Practical .NET

Improving Feedback When Editing HTML

Get Visual Studio to be more helpful when you're working with HTML.

Under Tools | Options | Text Editor | HTML there are a bunch of choices that you might want to turn on to help you when editing … or turn off if you find them annoying. These options move around from one version of Visual Studio to another, so you might find them under Formatting or Advanced (or somewhere else).

To put it another way -- there's a setting for:

  • Getting Visual Studio to automatically put in quotation marks when you type attribute values
  • Showing CSS and HTML errors as errors (rather than warnings) in the Error List when you do a build
  • Display the currently selected HTML element, and all the tags it's nested inside of, at the bottom of the editor window (you can use this display to skip back up any number of nesting levels)
  • Format your HTML when you paste it (and set how many spaces are in a tab when indenting your HTML)
  • Turn on map mode for the vertical scroll bar (which shows a sketch of your file in the vertical scroll bar with a magnified view of your code as you move your mouse up and down the bar)
  • Automatically generate a closing tag when you create an opening tag

This is your chance to get rid of those "helpful" features in Visual Studio that drive you nuts. Or turn on the helpful features you like.

That could happen.

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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