Upload or download a process template

Last Update: 12/7/2016

Team Services | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | Previous versions


Feature availability: You work with process templates primarily when you connect to an on-premises Team Foundation Server (TFS). To customize a team project hosted on Team Services, see Manage process. However, you can use the Process Template Manager to export process templates from Team Services. Customizing a process through the user interface is only available from Team Services. If you want to customize a team project hosted on an on-premises TFS, see Customize your work tracking experience.

Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS) uses process templates to create team projects.

You can upload, download, and delete process templates for a team project collection. Also, you can mark a template to appear as the default when you add team projects. For a comparison of the default process templates -- Agile, CMMI, and Scrum -- see Choose a process.


To access the latest versions of the default processes/process templates:

  • For Team Services: Open the Process page from the account settings admin context, and choose the Export option from the actions menu of a default process. To learn more, see Manage processes.
  • For on-premises TFS:

To manage a process template

  1. Open the same version of Visual Studio or Visual Studio Community as the on-premises TFS that you connect to. For example, if you connect to a TFS 2015 instance, you must connect from Visual Studio 2015 or Visual Studio Community 2015.

    You can always download a free version of Visual Studio Community from the Visual Studio download site.

    If you aren’t a member of the Project Collection Administrators group, get added as one.

  2. From, Visual Studio, open the Process Template Manager from the Team, Team Project Collection Settings menu.

    Open Process Template Manager

    You’ll see a list of each process template that has been uploaded to the team project collection.

    Select process template to work with

    The Upload, Download, Make Default, and Delete buttons are disabled when you don’t have the necessary permissions to manage process templates.

  3. Select the process template that you want to work with and then choose from the following actions.

Upload To upload a process template.

In the Upload Process Template dialog box, choose the folder that contains the root file, ProcessTemplate.xml, for the process template that you want to upload. See also Process template restrictions and validation checks.

Download To download the process template to a local computer.

In the Download Process Template dialog box, select a folder where the process template will be downloaded.

If you're downloading a process template to use to configure new features, manually add new features or update a custom process template to enable new features--choose the process that corresponds to the one you used previously to create your team project. For example, if you're updating a team project based on the Scrum process template, then select Scrum. Note that all version numbers have been removed from the process templates. If you don't see Agile, CMMI, or Scrum, then you need to update TFS.

You can determine which process template to select based on the work item types defined for your existing team project.

Make Default To cause the selected process template to appear as the default selection in the New Team Project Wizard.
Delete To permanently remove the selected process template from the collection.

Process template correlation with an existing team project

To determine the type of process template that was used to create your team project, review the work item types that appear in the New Work Item menu for Team Explorer and then compare them with the work item types in the following chart. If your work item types differ from those shown listed, then a custom process template might have been used.

Scrum Agile CMMI
Scrum work item types Agile work item types CMMI work item types

Process template restrictions and validation checks

Uploading a process template requires that it pass the following validation checks:

  • Process template names must be unique and 256 Unicode characters or less. Same-named templates will overwrite existing templates.
    Also, names cannot contain the following characters: . , ; ' ` : / \ * | ? " & % $ ! + = ( ) [ ] { } < >
    For additional restrictions, see Naming restrictions.
  • Process template folders can’t contain any .exe files. If they do, the process template may upload successfully, however project creation will fail.
  • Process template total size should be 2 GB or less, or project creation will fail.
  • The upload process performs a partial verification check to make sure that the XML of each process template XML file is valid. If you receive any errors when you try to upload the process template, review the XML to determine the cause of the error. Note that duplicate tags in an XML file can cause errors. If there is no error in the XML, check to make sure all the appropriate files are included in your process template in the correct folder locations.
Important: The schema definition for process templates uses a mix of camel-case and all capitalized elements. If you encounter errors when validating your type definition files, check the case structure of your elements. Also, the case structure of opening and closing tags must match according to the rules for XML syntax. See Process template plug-ins: Index to XML element definitions.

Periodically, updates are made to the process templates to support new features which have been cataloged here.

Update a process template to enable new features

When you upgrade your on-premises TFS to a later version, new features may become available. To gain access to these new features, you may need to update a customized process template.

Add another team project

You can add a team project using the New Team Project Wizard. The New Team Project Wizard runs the set of instructions contained within the process template files to configure initial settings and upload artifacts and template files.

Customize a process (Team Services)

To customize a team project hosted on Team Services, see Customize process.