15 minute blog post: A Hidden Feature in Visual Studio 2010

The sunset in Seattle was spectacular this evening. My wife and I climbed the water tower in Volunteer Park to look across the Sound as the sun dipped behind the Olympic mountains and, in the space of a few minutes, the sky turned from blue to orange and pink. We both agreed that the Emerald… Read more

Tips and Tricks: Apply (or Don’t Apply) Cut or Copy commands to blank lines

As you may know, Visual Studio’s cut and copy commands are useful for more than just selected text.  If you invoke them when there is no selection, VS will cut or copy your entire line, which saves you the trouble of selecting the line before adding it to the clipboard.  Although a lot of developers… Read more

Troubleshooting pkgdef Files

For those using the Visual Studio 2010 SDK to create extensions for Visual Studio, you should find the creation and use of .pkgdef files to be mostly automatic (see What’s a PkgDef and Why?). However, like anything involving computers and software, there are occasions that require manual intervention because they aren’t covered by the automatic… Read more

Tips and Tricks: Quickly Closing Documents

In VS 2010, we made a design decision to move the “X” from the right side of the Tab Well  to within each tab.  Before (VS 2008) After (VS 2010) The majority of feedback around this change was positive, but, as with most UI changes, there has been a vocal group that preferred the older placement. … Read more

Tips and Tricks: Clipboard Ring and Toolbox Snippets

I was spending some time responding to Connect bugs the other day when I ran across this suggestion: “It would be nice to have a clip board history window that could be next to the control toolbox as a nice utility window. (Often in presentations I see Microsoft presenters using a custom clipboard tool for… Read more

MSBuild 4 Detailed Build Summary

Introduction When we were developing the current version of MSBuild, we spent a lot of time analyzing builds to determine where our performance issues lay. The standard logging, even on diagnostic verbosity and with the performance summary enabled (/clp:PerformanceSummary=true on the MSBuild command line) doesn’t give us the kind of information we desired. What we… Read more

Troubleshooting Extensions with the Activity Log

One of the most powerful tools for troubleshooting issues that involve Visual Studio extensions is often overlooked, even though it has been around for quite some time (since VS 2005). Anyone wondering what Visual Studio is doing with their VS Package, Extension, MEF Component, or pkgdef file should ask the IDE for an activity log. In… Read more

Visual Studio “Tip of the Day”

If you like the tips and tricks we sometimes post on this blog, you might want to check out the Visual Studio Tips and Tricks blog.  It’s written by Zain Naboulsi, a Senior Developer Evangelist at Microsoft, and it’s devoted to these little productivity boosters.  We’ll continue to post the occasional tip here on the… Read more

Tips and Tricks: Ctrl+E to Search in New Project Dialog and Extension Manager

Here’s a quick tip of the day for anyone who wants to quickly use the new search feature of the New Project Dialog and the Extension Manager.  You can press Ctrl+E to quickly set focus to the search box.  Did you know that this same keyboard shortcut also works in Windows Explorer, IE and other… Read more