Visual Studio Tricks: Track Active Item & MRU Tab Order

Working with Visual Studio 2008, I always end up with a total mess of code editor windows (tabs). These two tricks helped me a lot to keep things under control:


1. Track Active Item in Solution Explorer

By enabling this setting, once you open the solution explorer, it will always be scrolled to a position where it shows and highlights the item you are working on in the code editor. You will especially benefit if you have a large solution with lots of projects. You can find it here:

Tools –> Options –> Projects and Solutions –> General –> Track Active Item in Solution Explorer

I read that it could impact the performance of visual studio if you are running it on a slow machine, but for me, its totally worth it.


2. Most Recently Used Tab Order (MRU)

I hate to find a code window by looking at the 15 tabs that are open in my IDE. Most of the time the tabs are not visible anymore and I have to click the active files button to find it. However, these times are over. By adding the registry key below, Visual Studio will sort the open tabs by most-recently-used. Meaning, the item that you are working on will always be on the first position on the left side. Just add a DWORD named:

UseMRUDocOrdering = 1



(9.0 for Visual Studio 2008)

I like this one very much. Its super easy but it makes working much more comfortable. Credits go out to Sara Ford and her blog post. Check out her blog for tons of VS tips!

Technorati-Tags: Visual Studio,VS2008,Tips
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