.NET Power Tip 11: Visual Studio Productivity Power Tools

There is one extension to Visual Studio that you ABSOLUTELY NEED!!!

And its the Productivity Power Tools. Go to TOOLS –> EXTENSIONS AND UPDATES and get it from the gallery. You will find it for any VS version that you are working with and its totally free!


The visual studio team who wrote the extension has some nice blog posts that explain the features:


All the features can be enabled and disabled in the options dialog:


My favorite features are:

Presentation Mode

Switch VS to presentation mode with a simple command. If you show Visual Studio on a large screen, TV or beamer and your fonts are not readable, you suck. No more excuses!

Check out .NET Power Tip 6 in this blog for details: .NET Power Tip 6: Presenting in Visual Studio


Structure Visualizer

The structure visualizer draws colored lines into your code editor window to match opening and closing braces. The color tells you whether the code block comes from a class, a method or an iteration or decision statement.


Custom Document Well

The document tab features allow you to stack your window tab headers on the left side of the screen. In addition, the tabs are colored by project and can be pinned:




Syntactic Line Compression

Syntactic line compression takes every line in your code that does not contain anything important and squishes it down to 75% height. So any line that contains just a curly bracket will be compressed. On a large monitor, this allows Visual Studio to show many more lines without losing any information.


Solution Explorer Errors

As we all know, VS marks errors in your code with squigglies while you are typing. The Productivity Power Tools extend this functionality and mark the files with errors or warnings in the solution explorer as well. This allows for faster navigation to the critical parts.