.NET Resources for NI Hardware and Software


This document provides an overview of the NI tools to use for .NET application development. NI offers Measurement Studio, a Visual Studio add-on for test and measurement applications. NI also offers .NET driver APIs to connect to NI hardware, like NI data acquisition, PXI instrumentation, and third-party instrumentation using  Ethernet, GPIB, serial, or USB.


Measurement Studio for System Design in Visual Studio

NI Measurement Studio is a suite of .NET tools designed for building professional engineering applications in Visual Studio to acquire, analyze, and display measurement data.

To help programmers deliver an end-to-end engineering system, Measurement Studio provides libraries for data processing and storage, as well as customizable WPF, Windows Forms, and ASP.NET UI components uniquely optimized for test, measurement, and automation applications. 

NI Measurement Studio provides extensive example code, templates, and code-generating assistants integrated directly into Microsoft Visual Studio. C# and Visual Basic .NET developers can reduce the cost and development time required to build professional engineering applications by using Measurement Studio classes and controls.

NI Hardware Drivers

To use the .NET class libraries that interface with the hardware, you must have the underlying hardware drivers installed in addition to the .NET driver API. Refer to the driver Release Notes to make sure you have the correct driver installed for your hardware.

Some NI drivers already have the .NET driver API included in the installer. The sections later in this document will indicate which APIs are already included with the driver.

.NET Driver APIs

The .NET driver API provides an interface to communicate with NI hardware from Visual Studio. NI offers native .NET APIs and .NET Source Code Wrapper APIs.

The native .NET APIs have an object-oriented design and follow .NET Framework idioms. They include documentation of the public interface, conceptual documentation, and examples written in VB.NET and C#.

The .NET source code wrapper APIs are C# and VB.NET source files that provide a thin .NET interface to a C API. NI created source code wrapper APIs to quickly provide rudimentary .NET support before native .NET APIs could be developed.

NI recommends you use native .NET APIs when available because they are easier to program against and provide a better installation, maintenance, versioning, and configuration management experience. Choose source code wrapper APIs only when a native .NET API is not available or when you have already built a system using source code wrappers before native .NET APIs were available.

NI plans to continue to support and maintain native .NET APIs. NI plans to discontinue updates to .NET wrapper APIs.

The following table provides a feature comparison between NI native .NET APIs and .NET source code wrapper APIs
FeatureNative .NET API.NET Source Code Wrapper API
Class hierarchyObject-oriented hierarchyFlat, single-layer, C-like
NamingMethod and property names follow Measurement Studio and IVI guidelinesMethod and property names are mapped from C names
DocumentationDetailed IntelliSense help. .NET function reference, concept topics, and .NET to C mapping topicLimited IntelliSense help, with text copied directly from the C function reference
Module TypeCompiled .NET assembly (DLL)  targeting specific .NET frameworkC# and VB.NET source code
InstallerInstaller installs assemblies, help files, and examples into Program Files for development and assemblies into Global Assembly Cache for executionNo installer; source code in .zip file
ExamplesSeveral examples demonstrating key conceptsLimited examples
Warning and exception handling  Raises events for warnings. Throws appropriate IVI and .NET Framework exceptions.Returns warning code from functions.  Throws a single exception.
Compatibility with Measurement StudioMeasurement Studio defined .NET datatypes, such as waveforms and precision timingBasic datatypes, directly translated from C API

Download Native .NET APIs

Native .NET APIs Included in Driver Installer

To install .NET support with the driver, refer to Installing NI Software for Visual Studio C# or .NET Development. Directory locations are also provided to find the help and examples.

Use the following table to locate the .NET API download included with the driver

.NET API and Driver Download



 Help: <Public Documents>\National Instruments\NI-DAQ\Documentation

Examples: Users\Public\Documents\National Instruments\NI-DAQ\Examples\DotNET<x.x>


Help: Users\Public\Documents\National Instruments\NI-Digital\Documentation

Examples: Users\Public\Documents\National Instruments\NI-Digital\Examples\DotNET<x.x>


 Help: <Public Documents>\National Instruments\NI-VISA\Documentation

Examples: <Public Documents>\National Instruments\NI-VISA\Examples\DotNET<x.x>


Examples: <Public Documents>\National Instruments\NI-488.2\Examples\DotNET<x.x>


Help: <Public Documents>\National Instruments\NI-RFmx\Documentation

Examples: <Public Documents>\National Instruments\NI-RFmx\Examples\DotNET<x.x>

(only available in 2014 and previous)


Help and Examples: Text-Based Language Examples for NI Vision Software and Driver


*As of 2019, NI Vision software no longer includes .NET support. Vision .NET APIs are now open-sourced and available on Github. For more information, refer to NI Vision Software 2019 Does Not Include .NET Support.

Native .NET APIs With Separate Download

If the .NET API is not already included in the driver installer, refer to the NI .NET API resource page for the driver.

Note: To use .NET class libraries that interface to NI drivers, you must install the underlying hardware drivers in addition to the .NET class libraries.

Use the following table to locate the .NET API download for your driver


.NET API Download


NI-RFSA .NET Resources


NI-RFSG .NET Resources


NI-FGEN .NET Resources


NI-DMM .NET Resources


NI-HSDIO .NET Resources


NI-DCPower .NET Resources


NI-SCOPE .NET Resources


NI-Switch .NET Resources

Download .NET Source Code Wrapper APIs

Use the following table to locate the .NET Source Code Wrapper API
NI Software.NET FrameworkSoftware Download.NET Wrapper Download
 NI Bluetooth Toolkit 19.1.NET 4.0NI Bluetooth Toolkit 19.1NI Bluetooth 19.1 .NET Wrapper
 NI FM-RDS Toolkit 1.0.1.NET 3.5NI FM-RDS Toolkit 1.0.1NI FM-RDS 1.0 .NET Wrapper
 NI GNSS 3.0.NET 3.5NI GNSS 3.0NI GNSS 3.0 .NET Wrapper
 NI GSM/EDGE Toolkit 14.5.NET 3.5NI GSM/EDGE Toolkit 14.5NI GSM/EDGE 14.5 .NET Wrapper
 NI LTE Toolkit 14.5.NET 3.5NI LTE Toolkit 14.5NI LTE 14.5 .NET Wrapper
 NI Modulation Toolkit 16.0.NET 3.5NI Modulation Toolkit 16.0NI Modulation 4.1 .NET Wrapper
 NI Spectral Measurements Toolkit 16.0.NET 3.5NI SMT 16.0NI SMT 2.6.3 .NET Wrapper
 NI WCDMA/HSPA+ Toolkit 14.5.NET 3.5NI WCDMA/HSPA+ Toolkit 14.5NI WCDMA 14.5 .NET Wrapper
 NI Toolkit for Fixed WiMAX 1.0.NET 3.5NI Toolkit for Fixed WiMAX 1.0NI Fixed WiMAX 1.0 .NET Wrapper
 NI Toolkit for Mobile WiMAX 1.0.NET 3.5NI Toolkit for Mobile WiMAX 1.0NI Mobile WiMAX 1.0 .NET Wrapper
 NI WLAN Measurement Suite 19.1.NET 4.0NI WLAN Measurement Suite 19.1NI WLAN 19.1 .NET Wrapper
 NI-568x 15.0.NET 3.5NI-568x 15.0NI 568x 15.0 .NET Wrapper
 NI-5690 1.1.NET 3.5NI-5690 1.1NI 5690 1.1 .NET Wrapper

Download API for Third Party Instrumentation

For third party instrumentation, visit the NI Instrument Driver Network to search free instrument drivers from more than 350 third-party vendors. To narrow your search, filter the results for Development Environment to Measurement Studio for Visual Studio or Visual Studio .NET

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