Visual Studio 2013 Goodies

Just a quick post to remind everyone that Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 has now been released.  It has too many features to cover in detail here.  However, in addition to a number of fixes, it also allows you to get rid of the ALL CAPS menus.



becomes this:


New goodies include better Web tooling (MVC, WebAPI, JSON, CSS) and vastly-increased debugging capabilities.  This is a free update, and it is well worth the download time. 


The REAL reason for this post, however, is to make sure that people know about these add-ins:

I have been doing more development lately, and these tools are really useful. 


Productivity Power Tools provides about 25 useful features to general development.  My favorites are:

  • Peek Help (Alt + F1) - invoke context-sensitive help from MSDN and display it in the "Peek Definition" window.
  • Solution Explorer Errors - Solution Explorer now places "squiggles" beneath files, folders, projects, and solutions that contain errors.  Now it is obvious where my errors lie.  Hovering the mouse pointer over a squiggle causes the error messages to pop up in a little window.
  • Structure Visualizer - Vertical lines connect the begin and end of block constructs, such as if statements.  This is really nice when there are a lot of nested structures or one structure is large than one screen height.
  • Document Well - Customize many of the color and behaviors of the tabs in the source editor window.

All of the features are configurable, and can be enabled or disabled as you see fit.  The full feature list is available on the Visual Studio Gallery page.


Web Essentials adds enhanced support for Web page development, including CSS (more Intellisense), JavaScript (Minification, Auto-complete braces), and more.  It also enhances BrowserLink so that it is even more useful than before. Check out the web site for a full list of features.




Comments (5)

  1. Rigz says:

    Thanks Jerry. PPT2013 is very useful. My personal favorite feature is the line separator  between methods.

  2. Jerry Dixon says:

    Hi Rigz,

    That is a good one, but it wasn't enabled by default for me.  For those who want to try it out, go to Tools > Options > Productivity Power Tools > Other Extensions.  In the Structure Visualizer Options group box, check "Show a separator between methods in the editor".

    Thanks for the reminder!

  3. dd says:

    Have they fixed the search in files feature.  It worked for a few days and then has never worked again.  Now I have to use a linux machine side by side to grep files to find what I want manually load the file in VS and then edit it.  This flaw almost makes me want to stop using visual studio.

  4. Jerry Dixon says:

    Hi dd,

    I'm sorry you are having trouble.  I have not experienced this issue myself, but I understand that it is often caused when users attempt to stop a search that has not completed.  The good people on StackOverflow (…/visual-studio-search-stops-working-for-entire-solution ) and GeeksWithBlogs (…/125902.aspx ) have suggested that various control-key combinations may help.  You might give this a go.

  5. jeffa00 says:

    The option to use mixed caps is awesome.

    When the shouting menu titles first appeared my first question was, "WHY CAN'T WE JUST HAVE AN OPTION TO USE MIXED CASE?"

    I'll never understand the resistance to simple letting the user choose all caps or mixed case. What has it been three years?

    Sometimes the little things make a difference.

    HAVING all caps is fine, but forcing all caps just seemed like a bizarre, arbitrary choice.

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