Practical .NET

Customize Browser Window Size When Debugging ASP.NET Apps

If, after pressing F5, you've ever found yourself adjusting the size of your browser window, then this tip is for you. But you shouldn't be surprised if it doesn't work.

Typically, when you go into debug mode in an ASP.NET application, your browser window opens in whatever state you last left it (which probably wasn't while debugging an application). Unless you always operate in full-screen mode, that will sometimes mean that the resulting window isn't big enough to display what you need. If that's been bugging you, you might be able to specify the size of the browser window to be used when you start debugging.

To set the browser window size, go to Solution Explorer and right-click on a "browser viewable" file (in ASP.NET MVC, you can use any View for this). From the resulting pop-up menu, select the Browse With choice. The resulting dialog box will let you select which browser to use when debugging. What you may not have noticed is that, somewhere else on the dialog, there will be a dropdown list labeled "Size of browser window."

The default setting for this dropdown list is Default, which causes Visual Studio to use the browser as you last left it. You can, however, pick from three other sizes (480x640, 800x600, and 1024x768). Once you've made your choice, click on the Set as Default button to save your change.

Big caveat! I have to warn you that after going to all this work you might be disappointed: Depending on what versions of which browsers you use, you may find this setting is ignored. Don't call me to complain.

About the Author

Peter Vogel is a system architect and principal in PH&V Information Services. PH&V provides full-stack consulting from UX design through object modeling to database design. Peter tweets about his VSM columns with the hashtag #vogelarticles. His blog posts on user experience design can be found at

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