Did you know… How to save your favorite window layouts in Visual Studio .NET 2003

This tip is for Visual Studio .NET 2003.  Although it will work in Visual Studio 2005, there are easier ways to save your favorite window layouts – which is a tip to be told at another time.

There are four different window layout states

  1. Design view – what you see when you launch Visual Studio
  2. Full screen – Toggled by Shift-Alt-Enter
  3. Debugging view – when debugging
  4. File view – when you run “devenv.exe foo.txt”

These states are saved to %appdata%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\devenv.xml upon shutdown.

I was asked earlier this week in email how to get rid of the Object Browser when it appears every time you launch VS.  The answer is to close the Object Browser (or whatever tool windows you want to close or open whenever the shell is launched) and shut down the shell.  The state is written out to devenv.xml, so the next time you launch, you get the desired configuration.

Same is true for the other different window layouts for Full Screen, Debugging and File view.  Set the desired state, shut down, and when you relaunch, you’ll have your desired configuration.  If you ever need to get back to the original configuration, delete %appdata%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\devenv.xml.

Happy Editing!

Comments (7)

  1. Bjoern Graf says:

    Does this include toolbars and such? I’m asking because extension installs reset these and it would be nice to have a way to preserve the toolbars – the bi-monthly release cycle of the DX SDK ain’t good to my few toolbar modifications; sometimes it hurts to keep things up-to-date 🙂

    — b.gr

  2. saraford says:

    Yes, same rules apply for menus and toolbars – 4 layout states, state saved on shutdown, etc.

    The data for menus and toolbars is saved at %appdata%MicrosoftVisualStudio7.11033CmdUI.prf

  3. Fred Beiderbecke says:

    These are all very cool. Are there any plans to put them all in one document for download?

  4. saraford says:

    Um, what do you mean by putting them all in one document?



  5. Bjoern Graf says:

    Ah, thanks 🙂 For some reason I didn’t look into that folder…

    — b.gr

  6. Today’s tip comes from “some cool dev” who wrote the new Window Management features for Visual Studio…

  7. Igor Kikena says:

    How I can import/export environment settings, such as Fonts and Colors.

    Thank you for excellent tips.


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