Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools Rocks!

By | October 8, 2010

I just want to share this free tool from Microsoft that makes my life as a developer really easy and its called Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools which you can download here.

As defined in the site, Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools is a set of extensions to Visual Studio Professional (and above) which improves developer productivity. This comprises of different tool set that definitely at least one will be very useful to you.  And here is a list of what is useful for me.  But before we start you need to download and install it you can either go to the Extension Manager like such

and go to online gallery to search for it or download in the link provided above.  Once you have done it, turn on and off the tools you need just by going to Tools -> Options -> Productivity Power Tools and turn on only the things you want remember it cost some memory to enable this.

Now going to my list and a bit of an explatnation on what they do.

Align Assignments

This feature is useful if you want to easily view your variable declarations which was like this before

private string sDomain = GlobalVariables.sDomain();
private string sDefaultOU = GlobalVariables.sDefaultOU();
private string sServiceUser = GlobalVariables.sServiceUser();
private string sServicePassword = GlobalVariables.sServicePassword();

then after typing type Ctrl+Alt+] you will view it like tis

private string sDomain          = GlobalVariables.sDomain();
private string sDefaultOU       = GlobalVariables.sDefaultOU();
private string sServiceUser     = GlobalVariables.sServiceUser();
private string sServicePassword = GlobalVariables.sServicePassword();

Auto Brace Completion

Are you not annoyed if you cant find the other pair of { in your code, now with this feature it will automatically close the following constructs

  • ()
  • {}
  • []
  • <>
  • “”
  • ‘’

Column Guides

Having that issue above of missing brackets, sometimes you are tempted to draw an imaginary line to see where the other pair is, I even remember before when monitors are not yet LCD’s I even use whiteboard markers to get it right, this feature will draw that lines for you.  Just right click on the column you want that line and just go to Guidelines, its the same for removing it as well.

Then you have your line

Ctrl + Click Go To Definition

This feature will enable going to definition of an object by using CTRL + Click, which makes the object a hyperlink.

rather than right click go to definition.

Document Well 2010

This tool certainly have a lots of feature but here are the most important things for me.

1. Vertical tabs, just imagine finding all of those open codes on that old horizontal tabs, isnt that annoying clicking that small arrow on the top right location but with this tool you can view it easily on the side.

to enable this use that annoying arrow on the top right portion of your IDE and select customize

Then tick the check box that says show vertically

2. Pinning tabs, did you not find for that option before where you want to close tabs by selection, before its was only close all and close except this but now you have the option to pin tabs and with that you can close all execpt pinned.

Highlight Current Line

This is self explanatory, it just highlights the current line. I dont know for other developer but for me I find it useful as it gives more visibility on what I want specially when you have thousand lines of codes in a high resolution monitor.  Once its enabled it highlights where you are on your sea of codes.


I guess this one is one of the best features and the one I used most, It enables you to copy your codes how it is formatted on your IDE (spaces and colours) and paste it as HTML,  imaginge how easy your life will be when you are a blogger where you want to maintain the colors and spaces when you post your blog article, its like that self code aware text editor on CodeProject or Stack Overflow.  Also please note this is not just good for blogging or websites it is good as well for Documentations.

No need for a special copy command here, once you Control + C or right click copy it copies the HTML format

Move Line Up – Down Commands

By pressing Alt + Up Arrow or Alt + Down Arrow keys the selected lines of code will be moved up or down respectively, how cool is that!

Imaging this scenario, you need to bring those lines down

before you have to copy and paste, now you just press Alt + Down Arrow so the whole highlighted codes is moved down below.

Searchable Add Reference Dialog

Dont you just like this one, take note that this is really responsive.  It filters as you type.  Just remember those old days of waiting for that COM Object tab to populate the list of objects you can refer to.

Solution Navigator

Think of it as a beefed up version of Solution Explorer where you can expand the code files to navigate to its classes and even members, you can also filter what shows using that search bar and even view whats only opened, unsaved and edited.

Triple Click

Its one of those small things that make a difference.  This makes selecting never easy and can be achieved by triple clicking a line of code

As a bonus

This is not included in the tool but I really like it, its the power of CTRL + K + D, this formats your entire codes to the proper spacing.  So if you have codes like this

By clicking CTRL + K + D, it will be clean like this

Thats it, so have it a go you wont loose anything.  It will definitely make your coding easy as ever.


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