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Major UI Upgrade for Visual Studio 2010

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Visual Studio has received a major UI upgrade via the add-in Visual Studio 2010 Pro Power Tools. In addition to finally fixing the Add References dialog, the major change is what they are calling “Document Well 2010 Plus”. This significantly alters the way tabs are handled in the document pane.

The new Add References dialog looks nothing like the original. It is much larger by default and can actually display entire assembly names. Checkmarks indicate what assemblies are already referenced and a side bar gives you more information about the highlighted DLL.

Since it caches the assembly list, opening the dialog a second time is instantaneous. Considering that it takes less than 30 seconds to install, this alone makes the upgrade pay for itself. Throw in a highly responsive search feature and we get a dialog that should meet everyone’s expectations.

The document tabs have so many enhancements it is probably best to start by showing the configuration screens.

As you can see, there is quite a lot of customizations available. For those working in large solutions, color-coding tabs by project is a huge win. Grouping tabs by project is also quite useful, as is the ability to “pin” a document window so you can quickly flip back to it.

There is also an option to how the tabs vertically instead of across the top. This is really helpful on wide-screen laptops where vertical screen space is precious but there is plenty of unused space on the sides. It is also nice when working with a lot of documents at the same time.

Other enhancements include

  • Ctrl + Click Go To Definition – Same effect as the context-menu command
  • Fix Mixed Tabs – Prompts to fix files that mix tabs and spaces.
  • HTML Copy – Copy code with HTML formatting
  • Align Assignments – Lines up code on the = operator
  • Move Line Up/Down Commands – Use alt+up/down to move the current line of code up or down. You don’t need to select the line first.

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