Favorite Visual Studio Extensions

In the Visual Studio Extension Gallery there are hundreds of extensions that are available. The extensions add additional functionality to Visual Studio. Below are the extensions that I typically have installed.

Web Essentials

Big pile of awesome for web developers. If you are doing web development you need to have this installed.

http://vswebessentials.com/

Features:

  • Enhanced browser link
  • Markdown Editor/Preview
  • Minification of javascript files
  • JSHint / CSSHint integration
  • TypeScript preview of compiled ts file
  • Plus much much more

GhostDoc

Auto generate Xml doc comments based on your method/parameter names, exceptions through and return types.

http://tinyurl.com/ghostdoc

Default shortcut: ctrl+shift+d

I Hate Regions

Regions is one of those features that you either love or hate. If you are not a fan of regions then this extension is for you. No longer will you even care that a file has a region in it.

http://tinyurl.com/regionssuck

Features:

  • Auto expand regions when file opens
  • Make the region text smaller and blend more into background so that it stays out of the way
  • Can be configure to not allow shrinking of the regions

Productiviy Power Tools

This extension is written by Microsoft adds a lot of productivity enhancements to Visual Studio that you just wish came out of the box.

http://tinyurl.com/vsprodpower

Features:

  • Collapse projects to folders
  • Copy and paste references between projects
  • Copy and paste project as a reference
  • Fix mixed tabs and spaces
  • Peek definition
  • Open containing folder for project
  • Open command line
  • Solution error visualizer
  • Sort using statements
  • Remove unused using statements

VS Commands

Another productivity tool for Visual Studio. Unfortunately, there is not yet a Visual Studio 2015 version.

http://tinyurl.com/vscommands13

Features:

  • Cancel build on first error
  • Keep documents open when reloading project
  • Start new instance without debugging
  • Start new instance with debugging
  • Sync zoom levels between pages

Switch Startup Project

Easily configure different startup project configurations and be able to switch between them or a select single project to start up.

http://tinyurl.com/vsswitchstart

Layout O Rama

Store Visual Studio windows layout and be able to quickly change to a new layout. This is really useful when moving to different monitor setups/resolution.

Note: In Visual Studio 2015 this is backed into Visual Studio. You can save layouts under the Windows menu in Visual Studio and quickly apply those saved layouts with a shortcut key or under the Windows -> Apply Layout menu.

http://tinyurl.com/vslayout

Task Runner Explorer

Run Grunt or Gulp task directly in Visual Studio.

Can hook Grunt/Gulp task up to the Visual Studio build system (before/after build, on clean or solution open)

Note: In Visual Studio 2015, this is included out of the box.

http://tinyurl.com/vstaskrunner

File Nesting

Easily group files by name and be able to collapse the group.

http://tinyurl.com/vsfilenest

Add New File

Fast and easy way to add new files to any project including files that start with a dart.

https://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/3f820e99-6c0d-41db-aa74-a18d9623b1f3

Package Intellisense

NPM and Bower package intellisense directly in the Visual Studio JSON editor.

https://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/65748cdb-4087-497e-a394-2e3449c8e61e

Bundler & Minifier

Bundle and minify JS, CSSS, and Html files. Can be wired into the build system in Visual Studio.

https://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/9ec27da7-e24b-4d56-8064-fd7e88ac1c40

Open Command Line

Open a command line at the root of the project. Supports all consoles: CMD, Powershell, Bash, etc.

Note: A similar feature is also available as part of the Productivity Power Tools.

https://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/4e84e2cf-2d6b-472a-b1e2-b84932511379

Stop on First build Error

Stops a solution build immediately after a project has a failed to build error.

https://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/91aaa139-5d3c-43a7-b39f-369196a84fa5

Resharper

This is the one extension that I cannot live without. It makes Visual Studio a much better IDE. Once you start using it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it. I could easily do several blog post on the features of Resharper. Below I picked out some of my favorite features.

http://jetbrains.com/resharper

Features:

Navigation

  • Go to Everything / Type - quick navigation to all possible destinations (types, symbols or files).
  • Go to file - quickly navigate to any file within your solution.
  • Go to File member - quickly navigate to a particular method or field in the current file.

Docs: https://www.jetbrains.com/resharper/features/navigation_search.html

Code Generation

  • Create from usage
  • Generate Type members
  • Implement/Override Methods
  • Generate formatting or equality members

Docs: https://www.jetbrains.com/resharper/features/code_generation.html

Code Analysis / Refactoring / Code Templates

Code Cleanup

  • Code formatting
  • Optimize namespace declarations
  • Remove code redundancies
  • File and type layout
  • Code style configuration and sharing

Camelhumps

This is not so much a feature but an option that you can turn on. I like it so much though that I consider it a feature.

When turned on it allows you to auto filter intellisense and any search dialogs by typing the first letter of each capitalized word in what you are looking for. For example, if you have a class called MyClassExample you would search for it by typing MCE. Warning:

Camelhumps changes the behavior of Ctrl+Backspace to now only delete the previous word instead of the whole declaration. For example, MyClassExample would only delete Example and leave MyClass.

Unit Test Runner

Complete feature list at https://www.jetbrains.com/resharper/features/

Series Post

Dialogue & Discussion

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