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Customize Visual Studio Menus

There are probably lots of items on the Visual Studio menus and toolbars that you never use: Why not get rid of them? The odds are also good that there are items on the Visual Studio menus that you use frequently but are buried on some submenu. For instance, I want to know why the Views menu is cluttered up with windows I never use like Team Explorer (most of my clients don't use Team Foundation Server) and Properties (I always use F4). And why is the Immediate Window (which I use all the time) buried on the Other Windows menu off the Debug menu?

Why not set up Visual Studio to work the way you do? Removing the items you don't want is ridiculously easy: From the Tools menu, select Customize and, in the Customize dialog, click on the Commands tab. In the dropdown list at the top of the dialog, select the Menu bar you want to customize (e.g. View or View | Other Windows). Then find the menu items you never use and delete them. Finding the menu you want to delete isn't always obvious, though; the Team Explorer menu choice appears on the list as TfsTeamExplorer.

Adding the items you do want is only slightly more complicated. Still in the Customize dialog, after selecting the menu you want to add to, click on the Add Command button. This will display a list of available commands (on the right) organized by the menu (on the left) that the commands normally appear on. So, to add the Immediate View menu item to the View menu (where it belongs), first select the Debug menu in the left column. Then, when the list of commands on the right refreshes, select the Immediate menu item and click OK.

And: Don't Worry! If you delete something that you wish you'd kept, you can always add it back. Or, if things go horribly wrong, just click the Reset button on the Customize dialog to get back to the original menus.

There's an added benefit here: Job Security. If no one can figure out how your copy of Visual Studio works, it makes you that little bit harder to replace.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 04/05/2013 at 1:16 PM


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