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Arranging Columns in Visual Studio Windows (with Sorting!)

Admittedly, the tool window I use most in Visual Studio is the Error List (I probably use it even more than I use Solution Explorer). By and large it meets my needs but it is customizable for those occasions when it does not.

For example, the default Error List display includes a Suppression State column that I hardly ever use. If you don't use it either, you can get rid of it, making more room for the columns you do want (to be more specific: the Description column). All you have to do is right-click on any of the column headers in the Error List and pick Show Columns from the pop-up menu. That will give you a menu of available columns with the currently displayed columns checked off. Clicking on any column in the menu will add the column to the display (if the column isn't currently checked) or remove the column (if it is checked). I don't find the Code column all that useful, either, so I got rid of it also, but that might just be crazy talk as far as you're concerned.

The Grouping option on the menu is also sort of interesting: It inserts headings into the error list. I've experimented with adding a heading at the file level so that all the errors and warnings for any file appear together in the Error list, right under the file name. In the end, however, I've always decided that I wasn't willing to give up the space that the heading takes up; I'd rather have more unorganized errors than fewer organized errors, apparently.

Instead, I've counted on sorting to put all of my "related" errors together. I typically sort by Project, File, and Line number. To get that order (or any order you want), first click on the column header for the column you want as your highest sort level (in my case, that's the Project column). Then hold down the Shift key and click on the other columns you want in the sort, moving from the highest level to the lowest level (for me, that's the File column and then the Line column). If you're not happy with a column's order (ascending or descending) just click the column header again to reverse the order. Visual Studio will remember your sort order.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 10/30/2019 at 3:09 PM


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