I am relatively new to Visual Studio Development and I was wondering - it seems that everytime I make changes to my JS or CSS in my project - I have to "build" the project again.

Is there any way to simply refresh the browser as opposed to building everytime ? My understanding is that all the files are copied to some temporary directory but I was hoping that I can quickly debug/write JS and CSS within the solution and just refresh the browser to see the changes ?

2 Answers 2


In my experience, all you need to do is save the CSS/JS files and refresh the browser (hard refresh, not using the browser cache).

The reasons this will not work can be many, but mostly to do with any processing that the files need to go through before the go to the browser - say bundling, minification, usage of ScriptManager or any such server side work (including required deployment) on the files before they are available to the browser.

After chat, we confirmed that the OP is using ScriptManager with CSS/JS, causing the issue.

It is possible that using bundling instead would solve this.

  • The answer I was about to give. The keyboard shortcut in most browsers I'm familiar with is ctrl+R.
    – scrwtp
    May 27, 2012 at 18:05
  • 1
    @scrwtp - Depending on OS. Ctrl + F5 is the one I know.
    – Oded
    May 27, 2012 at 18:06
  • is there any way to debug this prob ? i.e. to find out what exactly is going on so I can try to resolve this issue because its a real pain for me :(
    – Andy
    May 27, 2012 at 18:14
  • @Andy - Without more details it is difficult to know how to help. How are you launching the browser? What is serving the pages?
    – Oded
    May 27, 2012 at 18:15
  • um basically I just build and then refresh the browser. My file proprities are "Build Action: Content" and "Copy to Output Directory: Do Not Copy" if that makes any difference. Is there any setting in IIS I should look out for ?
    – Andy
    May 27, 2012 at 18:16

JavaScript files are not compiled, they are interpreted. Visual Studio does not do that either, the browser does. It is done on Client browser and not the server. JS files like CSS, images and other content are cached in one or more places to save fetching time. So when the resources are being loaded the browser checks the cache first and if it is found it will not fetch it from the server. That is useful but can be problematic when developing, since you want to keep seeing your changes or images you just changed. To force the browser reload everything you can do Ctrl+F5 (hard refresh). That works for development purposes but when a new css is uploaded the users do not do a hard refresh. So if you want to ensure the users do get the latest css for example, there is a trick to do that. You add a ? and then a version number. Since this name along with that is stored in cache, when the cache is being recalled and the marker does not match the cache assumes it is new file. That also works with images and any other file. src=myCSSfile.css?ver=2018101

  • 2
    Nice trick, but not an answer to the question. That was already resolved 6 years ago. Please note that StackExchange sites are not discussion forums, but strict Q&A sites. Anything that is not an answer to the question risks getting deleted.
    – Jan Doggen
    Sep 25, 2018 at 15:28

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