Simple builds such as compiling and running a Java or C/C++ program can be done by creating or opening a source file with a main method or function and then choosing the Compile command in the Build menu. Multifile builds should first create a Solution using Solution/New Solution... Then just add one or more build units to the Solution. After you have a Solution defined, then you can use any of the Build menu commands, including Build and Rebuild. Some build units will add additional commands to the Build menu.
The build system has three levels of properties. The tool level properties provide the data necessary to run a tool. The solution level contains general properties for all builds included in a solution. Finally the build level contains specific properties necessary to generate the build target. Both the solution and build level can override values defined at the tool level.