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Finding Matching Brackets in C#

You can tell that the Visual Studio team recognizes the primary issue C# developers face: finding the matching bracket. That must be true because the most obvious way of finding "the other bracket" is built into the way code is displayed: When you put your cursor beside one bracket (open or close), both it and the matching bracket are highlighted (or, because the default color for the brackets is gray: lowlighted).

Unfortunately, that isn't much help if the "matching" bracket is off the screen: you can't see the highlighting if the bracket isn't visible. In those situations my fallback method used to be the plus/minus signs in the left hand margin of the editor window: I collapsed my C# methods to see what code disappeared and what code remained visible. The problem here, of course, is that the collapsed code was often the code in which I was interested.

There's a third option that not a lot of developers know about: Place your cursor on the bracket you're trying to match (open or close) and press Ctrl+] (that's the Control key with a closing square bracket). Your cursor moves to the matching bracket. Pressing the key combination again takes you back to the bracket on which you started.

There are other benefits: If you're bored and stuck on a problem, I've found repeatedly pressing Ctrl+] and watching the cursor snap back and forth can be soothing. And, if anyone is watching, it looks like you're working.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 08/19/2015 at 2:20 PM


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