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Tip 4.35: How to access a file window layout mode that you can customize

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

You can enter the file window layout mode only by opening a file from a command prompt.

Invoking program.cs from the command prompt opens Visual Studio in this file window layout. You’ll note in the following image that there are no tool windows showing and the Text Editor toolbar is showing. This is the default view in the General Development Settings.

You can make any customizations here and they’ll persist across window layout states. (This means that if you open a project, all the tool windows will pop back. This happens because you’re now in design mode.) Your customizations will be persisted across sessions. Whenever you shut down Visual Studio, these customizations are saved to disk. They are also saved as a part of your .vssettings file (Tools–Import And Export Settings).

Happy Programming! =)

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Tip 4.34: How to quickly access Full Screen mode

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

You can quickly toggle into Full Screen mode from any of the other three window layouts by pressing Shift+Alt+Enter.

Any window customizations you make in Full Screen mode persist across different window layouts (meaning when you are in design mode and go back to Full Screen mode, you’ll see the tool windows where you last had them in Full Screen mode) and across different Visual Studio instances (where you close and reopen the IDE).

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.33: You can export just your window layouts

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

You can save all four window layout states at any time by going to the Tools–Import And Export Settings dialog box and choosing the Export option. On the Export page, check the General Settings box and then check the Window Layouts category.

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.32: You can use Shift+Esc to close a tool window

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

As she has said time and time again on her blog, it’s really the simple things in life…. she keeps forgetting about this tip, until she sees this keyboard shortcut and has to look up what it does.

Use Shift+Esc to close the currently selected tool window. If the focus is not on a tool window but in an editor, and you press Shift+Esc, Visual Studio will just look at you.

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.31: How to access a toolbar within a tool window

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

You may have noticed that within tool windows such as the Solution Explorer, you cannot reach the toolbar by hitting Tab or using the arrow keys. The keyboard shortcut to reach a tool window’s toolbar is Shift+Alt. Note that Alt+Shift will not work.

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.30: How to resize a tool window from the keyboard

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

  1. Press Alt once.
  2. Press the Spacebar once. You will get the standard window system menu with Move and Size.
  3. Select Size.
  4. Press the arrow keys toward the window edge you want to resize, and resize from there.
  5. Press Enter to commit to the resizing, or press Esc to cancel the resize changes.

Note

Using the Move command from this menu prevents the docking targets from appearing. This is the same as pressing Ctrl and dragging an item using the mouse. If you want to use docking targets via the keyboard, see Tip 4.29.

If you press Alt+Spacebar, you get the main Visual Studio window system menu; this is why you must release the Alt key before you press the Spacebar.

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.29: How to drag a tool window around using the keyboard

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

With the desired tool window selected, press Alt+Minus to bring up the tool window menu. Press the Down Arrow to select the Move command, and press Enter. Now you can control the tool window with the arrow keys.

To dock, simply use the arrow keys to get to the desired dock target and hit Enter to commit to docking the tool window to the new location.

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.28: How to customize what clicking the X button does to a tool window or tool window tab group

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

On the Tools–Options–Environment–General page, you’ll find the Close Button Affects Active Tool Window Only check box. The following screen shot shows a snapshot of two tool window tabs docked together, with the close button circled.

If you want only Solution Explorer to close when pressing the X button, enable the option. Otherwise, both tool windows will close.

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.27: How to use Ctrl+Page Up and Ctrl+Page Down to navigate among all the tool windows in a tool window group

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of ‘Sara Ford’

Sara Ford’s Blog

Whenever tool window tabs are docked together, they form a little group that you can move around and such, as you’ve seen in previous tips.

You can use Ctrl+Page Up and Ctrl+Page Down to navigate among the tool windows in this group.

Happy Programming! =)

Tip 4.26: You can use Alt+F6 and Alt+Shift+F6 to cycle through opened tool windows

“Visual Studio Tips, 251 ways to improve your Productivity in Visual Studio“, courtesy of “Sara Ford”

Sara Ford’s Blog

If you don’t want the IDE Navigator to appear when you navigate among various opened tool windows, use Alt+F6 and Alt+Shift+F6 to go to the next and previous tool windows, respectively, in most-recently used sort order.

Happy Programming! =)