11 Productivity Features For Developers in Visual Studio 2013

Productivity Power Tools 2013 is an extension pack to Visual Studio 2013. This article outlines 11 productivity features for developers in Visual Studio 2013. Productivity Power Tools can be downloaded from here. Other improvements made in Visual Studio 2013 can be read from techbubbles.

1. Peek Help Feature

This feature allows you to fetch the MSDN help documentation for types and display it inline inside the editor. To get the Peek Help right-click on any type in the editor and click on the Peek Help command or the shortcut key ALT + F1.

Peek Help Feature
 
Peek Windows

Peek Windows is like a browser control where you can navigate and find the terms. You can use a small promote button to open this window in full screen and escape to return to the editor. This feature is useful for becominig familiar with new types without having to leave the Visual Studio editor.

2. Solution Explorer errors

Some files in Solution Explorer are presented with a red underlined colour that indicate these files has some errors, warnings or information messages. When you hover the mouse over the specific file having the red underline then it shows you the error message in a window.
 
Solution Explorer errors

Double-click on any one error in the above to navigate to the actual line in the file. You can filter the Solution Explorer to just show the list of files with errors or warnings.
 
errors or warnings

3. Structure Visualizer

This feature creates markers in the editor corresponding to various blocks in the code.
 
Structure Visualizer

When you hover on the lines shown in the picture above it then shows you the corresponding code blocks and it allows you to quickly figure out the scope of a class.

4. Double-click to maximize windows

A quick and easy way to maximize any docked window in the Visual Studio editor is to double-click on the title bar and restore it by double-clicking again.
 
Double-click to maximize windows

5. Timestamp margin in debug window
 
Timestamp margin in debug window

This feature is useful when there is a large number of debug messages when the message was created.

6. Quick Tasks

For example if you want to turn on the line numbers then you can simply type LineNumOn in a quick task box.

quick task box

You can search all the tasks available to you by typing @tasks e to displays all the tasks.
 
displays all the tasks

7. Improvement to Document Tab extension

The Document Tab well extension colourize the tabs depending on files that the Tab belongs to, you can customize it by clicking on the Customize option.
 
Document Tab extension

Now you can find a new feature called Show Icons that shows you the icons right on the document Tab.

8. Improvement to CTRL + Click go to definition feature

The CTRL + Click allows you to navigate to the definition by CTRL-clicking the symbol. When you CTRL + Click the symbol it then opens a Peek Window.
 
definition feature

9. Improvement to HTML Copy extension

This extension allows you to copy code as HTML and paste into BLOG sites or any HTML editors.
 
HTML Copy extension

10. Improvement to Undo close document feature

If you close a bunch of documents in the document Tab then click on the File menu you have an option called recently closed documents that allows you open any document that was closed recently.
 
Undo close document feature
 
11. Match Margin

This feature highlights all text matches for any token in the editor, for example if you place the cursor on a term System then it highlights the all occurrences of a system in a file and as well as in a scroll bar.
 
Match Margin