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Tip 6.13: You can have your external tool’s text displayed in the Output window

June 18, 2014

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

Sara Ford’s Blog

At the bottom of the External Tools dialog box, you’ll see more options for customizing the external tool within the IDE. This tip is about the Use Output Window option. The idea here is you’re running a .bat file and you want to track the progress within the IDE.

Using the command prompt as the tool, you can set Arguments to something like /C echo $(CurText), which signifies the following:

  • /C, from cmd.exe, carries out the command specified by the string and then terminates.
  • $(CurText) is a token that comes from Visual Studio that represents the currently selected text, displayed as Current Text in the menu.


Now, when running this external tool with a line of text selected in the editor, the Output window displays the text.


Happy Programming! =)

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