Visual Studio Tips and Tricks

We all learn new technologies from time to time. Coders/programmers (choose your term :)) spend most of the time in Visual Studio, yet very few try to get faster with Visual Studio. Visual Studio is a lethal weapon for the developers which can do magic, only if they know how to use it to the fullest. Most of the developers learn things on a need basis and, this leaves out tons of features which can do wonders when learnt. The primary objective of this post is not to teach such tips and tricks, but to shed some light on how to make a shift and be blazing fast with Visual Studio.

Just ask one question to yourself on everything you do in Visual Studio – “How do I do the same thing faster, with fewer clicks/keystrokes?”

If you are spending your efforts/time to reach something, it must be reduced. For instance, you want to refer to a code block and you end up scrolling to reach it. Generally you either search for the words you know which will take you there or you simply scroll looking for the code block. Things get worse when the code file is lengthy. In this case, you can use bookmarks. If you know you’ll be referring a code block, set a bookmark and navigate easily and faster with a keyboard shortcut.

This one liner says it all – “If the actions don’t involve code editing (productive of course), it’s a waste of time, which can be definitely reduced.” – You just need to figure out how Visual Studio will help you do that.

You must master all the default keyboard shortcuts for commonly used tasks at least. I say default – because, it is of little use if you master your own custom keyboard shortcuts and it’s as good as you not knowing the shortcuts when you are in some other Visual Studio.

If you find it difficult staying away from mouse and say you prefer making 10 different clicks instead of learning keyboard shortcuts, try working with a disconnected mouse. Keep the mouse unplugged when you are in Visual Studio, and you’ll see the magic happening. Soon you’ll learn doing most of the things with keyboard shortcuts.

Needless to say, this mindset will help you be blazing fast not just in Visual Studio, but in everything you do in a computer!

A few things where you can save time…
1. Navigating/scrolling to different parts in the code file.
2. Searching and opening a file in Solution Explorer.
3. Mouse-over and waiting for auto-hide panes to open.
4. Manual code formatting.
5. Searching a menu option.
6. Searching for a particular setting in Tools => Options dialog box.

Useful Links:
Productivity Tips for Visual Studio | MSDN
Default Keyboard Shortcuts in Visual Studio | MSDN

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