My Visual Studio Customisations

Every developer has their own list of customisations and tweaks which they apply to their IDE to give it that personal touch. This is my personal list of settings and customisations for Visual Studio 2005.

I'm partly writing this down as a reference guide for myself lest I forget - reinstalling Visual Studio is something I try to do as little as possible, and so having a reference list is useful for those moments after a reinstall where you know something doesn't quite feel right in the IDE, but can't remember exactly which setting you've missed! I realise I probably could have simply exported the settings and saved them somewhere, but there are a few items in my list which are non-settings based.

  • Install ReSharper and apply the default Resharper Shortcuts (ReSharper / Options / Reset Shortcuts)

  • Rebind CTRL-Q to 'Window.CloseDocumentWindow'. I find the default mapping of 'CTRL-F4 awkward to hit with one hand. If you're navigating through multiple files in a solution using a mouse, then being able to close Windows quickly with your other hand is a great timesaver.

  • Install Service Pack 1. If for some reason I don't want Service Pack 1, then just install the pre-SP1 web application projects MSI

  • Set the Text Editor Font to Consolas

  • Change background colour of the text window slightlly (something subtle off white such as RGB 255/255/230)

  • Move Solution pane to the left hand side, and rearrange other windows slightly. I have no idea why I do this, but I do! Incidentally, I leave the Solution explorer on the right hand side when I'm debugging. Again, I don't know why, I just do.

  • Turn off "Track Active Item in Solution Explorer" in Tools\Options\Projects and Solutions. This is such an annoying feature, although I suppose it might be useful in some situations. It's incompatiable with the way I work.

  • Remove all toolbars. Add 'Debug\Attach to process' and 'Debug\Detatch All' toolbar icons, so they appear next to the last menu option (Help). I don't use toolbars often, I prefer keyboard shortcuts. So I reclaim the screen real estate by disabling them, and it also gives a perception of a speed increase as the IDE doesn't need to constantly update toolbars based on it's current context.

  • Install any other project specific software - such as source control providers, Ajax extensions/toolkit, GAT/GAX, etc

Window.CloseDocumentWindow is about the only thing I've felt driven to rebind. CTRL-Q might not have been the best choice, given that it's used by ReSharper for 'Quick Documentation Popup'. Before I rebound this key I'd never used 'Quick Documentation Popup' once, but as I was removing the keymapping I thought to myself that it sounded useful. I wonder if a better choice might be something like CTRL+` or CTRL+1, which is free, but CTRL-Q makes sense to me.

If you're looking for more useful keyboard shortcuts, then you might find Jeff Atwood's Visual Studio .NET 2003 and 2005 Keyboard Shortcuts list useful. He also has a nice post containing some Visual Studio colour schemes, with plenty more linked in the comments. ReSharper users will of course want to gloss over the Default Keymap list, however if they're anything like me they'll get to use 4-5 functions daily, to the point where they can't live without them, and completely ignore the many other things ReSharper can do.

Coding Happiness is a well streamlined IDE!

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Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:42 PM | Visual Studio Web Development Miscellaneous Me

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