Visual Studio 2015 Tips

All the tips prepared with VS 2015 Enterprise edition, some tips may not work with other editions of VS.

In Visual studio 2015, the following three versions are available,

  1. Enterprise Edition
  2. Professional Edition
  3. Community Edition

Visual studio 2015 versions

Enterprise Edition: It is the new edition in the VS 2015, Microsoft merged with the (Ultimate + Premium).

Activate VS: Visual studio three editions are available.

Community Edition: Its free edition activates with Microsoft account.

Professional or Enterprise Edition: Activate with MSDN subscription account or enter the product key.

File -> Account Settings menu.

MSDN or Community sign in with email account, VS activated.

Product key: Click License with a Product Key link, enter the product, then Apply

Product Key

Tip 1: Add Visual studio account

Visual Studio 2015 supports multiple login, User can add Microsoft or School or Work places accounts, so that you can access all accounts from any account & all the accounts roam with you.

Add visual studio account,

  1. File Menu -> Account Settings,

    Add an account

    Add an account

  2. Under VS application top right side windows sign in option is available

    sign in

Tip 2: Quick Launch

Easily find out the VS options, no need to check each menu item to find out the item.

Example: Change the Font size of the Text Editor, go to the quick launch text box type: “text”, it shows all the related items and select the “Fonts and colors" item.

Fonts and colors

Show or Hide Quick Launch: Default quick launch show in the VS, user can enable or disable Quick Launch text box (Tools , Options, Quick Launch, then Enable or Disable

Quick Launch

Tip 3: Run Visual Studio full screen

User can run the VS in full screen.

Go to View Menu, click and select Full screen option.

Keyboard short cut: Shift + Alt + Enter.

Run Visual studio full screen

Tip 4: Notifications

If VS connected online and any VS package item updated, then it will show in the Notifications area.

It will show the total no of packages available for update In the VS title bar, click this Notifications(Flag) button, it will show in the package information in Notifications window area.


Tip 5: VS Theme

To change the VS theme, go to Tools Menu-> Options -> Environment-> General -> Color theme: select the color as you like, default it will show only 3 options: Blue, Dark, Light (We can add more colors, more details we will see in coming topic)

VS Theme

Tip 6: Tool bar windows position

Open any supported window like Solution Explorer or Notifications window. It by default occupy the VS space, if user in Design view or text editor windows size width has reduced.

We can avoid this via Auto Hide Mode options in the supported windows.

Example: Open the Solution Explorer window (View Menu -> Solution Explorer). Click the right side down arrow button, Sub menu show all supported window style, click the Auto Hide, Solution Explorer. The window will automatically, hide and display name in the right side of the VS. After that mouse over the item, the window will show automatically .

Tool bar windows position

Text editor

In this topic, I have covered most of the Text editor related topic.

Tip 7: Zoom

Increase the Text Editor Zooming.

Bottom Left increase the percentage text editor size.


Tip 8: Remove unnecessary namespace

Creating new project by default some of the namespaces are added & later you many remove some of the API, those API namespaces is also not required in file. We can remove all the unused namespace in single shot. VS 2015 support remove unused namespace complete project or solution.

Left top right side move the mouse cursor and remove unnecessary used icons will appear.

  1. Preview changes: Before removing the namespace you can see the preview of the changes.
  2. Fix all occurrences: Changes done in the complete project based on the user selections.


Tip 9: Quick selection

Top of the text editor three combo boxes are available. It is using to quickly move to one class to another class or one function to another function.

  • Project selection: Project name show in the (first combo box).
  • Class selection: Class name show in the (second combo box).
  • Function selection: all the function name which belong to the class, which is selected in the class combo box.

Note: If same class name defined in different class files (using partial class), select the class name (second combo box) and go to function combo box (third combo box), it will display all the function names is in different class file also.

Quick selection

Tip 10: Line Numbers

Default line numbers won’t be displayed in the Text Editor. Enable line numbers in the text editor, go to the Tools -> Options -> Text Editor -> All languages -> Select the Line Numbers (Default line number enable to all the language). If you want a specific language instead of All languages, select the specific language (ex: C#) - Select the Line Numbers and click ok.

Text Editor changes

Line Numbers

Display the line numbers in the text editor.

text editor

Tip 11: Text Editor Preview

Scroll bar future is VS2015, moving the scroll bar, automatically show the scroll position code in preview window. Default preview window is off.

Enable this option, go to the Tools, Options, Text Editor, All languages, Scroll Bars, select vertical scroll bar and enable show preview Tooltip -> select the source overview or right click scroll bar area, then select scroll bars options

Text Editor Preview

Preview window

Preview window

Tip 12: Font size

Default text editor font size is display as 10. User can increase or decrease the font size.

Go to the Tools, Options , Environment, Fonts and Colors and show settings by selecting Text Editor.

Font size

Tip 13: Pin Tab

Open the file in VS, default opened file isn’t pin. Open multiple files in the VS and the first opened items are hidden and the recent opened items visible to the user. Some files you need to be always visible to the user. In this case, pin the files in VS, it defaults visible to the user placed first tab.

Top right each opened item pin tab is available, click the pin button, clicked pin tab placed in the first tab.

Pin Tab

Tip 14: Opened hidden files

When multiple files are opened some of the items are hidden. Open hidden items, in the Editor right side one small arrow mark button is available, click the button and it will display all the opened files item list.

Click the file and it is visible to the user,

Opened hidden files

Tip 15: Region ... End region

Groups of items (like namespace or class names) automatically add the region and end region option in text editor.

Click the – or + symbol.


Tip 16: CodeLens

Find what happened to your code, like find the references and changes to your code (it is not available in the VS community edition).

Each function header code lens information is available.



Tip 17: Adding Missing Namespace

Adding any new API or function or class, if namespaces not included in the file, VS editor automatically show in the Red color (error). Beginning of the API namespace icon popup, click it and add the namespace or generate function

Adding Missing Namespace


Tip 18: Splitter View

Splitter view control is used to split the text editor in two different partitions,

Splitter View


Tip 19: Windows Layout

Windows Layout: Store VS IDE (Customize settings), a device you can reuse the same IDE in different device with the same login.

Save: Go to Window menu, Save Window Layout, then Save with any name.

Apply: Go to Window Menu, Apply Window Layout, then select the layout file.

Example: You can try in same PC also,


  1. Open the Solution Explorer (View Menu -> Solution Explorer).
  2. Save window Layout: Window menu -> Save Window Layout -> Save with any name.
  3. Close Solution explorer.
  4. Apply the Layout (Go to Window Menu -> Apply Window Layout -> Select the layout file. (store in step2).
  5. Now solution Explorer visible.

Tip 20: Synchronize settings

Sign in with same account with all the devices, all the Visual studio settings synchronize.

Synchronize settings

Tip 21: XAML default view

Open XAML file, by default it opens with Design and code view. User can change default view like always open with Design or source code view.

Note: Set as default source code view. The XAML page opens faster.

Source view

Tip 22: Position each attribute on a separate line

All child property in a single line, if want change in separate line, go to properties and change the view.



Tools Menu, Text Editor, XAML, Formatting, Spacing, then Position each attribute on a separate line.

separate line



Tip 23: Track Active Item in Solution Explorer

Select this option, selected file (tab in the text editor), Highlighted in the solution explorer project easily identified which project file is available.

Track Active Item in Solution Explorer

Tip 24: Show output window

While compiling project, default open the output window by going to Tools, Options, Projects & Solutions, General, then check Show Output window when build starts.


Tip 25: Extensions and Updates

Adding more functionality to Visual studio like adding new controls, project templates, or support tools.

Example: Change the build output in color format like error in red color, success in green color.
To open Extensions windows (Tools -> Extensions and Updates->Online) type color it will show list all of items & select the VSColorOutput and click Install.


Extension Name: VSColorOutput

Restart the VS, Create or open any project, then Build the project. After these steps, you can see the output window, it will show in the color output.

See output window

VS adding more color: For adding more theme color, install Visual studio 2015 Color Theme Editor Extensions.

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