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In Xamarin Studio, a symbolically linked .axml file is treated just like a .xml file. It is opened in a code-view mode without the option of switching to a design view. This seems to be specific to linked files vs files copied/moved to the project directory. I have not verified this in VS so it's possible this behavior is prevalent in VS as well.
Steps to reproduce:
1) Create a Xamarin.Android project in XS
2) Link in a .axml file
3) Attempt to open that file - note it there is no designer view option
Thanks so much for taking the time to submit this report! I can confirm using the latest Visual Studio 2017 for Mac Preview version 7.1 I am able to reproduce this issue. Marking this report as CONFIRMED.