Tips and Tricks for the Visual Studio .NET IDE

I do not take credit for these hints ,but will be happy to introduce these tips to MSD2D Community...Cheers

1. Record and play temporary macro

Ctrl+Shift+R to record a new temporary macro.  Press Ctrl+Shift+R to stop recording.
Ctrl+Shift+P to play the recorded macro.
This works similar to *recording* in vim.  If you think you are going to be repeating a set of keyboard keys, then record them once and play them each time after.

2. Multiple copy/pastes

Ctrl+Shift+V cycles through the clipboard ring.  You can copy/cut multiple times from one area of code, then go to another area and paste them one after another.

3. Drag and drop code snippets

The Toolbox (Ctrl+Alt+X) window has multiple tabs.  You can drag and drop code onto this window and copy it elsewhere.  Some tabs do not allow dropping code into it; those that allow will have the appropriate icon.  The General tab works for me.

4. Previous cursor positions

Ctrl+- i.e. Ctrl+Hyphen.  This cycles you through the code positions you visited.
Ctrl+Shift+- to navigate in the opposite direction.

5. Incremental search

To incrementally search for text as you type, first press Ctrl+i.  Then type the word you want to search.  Hit backspace to clear a character and enter to finish.  Pressing F3 after this will work as usual i.e. search for the next occurrence of previous search.
Ctrl+i, Ctrl+i works like F3.

6. Matching brace/comment/region/quote

Ctrl+] takes you the matching brace.  It also takes you to the matching comment, region or quote depending on what is at the cursor now.

7. Vertical block selection

Press Alt and then select the area you want with your mouse.

8. Closing/Showing support windows

There are a bunch of necessary/useful windows in the visual studio IDE like Properties (F4), Solution Explorer (Ctrl+Alt+L), Output Window (Ctrl+Alt+O), Task List (Ctrl+Alt+K) etc.  However they take up a lot of space.  An easy way around this to use the auto hide feature.
Open the window you want.  Right click on its title and choose Auto Hide.  The window will dock in whenever your mouse is not hovering over it.

9. Tab groups - group code editor windows

If you have many source code windows open, you can group them logically using tab groups. 
Right click the tab of the code window and choose New Horizontal Tab Group.  This will move the window into a split window allowing you to see both files.  You can add more files to this new tab group and also move files back to the previous group by choosing Move To Previous Tab Group.

10. Track things you have to do with Task List

The Task List window (Ctrl+Alt+K) allows you to keep track of the things you have to do.  Right click on the Task List window and choose Show Tasks|All to see a list of tasks.
Ctrl+Shift+F12 to cycle through your list of tasks.
By default comments marked with a TODO will appear in the task list.

11. Edit Task List Comment Tokens

You can add your own set of comment tokens (like the TODO comment token).
Goto Tools|Options|Environment|Task List|Comment Tokens and make your changes.  You can change the priority appearance of each comment token too.

12. Add Task List Shorcut

Add a shortcut to the task list with Ctrl+K, Ctrl+H.  This will add the current line to the task list. 

13. Autocomplete

Press Ctrl+Space or Alt+RightArrow to autocomplete the word.  Intellisense suggestions may pop up a window if there is more than one possibility.

14. Intellisense suggestions window

Press Ctrl+Shift+Space to bring up the intellisense suggestions window. 
When giving parameters for functions, I often need to to escape the suggestions window to check another part of code.  To bring it back I used to delete a comma and then type it again; but this is easier.

15. Word wrap

Ctrl+R Ctrl+R
or Tools|Options|Text Editor|All Languages|General|Word Wrap

If you want to set this option for only one language then choose the appropriate language instead of All Languages.

16. Line numbering

Tools|Options|Text Editor|All Languages|General|Line numbers

If you want to set this option for only one language then choose the appropriate language instead of All Languages.

17. Customizing Visual Studio's Code Generation Templates

18. Default Shortcut keys

19. Favorites window

Your IDE also functions as a browser.  To see your list of favorites press Ctrl+Alt+F or choose View|Other Windows|Favorites.


Bookmarks are available through Edit|Bookmarks.  Bookmarks allow you to mark places in your code that you would want to come back to.
Create/Remove Bookmark     Ctrl+K, Ctrl+K
Move to next bookmark        Ctrl+K, Ctrl+N
Move to previous bookmark   Ctrl+K, Ctrl+P
Clear all bookmarks              Ctrl+K, Ctrl+L

21. Code Formatting

Autoformat selection        Ctrl+K, Ctrl+F
Convert to lower case      Ctrl+U
Convert to upper case      Ctrl+Shift+U
Comment selection           Ctrl+K, Ctrl+C
Uncomment selection       Ctrl+K, Ctrl+U

22. Outlining

I like this feature that allows me to hide code that is irrelevant to what I'm currently working on.
Fold/Unfold the current code block Ctrl+M, Ctrl+M
Unfold all                                   Ctrl+M, Ctrl+L
Stop outlining                             Ctrl+M, Ctrl+P
Fold all                                      Ctrl+M, Ctrl+O

23. Build and Debug

Build                                    Ctrl+Shift+B 
Run                                     Ctrl+F5
Debug                                  F5
Cycle through build errors        F8


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