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Maximize Your Visual Studio Editor Window Space Fast

When I'm writing code, I like to devote as much screen space in Visual Studio to my editor window as possible. I did a tip earlier on how to get into Visual Studio's full screen mode where your entire screen becomes your editor window. However, I understand that full screen mode might not be your cup of tea because getting to the various tool windows -- Solution Explorer, for example -- isn't obvious (you also lose the window's title bar with the standard maximize/minimize/reset buttons).

If you'd like to get the maximum room for your editor's window without giving up the Visual Studio window, then go to the Windows menu and select Auto Hide All. That choice will immediately collapse all of your tool panes -- Solution Explorer, the toolbox, the Properties List and all of their siblings will collapse into the sides of Visual Studio, giving you the maximum editing space inside of Visual Studio. You can, of course, bring back the tool panes you need by clicking on them...but there is no "auto un-hide all" so you have to bring each tool pane back individually.

In Visual Studio 2015, though, you have an alternative to bringing back each tool pane one-by-one: Windows Layouts. To use this, first set up your "preferred" layout of tool panes (probably the one you have in front of you right now). Then assign this Windows layout a name and save it by going to the Window menu and selecting Save Window Layout.

With your preferred layout saved, after using Auto Hide All you can get back to the tool panes you want by selecting Window | Apply Window Layout | <your layout name> from the menu. Saving Windows layouts isn't an option in earlier versions of Visual Studio which only remembered the layouts for four fixed modes: Design, Debug, Full Screen, and File.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 09/01/2016


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