I'm clearly not the oldest knife in the drawer, nor am I the youngest.  I got involved with computers in my youth just about the time Bill Gates was positioning himself to put a PC in every home.  What this means is, I grew up on PCs with no mice; pre-Windows, pre-GUI.  I learned how to write "menu" programs that utilized a broader range of ascii characters than most people are familiar with today.  The point is, everything I did on the computer I did with the keyboard.

I recall in high school, a new kind of computer with this funny bulbous thing connected to it at the end of a wire.  The screen was even more compelling.  There was an arrow on the screen and you were supposed to use a "mouse" (the bulbous thing) to move it around.  Our teachers loaded something called Hypertext and told us to play around with it.  I have to admit, it was not love at first sight.  I had a lot of trouble making the arrow do what I wanted. 

Today, it is second nature to use a mouse to manipulate icons, text, forms, etc. on the screen.  Many people use touch screens in their daily lives.  As a developer who writes code, sometimes the mouse can get in the way.  The mouse is so integral that it can be hard to break free.  The mouse has its place; but, in my opinion, is should play a very small role in writing code.

I am constantly surprised at how many "experienced" developers are unfamiliar with the tools that they are using.  Below is a list of commands that I find useful with Microsoft Visual Studio, specifically for C# and asp.net.  Of course, you can change any of these and you can add your own by customizing Visual Studio. Many of these you will already know. Hopefully there are a few new ones here to boost your productivity.

These are just the basics.  Imagine what you can do with code acceleration tools like CodeRush, ReSharper, and others.

Keystroke Action
Navigation
F12 Go to Definition. Jumps to the definition of the Class, Method, Property, etc of the item currently occupied by the cursor. This works best if you have the source code.
Ctrl - Navigate Forward:  Jumps to last line of visited code. Jumps between source files. Can be used repeatedly.
Ctrl-Shift - Navigate Backward:  Jumps to next line of visited code. These are similar to going back and forward in your browser history.
Ctrl-Shift-F Find in files
Ctrl-G Go To Line.  Useful if someone says your code is failing at line 1739 of 2341.  Hopefully this never happens to you.
Ctrl-W S Activate Solution Explorer
Ctrl-W P Activate Properties Window
Ctrl-W O Activate Output Window
Ctrl-W E
Activate Errors List
Editing
Ctrl-Shift-R Record temporary macro
Ctrl-Shift-P Play temporary macro. I use these two to perform repetitive editing that refactoring tools cannot help with. As refactoring tools have gotten better, I have found that I use this less often.
Ctrl-Shift-S Save All
Ctrl-Shift-H Replace in files
Alt-A (When in Find and Replace dialog) Replaces all occurrences with the new text.
Ctrl-U Make lowercase
Ctrl-Shift-U Make uppercase
Ctrl-Space Complete a word (IntelliSense)
F2 Refactor Rename (I believe this is new to VS2008).  Will search entire solution to update any references.  Does a pretty good job with aspx too.
Ctrl-E D Format Document.  Useful for aspx and xml (if you don't mind Microsoft's formatting rules
Ctrl-M M Toggle outline expansion (note: the capital M here does not imply a "Shift", just used for readability)
Ctrl-M L Toggle All outlining
Building and Debugging
Ctrl-Shift-B Build All / Build Solution
Ctrl-F5 Start without debugging.
F9-Toggle breakpoint The first time I used visual studio I switch F5 and F9. Bonus points to anyone who knows why.
F5 Run with debugger
F10 Step over
F11 Step into
Shift-F11 Step out of
 
posted on Wednesday, June 4, 2008 1:15 AM
Filed Under [ .Net Tools Productivity ]

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