Visual Studio 2015 Feature Series: #2 Window Layouts

Visusl Studio 2015 Download Link : https://www.visualstudio.com/?Wt.mc_id=DX_MVP5000564

 
Abstract

Window Layout is a new Visual Studio 2015 feature related to developer's productivity and ease of interaction with the Visual Studio 2015 IDE. In previous versions of Visual Studio, developers were able to arrange windows depending on their needs but temporarily. Visual Studio 2015 extends this experience with some productivity enhancements.

Introduction

Window Layout is directly related to the way numerous windows are arranged and laid out in a Visual Studio IDE. An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is every developer's tool for being creative, develop new things, being logical, fix issues, build and deploy various Line of Business (LOB) solutions and so on.

Why Window Layout

Different developer personality types prefer the windows to be arranged in different ways. Some like certain windows in the IDE and some like other windows. Some may like Pinned windows and some Tab styled.

Hence, Window Layout enables a developer to arrange the windows that they want and how they want and then save the layout for later use. The saved layout can be accessed from any machine on any device and applied to the IDE as long as that layout was saved to your Account Settings via Synchronization.

Read Feature#1 Account Management in my previous article.

So Window Layout enables you to arrange the IDE in a way you are most comfortable with and provide ease of use and productivity.

Which Windows

Well, today Visual Studio 2015 is mature and has many windows that may appear in a developer's screen wrapped into the IDE. For instance:
  1. Solution Explorer
  2. Team Explorer
  3. Server Explorer
  4. SQL Server Object Explorer
  5. Bookmark Window
  6. Call Hierarchy
  7. Class View
  8. Code Definition Window
  9. Object Browser
  10. Error List
  11. Output
  12. Task List
  13. Toolbox
  14. Class view

This list goes on and on, so let's see the entire list in the Visual Studio 2015 View menu as in Figure 1.

Visual Studio 2015 View Menu
Figure 1: Visual Studio 2015 View Menu

How to Save a Window Layout

Before you start saving a Window Layout, you must create one. Use the following procedure for that.

  1. Arrange some windows (all of which you work with most commonly) in your desired way. For example see Figure 2.

    Arrange windows in Studio 2015
    Figure 2: Arrange windows in Visual Studio 2015

  2. Now let's save this Window Layout. Click on the Window menu and choose “Save Window Layout” as in Figure 3.

    Save Window Layout menus option
    Figure 3: Save Window Layout menus option

  3. Name the Layout properly so you can recall from the name and click OK.

    Naming a Layout
    Figure 4: Naming a Layout

  4. Now the layout is saved and synchronized with your Account Settings.

Reset Window Layout

Once you have saved the layout and you want to test it, you must reset the layout to the default layout that the Visual Studio IDE brings to you.

Go to the Window menus and click on “Reset Window Layout” as in Figure 5.

Reset Window Layout menus option
Figure 5: Reset Window Layout menus option

Once you click on this option, Visual Studio will prompt you to confirm that you want to restore the default window layout as in Figure 6. Click Yes.

Confirmation dialog to Reset Window Layout
Figure 6: Confirmation dialog to Reset Window Layout

Now, your IDE will be re-arranged to the default layout as in Figure 7 that could be the one you have right now in your Visual Studio IDE.

Default layout after Reset of the layout
Figure 7: Default layout after Reset of the layout

Applying Saved Window Layout

To apply your saved Window Layout, go to Window menus and click on “Apply Window Layout” and choose one of the previously saved Window Layouts. I have created and named my layout as
“Pinned_Windows”.

Apply Window Layout menu option
Figure 8: Apply Window Layout menu option

Click on the “Pinned_Windows” layout and Visual Studio will show a confirmation dialog as in Figure 9, click OK.

Confirmation to Apply saved Window Layout
Figure 9: Confirmation to Apply saved Window Layout

Now your layout will change to what you have saved and IDE will appear as in Figure 10.

Saved layout applied
Figure 10: Saved layout applied

Manage Window Layouts

As you can imagine, you may end up with creating and cleaning up the layout depending on your needs. Hence, it becomes very important to manage the layouts that are created and available in your Account Settings. You can easily manage the layouts via the Windows menu and the “Manage Window Layouts” command.

Manage Window Layouts menu option
Figure 11: Manage Window Layouts menu option

Once you click on it, a dialog will open and allow you to rename and delete.

manage window layouts
Figure 12: Manage Window Layouts dialog

Summary

Custom Window Layouts in Visual Studio 2015 is a brand new way of arranging the windows in the IDE and saving the layout. After saving the layout, it's also easy to manage and restore the window arrangements. This feature certainly helps the developers to feel comfortable with their window arrangements and continue to be productive across the devices using Visual Studio 2015.