Steve Andrews

passionate technologist · data automation · aspie

Tech·Ed Visual Studio Tips with Sara Ford

While at Tech·Ed this week I had several opportunities to sit down with Sara Ford, including for my new Community Radio podcast. Along the way, I learned a few new tips and tidbits of knowledge about Visual Studio.

Cycle Clipboard Ring

If you’re like me when using Visual Studio, the last block of text you copied to the clipboard is always in the back of your mind, in many cases for future use. And then you mistakenly hit Ctrl+C (Copy), and overwrite the clipboard and destroying the coding flow. No more. Instead of using Ctrl+V (Paste) to paste from the clipboard, you can use Ctrl+Shift+V, which cycles through Visual Studio’s clipboard ring. Yes, Visual Studio has a clipboard ring.

In the past when I presented this tip folks wanted to know how large the clipboard ring is, and I didn’t know. I asked Sara this week and it’s 20 items.

File Tab Channel File Menu

There are a couple nifty tips about the File Tab Channel, which is the horizontal bar above documents that lists each document name.


First, if you right-click on a document’s tab, there are a couple new menu items added in Visual Studio 2008 that can be very useful:

  • Copy Full Path – Copies the full file path to the clipboard.
  • Open Containing Folder – opens Windows Explorer to the directory containing the file.

Second, the File Tab Channel File Menu, the down arrow on the right side of the File Tab Channel, lists all the open documents. It can also be invoked from the keyboard using Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow.

Lastly, and I learned this little-known tip this week, the File Tab Channel File Menu itself is state-sensitive. That is, when there are more documents than can be displayed in the space, the icon changes from image to image. This can be really handy since it isn’t always apparent how many documents are open.

Using the Find Combo Box to Set a Breakpoint

imageAnother little-known tip is that if you type a method name for the currently open document into the Find combo box, located in the Standard command bar, and press F9, it will set a breakpoint on that method.

More Tips

If you liked these tips you can find more in Sara’s book, “Visual Studio Tips”, available now on 100% of the author royalties are being donated to a scholarship fund at the local community college for residents of Waveland, MS which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Microsoft is also matching her donations 100%. Go buy three or four copies!

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