Customizing Visual Studio


I have been working with Visual Studio (WinForm and ASP.NET applications using mostly C#) for several months now. For the most part my IDE is set up fairly standard but I have been wondering what are some suggestions in terms of plugins/settings that you find to be the most useful?

Update: Thanks for all the great suggestions. It looks like a general consensus that I should look into 'Resharper' along with some eye-candy with themes and custom fonts.


Free Tools

Paid Tools

7/27/2012 7:52:25 AM

Accepted Answer

Resharper is definitely a great tool. It has a moderate learning curve but is easy to pick up for some simple things and add mastery later. It is a good price for students and kinda expensive for the rest of us. Resharper is similar to CodeRush, but seems to have a larger following.

PowerCommands is a great set of add-ons that comes free from Microsoft. Things like "Open in Windows Explorer", "Command Prompt Here", and Copy/Paste references.

A discussion regarding add-ins is floating around here somewhere.

For straight-up customization, changing colors is fun, easy, and gives you a big bang for your buck. I prefer a slightly personalized version of Rob Conery's TextMate theme for Visual Studio. Once you get colors you like, you can just export the settings and carry them with you wherever you go.

Related to colors and themes, the Consolas font pack is pretty nifty and easy on the eye.

And like John recommends, a mastery of keyboard shortcuts will pay big dividends.

5/23/2017 12:17:05 PM

Make sure you install a custom color theme. These URLs are a good place to start looking for one:

I myself love Oren Ellenbogen's Dark Scheme. Really pleasant to the eyes. Also, make sure to replace the default font with Consolas or Inconsolata (one is Microsoft's, the other is free). They are both awesome.


I agree with the customizing of the theme - it makes the environment a whole lot easier to deal with.

You can choose some of the ones from the gallery at Hanselman's site, or create one with this online generator.


Master the built-in keyboard shortcuts (links to C# and VB keybinding cheatsheets can be found here)


  1. GhostDoc and HyperAddin provide automatic generation and formatting of XML comments.
  2. RockScroll is really great for browsing legacy classes or just getting a visual feel for your own code.
  3. Install TestDriven.NET to get Reflector in your Tools menu (or you could follow these instructions).

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