Lately I’ve been speaking at local user groups about many of the exciting new features in Visual Studio 2012. Since there is so much to know and learn about VS 2012, I decided to create a collection of blog posts with many of the tips. This collection of posts will include features that are new to VS 2012 as well as some existing features as well. To view all of the VS 2012 tips posted so far, click here.

Quick Launch

Like many of the great new features in Visual Studio 2012, Quick Launch is easy to demonstrate. The latest version of Visual Studio has a lot of enhancements for searching from the Solution Explorer, the editor and other places. I like to think of Quick Launch as “Search for the menu system”. If you are wondering why you would need to search the VS menu, I’ll give you an example… You are debugging and you want to know what breakpoints are currently set. How do you open the breakpoint window? You know there is a menu option for it. Is it under View? Or under Windows? Acutally, it is off the Debug menu. But with Quick Launch, you don’t need to remember!

The Quick Launch tool is located at the top on the right side of Visual Studio. image

As you can see from the image, simply hit Ctrl + Q to put the cursor in the Quick Launch tool. Now type the name of what you are looking for. In this case, I’ll type “break” (I don’t necessarily need the whole word). Here are the results:

image

 

You can see that I got three results. The first is the one I wanted. But the others are helpful as well and are appropriate for the search terms.

 

 

 

Can’t remember how to open the immediate window? Type Ctrl + Q and “immediate”. Want to change the font size? Type Ctrl + Q and “font”. Play around with it get access to all kinds of features of Visual Studio. The most important part is to get used to using it. So instead of reaching for your mouse and clicking the menu, keep your hands on the keyboard and use Ctrl + Q.

I hope you find this tip helpful. To see more VS 2012 Tips, just click here.

 

Lately I’ve been speaking at local user groups about many of the exciting new features in Visual Studio 2012. Since there is so much to know and learn about VS 2012, I decided to create a collection of blog posts with many of the tips. This collection of posts will include features that are new to VS 2012 as well as some existing features as well. To view all of the VS 2012 tips posted so far, click here.

 

How to Search in Solution Explorer

imageThe solution explorer in Visual Studio 2012 has a ton of new features. In this post, I’ll show one of my favorites: Search. It’s worth noting that there are a bunch of other new search features throughout VS 2012 as well. In the screen shot, I’ve circled the search area in blue. If you think that another search box in VS isn’t needed, just wait. The solution explorer search is different than the regular search that we are used to in Visual Studio. The normal search is a “text search”. Solution Explorer search is based on your file names, classes, and methods, but not local variables or plain text. I’ll show an example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image

Note that in the screenshot of the code, I’ve underlined all the usages of word “Home” in several places: a comment, the class name, a method, a property, a class level variable (field) and a method variable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageHere you can see that I’ve searched for “Home” in the solution explorer. The results are shown conveniently right within the Solution Explorer (basically a filter). And in this case, the yellow highlighting was not added by me, VS highlights the text that matches the search. The search found the file, class, field, method, and property. It also found the folder named Home and the unit test too. But do you notice what is NOT shown? The comment and the string literal are not shown, neither is the method level local variable. This kind of search can be very helpful when you need to find things in your code but you don’t want to get caught up in all of the comments or commented out code.

 

 

 

 

 

imageLastly, I want to point out that you can even combine search with the other built in filters to Solution Explorer such as the Pending Changes Filter and the Open Files Filter. If you want to know more about those filter features, please see this post: Visual Studio 2012 Tip: Solution Explorer Filters

 

 

 

 

I hope you find this tip helpful. To see more VS 2012 Tips, just click here.

 

Lately I’ve been speaking at local user groups about many of the exciting new features in Visual Studio 2012. Since there is so much to know and learn about VS 2012, I decided to create a collection of blog posts with many of the tips. This collection of posts will include features that are new to VS 2012 as well as some existing features as well. To view all of the VS 2012 tips posted so far, click here.

Some very useful filters in Solution Explorer

imageAmong many other great enhancements in VS 2012, the team really did a lot of work on the Solution Explorer. Is is packed full of goodies. Many of the new features in VS 2012 are designed to “get visual studio out of your way”. This feature is one example of how the VS team does just that. In complicated projects, the solution explorer can be a pretty crowded place. In the past, it was not always easy to find what you were looking for. Now, VS 2012 introduces filtering in the Solution Explorer. Today I’ll demo two options:

  • Pending Changes Filter
  • Open Files Filter

Pending Changes Filter

Often when I am working in VS, I want to know what files I have changed. And often, I continue to work in a bunch of files, going back and forth between them. Now, I can use the pending changes filter to tell Solution Explorer to only show the files that I have changed already! Easy, right? This feature is tied in with your source control system to figure out which files have changed.

Open Files Filter

Just like I said above, sometimes, the Solution Explorer can just be too crowded. One way I can filter it is to use the Open Files Filter. This is an example where the name pretty much gives away the ending. There isn’t much to say about this. It simply filters the Solution Explorer to only show the files I have open in the editor tabs.

In this example, I am choosing the Open Files Filter: image

In the screen shot below, you can see that after applying the filter, only two files are displayed in Sln Explorer. They are the two open files: HomeController.cs and AccountController.cs

image

 

I hope you find this tip helpful. To see more VS 2012 Tips, just click here.

When I installed the Release Candidate version of Visual Studio 2012, I of course installed ReSharper as well. When using the RC version, you have to use ReSharper’s Early Access Program release since the final version isn’t out yet. Use it at your own risk but it’s not likely to cause major issues.

For some reason, since I installed it, none of my ReSharper keyboard shortcuts (HotKeys) were working. I love my shortcuts and needed them back. It took a little playing around but I finally figured it out. Here is how I fixed it…

In the Visual Studio Menu, choose ReSharper > Options. Then go to the Environment section and Visual Studio Integration. There you’ll see the Keyboard Shortcuts settings. Of course, the setting was “Visual Studio” which was what I wanted. So I changed it to “none”, then hit “Apply Scheme” and then “Save”. The I did it all over again but selected “Visual Studio” instead of “None”. Presto, my hotkeys were back!

Today the Visual Studio team announced some changes to the look of Visual Studio 11. You can read about it here.

When the Beta came out a little while back there was quite a lot of talk about the new look for the UI. I wrote a blog post about it as well. Many people were pretty upset about the new “metro” look to Visual Studio. I wasn’t completely in love with the new look at first myself. A flood of complaints came in as people got their first look at the new skin to a familiar tool. I think all the complaining was premature. As I stated in my blog post, once I started using Visual Studio 11 I got used to it pretty quickly. I’ve been using it a lot over the past month or so and I’ve even gotten to the point where I like it more than VS 2010. However, I do think it was missing some color. Well, people complained and Microsoft listened. I think that was pretty cool. Today the public got a peek at the changes that have been put into the release candidate. I won’t bother pasting images in, I think you should read about it on the Visual Studio blog. I really think that they achieved a nice balance, putting in some color where needed to enhance the experience.

I think it is time t move on from this topic. I’ll close with a few points:

  1. Visual Studio 11 has tons of great features. The new look is just on the surface. People should play with it for a while and see what is inside!
  2. Don’t be so quick to judge. I’ll admit, I had some doubts but I gave it a chance. I think the designers made a few mistakes but they are fixing them. For instance, the old icons were hard to read when they had borders around them. I’m glad this is fixed. I’m glad they added some color back in to, it makes certain icons stand out nicely. But when you give it some time you may find that these designers were also right about of lot of their ideas. VS11 is quite easy to use.
  3. It’s over. Stop complaining. Like many people, I don’t like the All Caps menus that are in the latest refresh. SO WHAT? Is it really that big a deal? Is this really worth switching over to Java and using Eclipse? Some people are actually talking like that should be our response. Come on people, get a grip.