Document Well 2010 Plus: Hidden Options

Document Well 2010 Plus: Hidden Options

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[Update 7/20/2010]: Updated changes made for version 10.0.10710.22 of the Pro Power Tools. Please take a look at the changelog.

A couple of posts ago I announced the availability of Document Well 2010 Plus as part of the Visual Studio 2010 Pro Power Tools. Since then we have received lots of feedback about our extension, for which I am very grateful. User feedback has centered around two main points:

  1. There should be an option to hide the pin button
  2. When using custom colors for tabs, the selected tab is sometimes not clearly distinguishable

Fortunately, the extension has a couple of hidden options that will let you alleviate these two points, as well as others that hopefully will help you in your daily work. During development of the extension we experimented internally with many different options for the features available in the extension. For the first release it was decided that exposing all options could be confusing and overwhelming to our users, and so the options dialog UI was simplified. You will find here all options that were hidden due to this simplification. I encourage you to try them out and let us know if you find them useful or not.

 

Pinned Tabs Options

Pin button visible in unpinned tabs

This has been added to the options UI in our latest release.

Maintain pinned status if document is removed from document well

By default, when a document is pinned and it is removed from the document well (by making it float or closing it) it loses its pinned status, and you will need to mark it as pinned again when you return it to the document well. Running the following command will maintain pinned status for documents that are floated or closed. Pinned status will only be removed if you manually unpin the tab.

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.GeneralOptions /v IsPinStatusSticky /t REG_SZ /d True /f

Pinned tabs appear in original order

By default, when you pin tabs they will be added to the pinned tabs group in the order in which they were pinned. Running the following command will make them appear in the order in which they originally appeared instead:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.GeneralOptions /v ArePinnedTabsInPinOrder /t REG_SZ /d False /f

This might become more clear with an example. Say you had the following three tabs open:

 

By default, when you pin Class3.cs, then Class2.cs, then Class1.cs, they will appear in the order in which they were pinned, as shown here:

 

After running the above command and pinning the three tabs in the same order shown above, however, they will appear as follows, which is the same order in which they appeared originally:

 

Tab Panel Position

By default tabs appear on top of the document well. The options UI provides the ability to show tabs vertically, which positions them on the left of the well. Additionally, the extension has the ability to position tabs on the bottom and on the right of the document well.

Tabs on bottom of document well

Run the following command to position tabs on the bottom of the document well:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.GeneralOptions /v TabPanelPosition /t REG_SZ /d Bottom /f

Tabs will then appear as shown in this image:

 

Tabs on right of document well

Run the following command to position tabs on the right of the document well:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.GeneralOptions /v TabPanelPosition /t REG_SZ /d Right /f

Tabs will then appear as shown in this image:

 

Color Options

Selected tab color options

Due to customer feedback, we have made the selected tab use a gradient when using custom colors, in order to make it more distinguishable:

 

If you try one of the two options below and later wish to return to using a gradient, you can run the following command:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v SelectedOption /t REG_SZ /d FadeToVS /f


Default custom color for selected tab

If you prefer to keep the color for the selected tab as was in the previous version, you can run the following command:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v SelectedOption /t REG_SZ /d Default /f

You will then have the same behavior as before for the selected tab:

 

Use VS colors for selected tab

If you run the command below, the selected tab will use default VS colors always:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v SelectedOption /t REG_SZ /d VS /f

This will also make it easier to distinguish it, as seen below:

 

 

Use gradients for custom colors

By default custom colors appear flat. You can run the following command to enable gradients for custom colors. This option might also help you to distinguish the active tab with custom colors enabled:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v ForceFlatColors /t REG_SZ /d False /f

There are three different options for showing gradients for custom colors, described in the following paragraphs.

 

Custom color fades to default tab color

Run the following command to make the tab gradient go from the custom color to the default Visual Studio tab color:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v FadeOption /t REG_SZ /d Default /f

This will make colored tabs appear as shown in the following image:

 

Notice that gradient for unselected tabs starts with the custom color and fades to the default VS unselected tab color, which is transparent. The selected tab gradient starts with the custom color and fades to the default VS selected tab color, which is yellow.

 

Custom color fades to more intense tab color

Run the following command to make the tab gradient go from the custom color to a more intense shade of the same custom color:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v FadeOption /t REG_SZ /d MoreIntense /f

This option will make the tab gradient appear as follows:

 

 

Custom color fades to less intense tab color

Run the following command to make the tab gradient go from the custom color to a less intense shade of the same custom color:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v FadeOption /t REG_SZ /d LessIntense /f

This option will make the tab gradient appear as follows:

 

Regular expression colors have precedence over project colors

By default, if you turn on both tab coloring by project and by regular expressions, regular expression colors will have precedence over project colors. You can run the following command to make project colors have precedence over regular expression colors instead:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v RegExHasPrecedence /t REG_SZ /d False /f

 

Regular Expression Options

Use full document path for regular expression match

By default, only the text that is visible in the tab is used to match regular expression for custom coloring. You can run the following command to instead match the full document path, which gives you greater flexibility:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.GeneralOptions /v UseFullPathForRegEx /t REG_SZ /d True /f

 

Changelog

Version 10.0.10710.22

  • Added to UI option to show/hide pin button in unpinned tabs
  • Removed UseCustomColorForSelected registry key, replaced with SelectedOption registry key
  • Added registry key for matching full document path when using regular expressions for custom colors

 

Tell Us What You Think

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please let us know if you find these options useful or not. You will find a hyperlink in our options dialog which you can use to provide us with feedback. You can also add comments to this post directly, add/contribute to a discussion in the Visual Studio Gallery page for the Visual Studio 2010 Pro Power Tools, or send us feedback directly at docwell2010plus [at] microsoft.com.

 

Radames Cruz Moreno – Software Developer, Visual Studio Platform Team
Biography: Radames arrived at Microsoft in 2008, just in time to help with development of Visual Studio 2010 since its early stages. He worked mainly helping develop the new WPF window docking system. Prior to that he worked in several interesting projects in Mexico using every technology and language imaginable, from C++ and Java to COBOL (shudder).
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  • Please add 8 and 6 and type the answer here:
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  • The people most likely to use the Power Tools are professional developers and you're concerned we'll be confused by an Options dialog? Seems like you need to reevaluate your user personas.

  • Thanks again - it's a great extension! Especially the tab pin option.. The "currently selected" reg. hack should be default imho - because the default colors makes it very hard to tell what tab is selected.. Sometimes one needs to reboot vs.net since this extension makes the GUI go haywire.. And may i suggest color codings in the tab "drop-down"..

  • Is there anyway to trun-off few options like formatting of comments and current line selection color.

  • @Kazi:  I'm not sure about comment formatting.  For current line highlight, you can customize its colors by changing "Current Line (Extension)" and "Current Line Inactive (Extension)" in Tools->Options->Environment->Fonts and Colors.  There's no option to disable the line highlight separately from the rest of the Pro Pack, but you can effectively turn it off by setting both of its colors to match your Plain Text background color (white by default).

    Brittany Behrens

    Program Manager, Visual Studio Editor

  • Just expose these in the settings.

  • Is there a feature, that allows me to toggle visibility of code docu?

  • I love the gradiants combined with the selected tab. I can't see why anyone would want something different.

  • Document Well 2010 Plus is a full featured extension and should be installable on its own without the Visual Studio 2010 Pro Power Tools.  Or at least provide the ability to disable all the other features of the Power Tools extension.  I only want the Document Well features.

  • This is a fantastic add-in, but I agree that all options should have been exposed (& in ONE place, not scattered all over the place). For goodness sake, we're developers not idiots. The add-in is called "Visual Studio 2010 PRO Power Tools", not "Visual Studio 2010 BEGINNERS Tools". You think that we can't handle too many configuration options, but you think it's ok to have to run various reg commands to get the same results?

    Also the option to enable/disable individual features is essential. I'm glad they're all packaged together, not individual add-ins, but the inability to turn off functions that you don't want, or that conflict with other functionality is a bad decision.

    I've been able to eliminate several other 3rd party add-ins that I was using before, which is great!

    Thanks, & keep up the great work, but please don't treat us like imbeciles in the future.

    Yann

  • The next release of the Pro Power Tools (due out in a couple of weeks) does include the ability to turn off specific extensions.

    You can be certain that I never thought of our users as imbeciles. When designing the UI for this extension we had to strike a balance between the power we would give to our users and the ease of use it should have for users that want the basic functionality, and perhaps change a couple of options. For this release, the balance was to have a "simple" UI while still having the possibility of setting additional "advanced" options (using registry keys). Whether we achieved the correct balance is obviously debatable. I personally lean to make all options available in the UI. I already have a couple of ideas about ways that should allow to keep common options simple while still providing you the ability to easily configure all options (and now I have feedback from you to back my original assumption that this is indeed necessary).

    Thanks all for your feedback, and keep it coming. It is indeed being used to shape the future of this extension.

  • The Document Well is the best extension ever.  I love the customization, several people on my team are using it but all with different settings (personally, I really like the vertical stacking on the left side and the selected tab highlighted with default color.)  I'll put in another vote for all of the useful customization options being somehow exposed in the UI, whether it's out in the open or behind something like an 'advanced' options expander, that'd be fine too.  Great work!  

  • I'd love to have an option where a pinned tab can't be closed.  For instance, I pin tabs 3,7,9 and use my keyboard shortcut for closing all documents.  I'd love those pinned tabs to not close, based on this option.

  • In the latest version ("Productivity power tools"), the selected tab always has gradient color regardless of the ForceFlatColors setting.

    So all my tab has flat colors except the selected tab, strange bug, please fix it.

    thank you

  • I'm seeing the same as stmarti - the selected tab always uses the custom colour. Have the settings changed, or is this a bug?

  • reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\DialogPage\Microsoft.DocWellBehavior.ColorGeneralOptions /v SelectedOption /t REG_SZ /d VS /f

    this is the new key!

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