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Power Productivity Tools for VS 2013

by Jonathan Allen on Nov 18, 2013 |

Since 2010 the Power Productivity Tools have been Microsoft’s test bed for new Visual Studio features, some of which were incorporated in VS. This new version for VS 2013 brings 11 new and updated features including the ability see documentation without leaving the code editor.

Peek Help (alt-F1) is the complement of Peek Definition (alt-F12). Both will show information about the selected keyword, class, or function in line with the code file you are currently editing. The mini-window will remain embedded in the code file’s window until you press the Escape key.

Taking a cue from other IDEs such as Eclipse, Visual Studio now indicates which source code files have errors in the Solution Explorer pane. You can even filter the Solution Explorer to only show files that currently have errors, useful for dealing with breaking changes during a refactoring effort.

A potentially useful debugging feature is the “Timestamp margin”. Rather than manually adding timestamps to your debug and trace statements you can turn this option on to add them automatically. They are shown in a different column and in a different color, which may make it easier to read at the cost of some horizontal space.

For more information and to see the complete list of new and updated features check out Productivity Power Tools 2013 in the MSDN gallery.

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