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Improving Visual Studio Productivity in 24 Hours

purity muriuki



visual studio

Whether you are new or have been using Visual Studio for years, there are several tips and tricks that can increase Visual Studio’s productivity. The Visual Studio team is laser-focused toward the developer’s inner loop of writing, testing, and debugging code.

Inner Development Loop is an iterative process of writing, debugging, and testing code that a developer performs before sharing it to either publicly or within the team.

Visual Studio 2022 is a 64-bit system that is more intelligent, approachable, and lightweight. It is packed with tools that can make the programming workflow more efficient. Visual Studio’s navigation, debugging, and code fix features are essential for enhancing developers’ productivity.

The Visual Studio team has designed the productivity Power Tools (PPT) pack, a suite of extensions to optimize the efficiency and productivity across Visual Studio. In this article, we will discuss ways to boost Visual Studio’s productivity to code more in less time, and how Visual Assist can help developers increase efficiency.

What is Visual Studio?

How does Visual Studio fulfill a developer’s top concerns?

What are some practical tips to optimize the productivity of Visual Studio?

Which extension tools enhance Visual Studio’s productivity?

How can Visual Assist enhance Visual Studio productivity?

Ready to boost your Visual Studio productivity?

What is Visual Studio?

Microsoft Visual Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) used by many developers worldwide. It’s a feature-rich program supporting various aspects of software development.

Visual Studio is a powerful tool with several useful and interesting features that make the developer’s work easier and more productive. This IDE is a creative launching pad that can edit, build code, debug, and publish applications.

Apart from being a standard debugger and editor that most IDEs provide, Visual Studio comprises code completion tools, compilers, and many other features to optimize the software development process.

How Does Visual Studio Fulfill a Developer’s Top Concerns?

Improving performance and productivity is always a top concern of developers. In Visual Studio 22, Microsoft has made remarkable progress by reducing the time for various operations. Here are some benefits provided by Visual Studio to optimize performance:

  • Faster Search: A performance search is a key to a productive and fast developer inner loop. The solution explorer search is now faster because Visual Studio can preserve more context between the opening and closing solution.
  • Faster Incremental Build: Incremental build avoids the overhead of re-building components while saving time and resources.
  • Faster Test Execution: Microsoft has reduced the test execution time with the introduction of Hot Reload. Moreover, the time to initiate Live Unit Testing is reduced by optimizing the Live Unit Testing start-up process.
  • Faster Frameworks: Amazing gains have been observed at the platform level with the new framework versions. There is a multiplicative effect with the performance optimization in the just-in-time compiler, threading, the garbage collector, types in the System namespace, etc.

What Are Some Practical Tips to Optimize The Productivity of Visual Studio?

If you want to save time and become more productive while writing code, this section can help you write and debug code, use key keyboard shortcuts, and handle errors more efficiently.

Save Time By Quickly Searching For Anything

You can save time digging through menus by searching directly using commands or shortcuts as follows.

  • Mock code using the task list: Use Task List to track comments that utilize tokens, such as HACK and TODO, or custom tokens and manage the shortcuts that can take you directly to the predefined location in the code.
  • Use solution explorer shortcuts: These shortcuts come in handy and save time by enhancing speed on a new codebase.
  • Identify and customize shortcut keys in Visual Studio: You can find and change keyboard shortcuts in the Options dialog box.
  • Install and manage NuGet package: The NuGet Package Manager UI allows you to install, uninstall, and update NuGet packages in Visual Studio projects.

Write Code Quickly

You can write code more quickly by utilizing the following features.

  • Use convenience commands: Visual Studio has several commands that can help you perform general editing tasks faster. For instance, you can select the Edit > Duplicate command to duplicate a line of code without copying it.
  • Use IntelliSense: When you enter code in the editor, the IntelliSense information, such as Parameter info, List Members, Signature Help, Quick Info, and Complete Word, appears. These features support the fuzzy matching of text.
  • Change IntelliSense auto-insertion options: You can specify that IntelliSense options can be inserted only if chosen explicitly. It can be done by switching IntelliSense to suggestion mode.
  • Use sample applications: You can enhance the speed of an application by installing a sample application from Microsoft Developer Application.

Navigate Within the Code And the IDE

You can quickly move to specific locations in the code by using various techniques.

  • Bookmark lines of code: You can leverage bookmarks to navigate instantly to specific lines of code in a file.
  • Search for symbol definitions: You can locate files names and symbol definitions within a solution by choosing Edit > Navigate on the menu bar.
  • Utilize map mode: You can jump to a location in the file using this feature. Map mode displays lines of code in miniature on the scroll bar.
  • Use code map: Understand the code structure via code map. It helps you visualize dependencies across the code.
  • See frequently used files with Go/Edit command: Use the Go To command to perform a focused search to find specified items quickly.

Find Items Faster

You can search for the files, commands, and options across the IDE to show only relevant information for the current task.

  • Filter the content of tool windows: You can search the contents of several tool windows, such as the Properties windows, Toolbox, and Solution Explorer, but show items whose names contain the specified characters.
  • Display only the errors you want to address: You can reduce the number of errors appearing in the Error List window by choosing the Filter button on the Error List
  • Find menu commands, dialog boxes, and more: Enter the phrases or keywords in the search box for the items you are trying to find.

Save Debugging Time

You can save debugging time by following these tips that can help you speed up the process.

  • Use debugger tool: The debugging tool provides several ways to check what your code is doing while running. Breakpoints are useful when you know the line of code that you want to assess in detail at runtime.
  • Test the same application in different browsers: While debugging, you can switch among the installed web browsers, such as Page Inspector, without opening the Browse With dialogue.
  • Set temporary breakpoints: Create a temporary breakpoint in the current line of code and start the debugger. It enters break mode when you hit that line of code.
  • Capture value info for variables: You can add a DataTip to variables in code and pit that to access the last known variable values after debugging.
  • Use interactive window: Visual Studio provides an interactive REPL window that enables you to enter arbitrary code and provide immediate results.

Which Extension Tools Enhance Visual Studio’s Productivity?

The Productivity Power Tools (PPT) Extension pack helps improve the productivity of Visual Studio. Let’s discuss some extensions that help save time in your Visual Studio dev environment.

Match Margin

The Match Margin extension allows you to highlight text in code and show locations where that text is within the editor and editor margin. Various external and internal tools enable you to do a similar task using context menu options. However, the extension allows you to do this only by moving the cursor to the required text.

Copy as HTML

A simple part of outlining a specification, documentation, or work item should be about copying/pasting the code snippets. But this simple operation becomes slow when the genuine code formatting is lost when you paste it into the document. Then you have to correct it manually. The Copy As HTML extension resolves this issue by protecting the original code formatting.

Solution Error Visualizer

It’s not ideal to check the Error List window. However, the Solution Error Visualizer adds a twist to the Visual Studio Solution Explorer, allowing you to see error messages by hovering over a relevant solution, code file, or project.

Peek Help

In Visual Studio, you can set the cursor on framework or language keywords and press F1 to redirect the browser window that contains corresponding information about them. The exchange between the Visual Studio IDE and browser can be inefficient. But the Peek Help Extension addresses this problem by inserting the same information in the editor window while using ALT + F1, without requiring you to navigate away from work.

How Visual Assist Can Enhance Visual Studio Productivity?

Visual Assist has a lot of features that can help you enhance the productivity of Visual Studio. You can improve Visual Studio IDE with the multitude of Visual Assist features. These features include:

  • Navigation to any file, symbol, method, or reference in projects and solutions.
  • Refactoring helps you reduce the code complexity, improve readability, and make it extensible.
  • Code Generation allows you to write and update code faster.
  • Coding Assistance helps you code faster by fixing mistakes quietly.
  • Code Correction corrects mistakes you make, especially in pointer notation and symbol cases.
  • Code Inspection inspects code for certain quality issues as you edit.
  • Code Snippet helps you expand frequently typed code segments with the like-named feature in the IDE.
  • Debug Assistance reduces the time required to debug code.

Ready to Boost Your Visual Studio Productivity?

Visual Studio is one of the most widely used Integrated Development Environment (IDE) worldwide. With the right practical measures and extensions, you can improve the efficiency and productivity of Visual Studio. You can make your development environment more comfortable and increase productivity by following the tips mentioned in the article.

You can download the full extension pack to enhance Visual Studio productivity. These extensions are a perfect way to boost your essential development environment in Visual Studio 2022.

Moreover, Visual Assist helps developers become more productive with its perfect blend of features discussed in the article. Install it today to get a reliable coding partner that can integrate with Visual Studio IDE and enhance developers’ productivity.



I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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