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Are there any good extensions for Visual Studio that build on Intellisense and assist with code-completion? I've heard that refactor is awesome, but does anyone have any experience with any others? VS 2010 intellisense is actually pretty good, but when I code in Java I use eclipse, which has a few nice goodies that I would like to be able to use coding in C# to increase productivity.

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Visual Assist X –  GBegen Oct 20 '10 at 21:08
examples of the Eclipse features you're referring to would be helpful. –  STW Oct 20 '10 at 21:18
Suggestions for import statements would be extremely helpful ("using" statements in C#). –  Morgan Herlocker Oct 20 '10 at 21:37
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closed as off topic by Thomas Owens Feb 6 '13 at 22:36

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools


A set of extensions to Visual Studio Professional (and above) which improves developer productivity. In this second major release of the Power Tools we have added the following four extensions:

Tools Options Support The number one feature request by far has been the ability to turn off the individual extensions in the Productivity Power Tools. In this release, we’ve added an extension which adds a category to Tools Options which allows you to toggle the extensions on/off and provides a single place to find the options for a particular extension.

Solution Navigator (More Info) Solution Navigator is a new tool window that acts like an enhanced Solution Explorer. With it, you can:

* Expand code files to navigate to its classes, expand classes to navigate to their members, and so on (C# and VB only)
* Search your solution, all the way down to class members
* Filter your solution or projects to see just opened files, unsaved files, and so on
* View related information about classes and members (such as references or callers/callees for C#)
* Preview images by hovering over them, or preview rich information by hovering over code ite 

In other words, it merges functionality from Solution Explorer, Class View, Object Browser, Call Hierarchy, Navigate To, and Find Symbol References all into one tool window! Note that the tool window doesn’t (yet) support everything that Solution Explorer supports, such as multiselect and drag-and-drop.

Solution Navigator also provides interactive tooltips in C# and VB code (replacing the default “quick info” tooltips) that give you the same kind of data, but right at your fingertips. In addition to getting the tooltips on hover, you can:

* Press Ctrl+1 to open a relevant tooltip at the current cursor location
* Press Ctrl+2 to quickly navigate to any class/member in the current source file 

Quick Access (More Info) Quick Access is a new tool window that allows users to search for and execute common tasks within the Visual Studio IDE. Not sure where a particular menu command is located? Want a quick way to create a new Silverlight project? By using Quick Access, you can efficiently find and execute common VS operations without taking your hands off the keyboard. Quick Access allows users to:

* Execute Main Menu and Context Menu commands
* Open the New Project Dialog with a specific Project Template selected
* Show a tool window
* Jump to a Visual Studio Options page
* Navigate to an open document in your Tab Well
* Create and execute a series of actions (task)   

To use, press Ctrl+3 to launch Quick Access, type in your search term (e.g., “debug”), and press Enter on the desired result. If your search term returns too many results, continue pressing Ctrl+3 to cycle through each category of results.

Auto Brace Completion Automatic Brace Completion improves the productivity of writing code by automatically inserting the closing code construct when the opening construct is typed for VB & C#. More specifically, this extension:

* Supports the following constructs: (), {}, [], <>, “”, and ‘’. 
* Allows you to press <TAB> to navigate past the next enclosing brace
* Allows you to automatically complete a statement in C# by inserting the closing semi-colon and moving you to the next line with SHIFT + ENTER 

The extensions from the previous Producitivity Power Tools have been included and improved. See the revision notes at the end of this post:

Tab Well UI (More Info) This extension allows you to completely customize the behaviour of your document tabs from the Productivity Power Tools Options:

* Scrollable tabs
  Maintain spatial consistency of the documents that are included in the document well.
* Vertical tabs
  Document tabs are shown vertically, allowing you to fit more tabs than are normally visible when shown horizontally.
* Pinned tabs
  Allows you to pin tabs to keep them always visible and available.
* Show close button in tab well
  Similar to Visual Studio 2008, will show a close button in the document well that will close the active tab.
* Tab Behavior
      o Remove tabs by usage order (LRU)
        When a new tab is inserted and existing tabs don't fit in the document well, instead of removing the tab at the end of the well it will remove the least recently used tab. This ensures that frequently used tabs are readily available.
      o Show pinned tabs in a separate row/column
        Pinning tabs can quickly cause you to run out of space for regular tabs. The option allows you to always show pinned tabs in a separate row (or column, if displayed vertically) from regular tabs.
      o Sorting
            + Sort tabs by project
              Tabs will be sorted by the project they belong to, thus keeping them always together in the document tab well.
            + Sort tabs alphabetically
              Tabs will be sorted alphabetically. When Sort By Project is turned on, tabs will be sorted first by project and then alphabetically.
            + Sort tab well dropdown alphabetically
              The drop down menu at the right end of the document well is sorted alphabetically. This option allows ordering as the tabs are laid out in the document well. 
* Tab UI
      o Color tabs according to their project or according to regular expressions
        This option permits tabs to be colored according to the project they belong to. This is particularly useful when sorting tabs by project, as it allows you to immediately identify different groups of project documents.
        You can also configure regular expressions and assign a color to each one. If the name of a tab matches the configured regular expression, it will be colored with the assigned color. 
* Miscellaneous options that modify tab UI
      o Show document/toolwindow icon in tab
      o Show close button in tab
      o Modify dirty indicator style
        This option allows you to select from a set of different dirty indicators that you might prefer over the asterisk.
      o Modify minimum and maximum tab size
        Allows you to modify minimum and maximum tab size. Try setting minimum and maximum sizes to the same value, and you will have evenly spaced tabs. 

Searchable Add Reference Dialog (More Info) The new Add Reference dialog makes it faster and easier for you to find the reference that you are looking for and add it to your VB, C# or F# project. From the Solution Explorer, simply right click on the References node, select the Add Reference command to see the updated Add Reference Dialog.

Highlight Current Line As the resolution of monitors increases, it’s becoming more difficult to find the caret in the code editor. The highlight current line extension makes it easy to find the caret by highlighting the line that the caret is on in the editor. You can even configure the default colour by changing the setting for “Current Line (Extension)” and “Current Line Inactive (Extension)” in Tools Options Fonts & Colors.

HTML Copy (More Info) This extension provides support for the HTML Clipboard format when cutting or copying code from the editor. This means that you’ll no longer have to go fix up the formatting of your code when you paste it into a TFS bug form or any other HTML based control.

Triple Click It’s never been easier to select a line of code from the mouse by simple triple-clicking anywhere on the line.

Fix Mixed Tabs Some developers prefer tabs, others prefer spaces, and nobody likes mixing tabs & spaces. This extension promotes developer harmony by warning as they are open or save a file that has a mixture of tabs & spaces. The information bar also provides an easy way to fix the file to suit your preference.

Ctrl + Click Go To Definition This extension gives the editor a web browser by adding clickable hyperlinks to symbols in your code as you hold down the Ctrl key.

Align Assignments This extension is useful for making your code a little more readable by aligning the assignments when you type Ctrl+Alt+] such that it takes this:

And turns it into this:

Please note: This may conflict with your formatting settings. E.g. in C# you will need to disable: Tools->Options->Text Editor->C#->Formatting->Spacing->"Ignore spaces in declaration statements"

Move Line Up/Down Commands This extension maps the Alt+Up Arrow & Alt+Down Arrow keys such that they will move the current line of code or the selected lines up and down through the editor.

Column Guides Since Visual Studio 2002, there has been a not so secret registry key which allowed user to draw a vertical line in the code editor. This is very useful to remind developers that their full line of code or comments may not fit one a single screen. Thanks to this extension this feature has returned with UI configure it. Simply place the cursor at the appropriate column and select Add Guideline from the context menu

Colorized Parameter Help This extension improves consistency with the editor by applying syntax highlighting to the contents of the Parameter Help window for C# &VB. Please note: Syntax highlighting colors can be customized using the display items prefixed with “Signature Help” in the “Fonts and Colors” menu.

For more addons


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Give Resharper a go, you can download a free 30 day trial from here. It has loads of refactoring and other tools to increase your productivity:

  • Continuous code quality analysis in C#, XAML, XML, ASP.NET, and ASP.NET MVC.
  • Instant fixes to eliminate errors and code smells.
  • 40 solution-wide refactorings to safely change your code base, and 200+ code editing helpers.
  • Extended web development support with code inspections, code generation, navigation, and extended IntelliSense.
  • Navigation features to let you instantly traverse your whole solution.

Once you have tried it you will wonder how you managed without it.

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People who use it certainly love Resharper. I quite want to give it a shot myself. –  glenatron Oct 20 '10 at 21:19
@glenatron - what's stopping you? Download the 30 day trial and start being more productive. –  Piers Myers Oct 20 '10 at 21:22
I am also quite the Resharper fan. I know that VS 2010 does some of the same type work, but it is something that I pay for out of my own pockets. –  Larry Smithmier Oct 20 '10 at 21:23
Basically lack of significant project on which to get the most out of said trial. Likely to change shortly. –  glenatron Oct 20 '10 at 22:12
If you program in other languages, IntelliJ IDEA is an IDE from the makers of ReSharper and includes most (all?) of the functionality of ReSharper. IDEA Community edition is free, and there is also a commercial Ultimate edition. –  Jon Oct 20 '10 at 23:01
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CodeRush is an option, and roughly on-par with Resharper. We use Resharper, but if we were to reconsider we would definately evaluate both side-by-side.

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If you do any XAML, I strongly recommend Karl Shifflet's XAML Editor IntelliSense Presenter Extension, which adds Filtering, Pascal case lookup, narrowing filter, etc.

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If you're relatively new to VS.NET, there might be some in-built code completion features you don't know about (I only discovered them relatively recently).

Firstly, code snippets for boilerplate code blocks. eg prop tab-tab creates a property, ctor tab-tab a constructor etc. Ctrl-K Ctrl-X in VS will show you the available snippets.

Also, Ctrl-. is awesome for adding usings/implementing interfaces/creating methods.

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