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Tip 6.11: You can add your own external tools to the list

June 16, 2014

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

Sara Ford’s Blog

For this tip, let’s add Notepad as an external tool.

Go to the Tools–External Tools dialog box, and you’ll see the Add button. Click Add to create a [New Tools 1] placeholder. Rename the title by typing Notepad.

For the Command edit box, use the name of the actual executable. You should be able to just type notepad.exe, depending on your environment variables.


This is the minimum amount of information you need to include to make an external tool work. But let’s go a little further by exploring the optional arguments.

For Arguments, you can type the name of a file, either an existing file if you want Notepad to open it or the name of a file if you want Notepad to create.

For Initial Directory, you can type the file path, either the path where the file exists or where you want Notepad to create it.

And of course, you’ll see Notepad now in the Tools menu.


We’ll explore more of the arguments and other options in the upcoming tips.

Happy Programming! =)

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