieve values at runtime.  If the global resources are available in your project you can use the following syntax which also provides intellisense
string myText = Resources.SharedLocalizedText.WelcomeText;
If the file is not available at design time, you can use the following method
string myText = Convert.ToString(GetGlobalResourceObject("MyGlobalResourceFile", "WelcomeText"));

The first parameter is the name of the global resource file (without the extension) and the second is the resource key which you want to retrieve from the file


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