Once upon a time, a computer programmer drowned at sea.  Many <insert occupation here> were on the beach.  They heard the screams of “F1 F1”, but no one understood…

Welcome to the Help tips series! In my quest for Visual Studio completeness (in the Mathematical sense), I’m going to cover a few of the most interesting Help tips. I never formally owned any testing in the core Help feature area, so it is my weakest area of Visual Studio environment and why it has only taken me 16 months to get to it in this tip series.

F1 can take you to a help topic based on the context of what you are currently doing.  For example, consider the language keyword class.  If I place the cursor (or selected) the word class in a C# file…

public class Class1 {

I get the following topic

class (C# Reference)

It’s all about context.

And, (and here’s the real tip for those of you who are like, “Sara, I want a real tip!”) Did you know… you can get context sensitive help even in a web browser?

  1. Select some text within the Visual Studio web browser. Below I’ve selected the word exclamation from a random blog post of mine.

    word "exclamation" selected in a blog post in the VS web browser

  2. Press F1

And you’ll get context-sensitive help on the word that was selected. I had no idea what was going to pop up when I pressed F1 on exclamation point, but SystemSounds.Exclamation Property makes sense.

SystemSounds.Exclamation Property help appears

I should also note, as it is my custom to do so, that F1 is bound to the command Help.F1Help.  There’s nothing keeping you from binding it to F2, if your heart so desires.

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