Kirill’s Visual Studio Tips

I decided to compile a small list of Visual Studio features that I use a lot.

Code Editor

  1. Code Snippets for ‘prop’, ‘foreach’, ‘if’, ‘class’, ‘interface’, Tab-Tab completion

  2. Surround with (snippets) – try, if

  3. Ctrl+K,D – FormatDocument

  4. Ctrl+Left/Right arrows in code editor – jump between words faster

  5. Ctrl+K,C – Ctrl+K,U – comment/uncomment selection

  6. Dynamic Snippets in the XML Editor – I bet a lot of people don’t know about this one


  1. F12 (Go To Definition) – position the caret on an identifier and hit F12

  2. Shift+F12 (Find All References) – then hit F8 to step through the results in the Find Symbol results window

  3. Click the “back” button on the Microsoft Explorer mouse with your thumb navigates back (under C# profile)

  4. Right-click on a document Tab – Copy Full Path, Open Containing Folder


  1. Position the caret on an identifier and hit F2 (Refactor -> Rename)

  2. Extract Method (Context Menu)

Code generation

  1. Generate Method Stub (Smart Tag) – Ctrl+. and enter

  2. WindowsContextMenuButton + O + ENTER + A – quick way to organize, remove and sort usings


  1. Debug -> Exceptions (allows breaking on a first-chance exception)

  2. Right-click on a breakpoint brings up a context-menu which not everyone knows about 😉

  3. Tools -> Options -> Debugging -> Enable just my code

  4. Attach to process -> Cross Platform Debugging (Managed, Native)

  5. .load sos, !clrstack, !dumpheap, !gcroot, etc.

Solution Explorer

  1. Tools -> Options -> Projects and Solutions -> Track Active Item in Solution Explorer

  2. Right-click on an item in Solution Explorer – Open Folder in Windows Explorer

  3. Right-click on a project -> Unload -> edit .csproj file in XML

Macros and automation:

  1. Coding productivity: macros, shortcuts and snippets

  2. How to map a Visual Studio macro to a keyboard shortcut?

P.S. Sara Ford has much much more in her famous Did you know series.

kick it on

Comments (10)

  1. You’ve been kicked (a good thing) – Trackback from

  2. Kirill Osenkov says:

    It turns out, Stephen Walther has a similar list of tips here:

    It is funny to see how we both recommend same tips. I honestly didn’t read his post before I posted mine.

  3. RednaxelaFX says:


    I recall the days when I was using VS2005, I used Ctrl+K,D to format code, but it changed to Ctrl+E,D in VS2008 (by default?). What’s the target version of VS in this post? And umm, why it is that sometimes the build command is associated with F6, but sometimes with Ctrl+Shift+B?

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi, another nice feature is file search.

    You can open ANY file in the solution by clicking Ctrl+/ and typing "open file" followed with the file name – tooltips would help :)

    Instead of "open file", one can use the "of" shortcut.

  5. My nickel: Ctrl+Alt+F10 – Show "Smart Tag" context menu from a keyboard.

  6. RednaxelaFX says:

    >> My nickel: Ctrl+Alt+F10 – Show "Smart Tag" context menu from a keyboard.

    I thought most of the time the "Smart Tag" context menu can be invoked with the "Win" key…

  7. RednaxelaFX says:

    Oops, I meant the "context menu" key located somewhere in between the right Alt and right Ctrl on some keyboards.

  8. Kirill Osenkov says:

    This post is about Visual Studio 2008.

    RednaxelaFX: F6 vs. Ctrl+Shift+B depends on your profile settings (C# Profile vs. VB Profile). In C#, the default build keybinding is F6, in VB – Ctrl+Shift+B. You can go to Tools -> Import and Export Settings -> Import -> Visual C# Development Settings (WARNING, all your current settings will be lost unless you back them up).

    Viacheslav: Yes. Another one I use is Ctrl+. when the caret is near the Smart Tag.

  9. Thanks! Ctrl+. is more suitable :о))

  10. My latest in a series of the weekly, or more often, summary of interesting links I come across related to Visual Studio. Scott Guthrie posted the latest installment of links for ASP.NET, Visual Studio, WPF and Silverlight . Vance Morrison posted links