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Tip 6.14: How the external tools tokens work

June 19, 2014

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

Sara Ford’s Blog

She has hinted at a few of the external tool tokens, but let’s explore a little more. Most of these are self-explanatory and are explored in depth in the documentation, but here she’ll give you a high-level overview. You can view the documentation at

All Item and Current tokens that are available for the Arguments edit box operate on the currently active editor. Note the editor does not need to have focus to be able to work, but it must at least have inactive selection.


For the Initial Directory edit box, you’ll find all the directory tokens, but one in particular to call out is the Binary Directory. Note the Binary Directory option is new for Visual Studio 2008.


The Target Directory token targets the obj directory (\obj\Debug\), but if you need the final bits that go into the bin directory (\bin\Debug\), use the Binary Directory token.

Happy Programming! =)

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