Just found out about this tip the other day. Works for both 2005 and 2008, although I haven’t tested 2005 myself.

Warning: To enable this tip, you’ll need to modify your registry settings. Follow the instructions below at your own risk.

Under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0 key, you can create a DWORD UseMRUDocOrdering = 1.

Note that you do not need to restart the IDE for the setting to take effect, which is convenient if you want to try it out and then decide it isn’t for you.

To illustrate, suppose you have a few files open in the IDE.

Class5.vb, Class4.vb, Class3.vb, Class2.vb, Class1.vb opened in Tab Channel

Now let’s say you click on Class1.vb. It becomes the most-recently used file, so it moves to the left.

Class1.vb, Class5.vb, Class4.vb, Class3.vb, Class2.vb opened in Tab Channel

From the person who told me about this hack, here’s how he uses it:

Basically I like my tabs to be ordered in MRU (Most Recently Used) order (i.e. the current window is always the left most tab, the previously visited window is second tab, and so forth). In this way the documents I visit most frequently stay in view. One of my common situations is that I open a favorite file first (e.g. an important .idl file for .h file) and constantly return to the file during my editing session. Normally this file keeps moving to the right in the tab channel as I open more files even if I am visiting it constantly. Very soon it falls off to the right out of view, and I am annoyed.

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