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Get to the Right Window Quickly in Visual Studio

When I have lots of documents open in Visual Studio, I find it difficult to scan the tabs to find the document I want (I recognize that this may not be a problem for everyone). I often find myself double-clicking on files in Solution Explorer to pop it to the front of the tabs, even though I know the file is already open -- somewhere.

Or, I used to. Lately, I've added a new key stroke combination to my limited repertoire: Ctrl_Alt_Down Arrow causes the list of open files in the upper right corner of the editor window to pop open all by itself. That list is searchable, which means that if you start typing your file name, the focus shifts to the first file with a name that matches what you've typed so far. Since I (usually) know my file's name, I can press Ctrl_Alt_Down, type as much of my file name as necessary to highlight it in the list, and hit the enter key to open the file in a tab.

By the way: Once a tab is open, you can close it with Ctrl_F4.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 08/11/2011 at 1:16 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 Peter Vogel Canada

Mark: I do like Tab Studio...but I'm not sure I'm ready to pay $50 for great tab management. But, then, my wife says that I'm so tight that I squeak when I walk.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 Mark Johnson

Get the VS Addin "Tabs Studio". Then the problem goes away and you never need to view a list of tabs open in Visual Studio.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 Doug USA

Worked great for me. Thanks!

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 Peter Vogel Canada

I didn't know about "Navigate To"--I'll have to try playing with that. I've been using Ctrl_Alt_Down Arrow in both VS2008 and VS2010 since I discovered it. This is the default/approved behaviour for the key combination in Visual Studio (the command name is Window.ShowEzMDIFileList, if that's any help)--you shouldn't have to set it up. It even works if the focus isn't in the code window (i.e. if you've just selected something in Solution Explorer). At least, it works for me and !!should!! (notice the keyword "should") work for you right out of the box. You have to wonder what would disable it (and why some maker would think it was a good idea to make your screen flip). I'm bummed if it doesn't work for you because it's really useful.

Thu, Aug 11, 2011 JimL

It would be useful, except how to set up that key combination was left out of the article. Also, it does nothing on either of my computers nor my Visual Studios (2008 and 2010). Not good reporting.

Thu, Aug 11, 2011

When I hit Ctrl_Alt_Down Arrow my screen flips upside-down!! Too bad I can't see what was described!!

Thu, Aug 11, 2011 Curtis

Don't forget the CTRL-, "Navigate To" which lets you open a class or file by name, regardless of whether it's open or not. By the way, CTRL-ALT-down on my PC turns the screen upside down. It has no effect in VS.

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