Open files without leaving the keyboard in Visual Studio

At the Developer Developer Developer day on Saturday I saw a great presentation done by Zi Makki on how to create Visual Studio plugins.

After the conference, I immediately ran home and started work on a plugin to fix a current pain of mine: the ability to quickly open files in Visual Studio without using the mouse.

Using Textmate on the mac, there’s a really neat fast system for switching files. You simply hit Command – T and up pops a dialog.

Then you simply type a portion of the file name and the results list is filtered. Hit enter and you’ve opened it up real fast!

So, I made a quick and dirty version of this for Visual Studio. It’s called QuickSwitch


1) First you need the DXCore – this is a FREE download from devexpress. Download it here and install it on your machine (you probably have to close down Visual Studio first).

2) Next, download this file and extract the contents into this folder (or wherever you installed DXCore):

c:\Developer Express Inc\DXCore for Visual Studio .NET\2.0\Bin\Plugins

3) Open up Visual Studio and you’ll have a new menu bar at the top DevExpress. Click this menu item and hit Options. On the options screen, add a new Keyboard Shortcut and type “Quick Switch” in the command textbox.. In the key sequence use a key sequence you want to use for this (I use Ctrl T)

Ok, now you’re ready to use it!

Using Quick Switch

Open up a solution. Hit the Quick Switch shortcut key. You’ll be greeted with this dialog listing all the files in the current project (files with the same name will have their folder names prefixed):

Start typing (no need to take your hands off the keyboard!) and the file list down the bottom will change.

Hit [enter] to automatically open the top file, or hit up and down to select a different file.

Voila – the file is opened!

Much faster than using the solution explorer!

(Yet another note: you can download the source for this plugin here)

UPDATE Rather annoyingly this version only works in Visual Studio 2005 – sorry 2003 fans!

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