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How to Create New Code Snippets from Existing Ones in Visual Studio

I'm not a big user of code snippets, but I know developers who are. I've noticed those developers often don't use the default value supplied for the variable part of the snippet (What! All your connection strings aren't in a variable named "conn"?). If you're one of those people or you'd just be happier with a couple more variations on the code snippets that come with Visual Studio, here's how to make that happen.

The first step is to open the Code Snippets Manager (it's on the Tools menu). The next step -- and the hardest part -- is finding the code snippet you want to change. Once you find that snippet in the manager, click on it and then look at the top of the dialog. There's a Location textbox there and in it you'll see the file path to the file that holds the code snippet. Copy that file path (sadly, Ctrl_A won't work but clicking at the start of the path and using Shift_End will).

Once you've copied the path, close the Code Snippets Manager and, from the File menu, select Open > File. Paste the file path you copied into the File Name textbox and hit the <Enter> key. You'll be looking at your code snippet in a Visual Studio editor tab.

Before you make any changes, from the File Menu select the Save ... As menu choice. It's hard to see that choice because the file name -- which is very long -- is inserted into the middle of the menu choice name. If it's any help, the Save ... As choice is the second of the two choices that begin with "Save." Once you've found it, save your file under a new name. Now, if you render the snippet inoperable, you'll still have the original to fall back on and can try again.

You will, of course, want to change the code in the snippet (otherwise why are you reading this?). But make sure that you also change two things in the XML headers at the top of the file. First, change the shortcut to (a) something you'll remember to type when you want this snippet, and (b) something that no other snippet is using. Second, change the snippet's title element to something you'll recognize in the Code Snippet Manager. If you're a decent human being, you'll also change the author tag to your name.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 10/10/2019 at 10:33 AM


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