Tools for Visual Studio

Published On: Feb 9, 2012

I love Visual Studio, which is kind of convenient since its where I spend most of my time, and one of the features that I like the most about it is the amount of customizing and plug ins that are available.  So I thought that I would go through and cover a few of the items to help others learn from the productivity hacks that I have found.


The first thing that I change with any install of visual studio is the color scheme.  I’ve found that personally staring at a white background for long amounts of time leads to me having a burn in effect. After a couple of hours I find that it’s hard to focus because my eyes are tired and kind of burn.  It use to be that to change the color scheme in visual studio you had to go through and change all of them manually then export your settings.  Now there is a nice web site that keeps a good collection of them and allows you to export them for a particular version of visual studio. I personally prefer the ‘Desert Nights’ theme. Website:


CodeRush and Refactor!Pro

These two plugins are responsible for a productivity leap that would be difficult to explain without demonstrating what they do.  There is a version of called xpress for trying it out, but you won’t understand how fast you can be without downloading the trial.  I don’t get extended benefits any more since my transfer to ATS, I buy this one out of pocket.  I consider it an investment in my free time. Website:


Source control is a must. Even if I am writing only a few lines of code, when I don’t have access to TFS, mercurial is my choice of source controls.Website


Package management made painfully simple. Makes adding 3rd party libraries as simple as adding references,  also includes the ability to integrate project specific repositories. Website:


Helps you quickly build out documentation if you use human readable code. Website: