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Quick Tips for Visual Studio

As a quick post, here are some of my favorite tips in Visual Studio to make yourself a little more productive.

October 20th, 2015 • Develop •
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Blurry hands on a keyboard

Visual Studio has been around for a long time and it's a developer's best friend when it comes to .NET development. Or any other kind of development for that matter.

They even have COBOL.NET and a PHP plugin for Visual Studio.

For those who use Visual Studio day in and day out, there are so many keyboard shortcuts and features that it's even hard for Microsoft to keep track of everything they added to 2015.

Today, I'll give you some quick tips on some of my favorite Visual Studio tricks on how to get the most out of your Visual Studio experience.

Solution Explorer Placement

Do you place your Solution Explorer/Team Explorer, etc. on the left side instead of the right?

The place mine on the left for two reasons:

  1. This is from my Delphi days (worked with it for nine years). Delphi's "Solution Explorer" was always on the left side, so naturally, I feel more comfortable with the explorer on the left side with the Properties dialog on the right.
  2. When I'm debugging an application, the solution explorer moves to the right. The solution explorer on the right is a visual indicator that I'm in debugging mode. You would not believe how many developers I've seen try to start typing into the editor and it denies them because they don't realize they are in debugging mode.

Anyone prefer it on the left or right?

Quick Access

In the top right-hand corner, there is an edit box called Quick Launch. This allows you to access any of the settings relatively quick.

For example, type in "line numbers on" and it will turn the line numbers on in your editor instead of fumbling around in the Tools/Options/Endless hierarchy of menu items.

Quick Template

If you already have a project that you want to use as a template in the future, left-click on the project to select it, then click the File menu option in the menu bar and Export Template...

You can export the whole project as a template or a single project item. It makes development a whole lot easier when you have a template you developed in the past.

I've mentioned this in my "Ludicrous Speed" series.

Full Screen Editing

Most developers like the feel of code by removing all of the distractions and have code in all 4 corners of their screen.

To enable full-screen editing, press Alt-Shift-Enter to get Full-Screen editing mode. Press the combo again to turn it off.

Does anyone have any other tips that they use frequently while coding in Visual Studio? (keep in mind, you may take them for granted and not even know you do them) ;-) Post them below in the comments.

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Picture of Jonathan Danylko

Jonathan Danylko is a freelance web architect and avid programmer who has been programming for over 20 years. He has developed various systems in numerous industries including e-commerce, biotechnology, real estate, health, insurance, and utility companies.

When asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies, "Programming."

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