Thumbnail Previews in the IDE Navigator

Versions:  2010
Published:  11/17/2010
Code:  vstipTool0113


In vstipTool0023 ( showed you how to use the IDE Navigator.  This next tip comes from Paul Harrington on the Visual Studio Team.  In Visual Studio 2008 when you used the IDE Navigator you also were able to see thumbnail previews of the documents in the list.  However, this feature was removed from Visual Studio 2010.


The good news is that the feature is still there.  It requires you to add a value to the Registry so be warned that you do this at your own risk.  Okay, so here is what you do:


Open up the Registry and  navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\General:




Now RIGHT-CLICK the General key and add a new DWORD value:




Call it ShowThumbnailsOnNavigation and set the value to 1:




Now you should have the thumbnail preview available:





This is a little graphics intensive so, if you don't see it, then it could be because you haven't enabled the rich client visual experience under Tools -> Options -> Environment -> General:


Comments (4)
  1. chaseW says:

    Zain, what's up?   You're in my class right now talking about some cool visual studio stuff…..  The blog looks nice, I'll be coming back for answers when it's time for my next VS assignment.  Later yo!

  2. zainnab says:

    Chase!  🙂

    Thanks for coming to the gig today!


  3. Steve N says:

    Does this work in Web Dev Express 2010 also?  I tried it and don't see the change even after trying the tshooting suggestion above.

  4. zainnab says:

    Hey Steve 🙂

    I'm not sure.  I haven't tested it on Web Dev Express unfortunately but would be suprised if it didn't work as it seems like a minor thing to exclude.

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