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Free Visual Studio Tool: Brace Completer

When I work in Visual Basic and add an If statement, Visual Studio writes the End If statement; If I add a Class declaration, Visual Studio adds the End Class statement. Why, then, when I work in C# and I type an open brace, doesn't Visual Studio write the closing brace?

In fact, C# will stubbornly mark my line as an error until I do add the closing brace (often hiding some real error). When you do finally type the closing brace in C#, Visual Studio formats the code -- that's got to be harder than adding the brace. That's why, whenever I type an opening brace, I immediately type the closing brace to reduce my chances of having a mismatched brace. Having Visual Studio add the brace would fit right in with my standard practice.

The Brace Completer extension does what I want: when I type an opening brace and hit the Enter key, Brace Completer adds the closing brace, lets Visual Studio format my code according to my settings, and then puts my cursor on the line following the opening brace.

If you're not happy with the default behavior, you can configure the utility from the Tools/Options/Environment/Brace Completer menu choice. Brace Completer does the right thing for C#, C/C++, CSS, and JavaScript; and if you're feeling brave, it's willing to support any other language known to Visual Studio that you might select in the Options dialog. You can also configure Brace Completer to insert the closing brace as soon as you type the opening brace, if you're one of those people who occasionally want to keep everything on one line (and, when you do finally hit the Enter key, you'll get the default formatting expected).

It doesn't seem like a big deal, but I like it very much. I know that it's only saving me one keystroke, but that's one keystroke every time I use a brace. I don't know what that is over a day, month or year, but I bet it's a ton of keystrokes. And, sure, there may come a time when I'll wish that Brace Completer hadn't added the closing brace -- but it hasn't happened yet.

You can find Brace Completer in the online section of Visual Studio's Tools/Extensions and Addins.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 03/18/2013 at 1:16 PM


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Reader Comments:

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 Steve L UK

+1 for Visual Studio Power Tools.

Tue, Mar 19, 2013 Peter Vogel Canada

The Power Tools are great! I talked about them back in June of 2010 (http://visualstudiomagazine.com/Blogs/Tool-Tracker/2010/06/Free-VS-Gallery-Tools.aspx) though, now that I think about it, I don't think I mentioned brace completion.

Mon, Mar 18, 2013 Tinus

Just one of the many, many features in the Productivity Power Tools. Available for both 2010 and 2012 versions of Visual Studio. You should rather use that extension :-)

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