Productivity Power Tools 2012

Productivity Power Tools 2012

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By popular request, the new version of the Productivity Power Tools has arrived for Visual Studio 2012! These tools are the fruit of a few passionate engineers on the Visual Studio team that love sharing the power of Visual Studio with customers.

The Productivity Power Tools are one of the top gallery extensions for Visual Studio 2010. With your feedback, some of the features made it into Visual Studio 2012 including Quick Find, Solution Explorer (Navigator), Quick Launch, and the new Add Reference dialog.

The new edition enables the rest of the tools for Visual Studio 2012 and adds some new ones. In this post, we’d like to tell you about what is included in this power-packed release, a refresher for those of you that used the 2010 version and an introduction to those of you that haven’t! We’d love to hear what you think about these tools, please send us your feedback on the pack’s Gallery Page.

Previously Available Tools

Many of the tools included in the 2010 version of the Productivity Power Tools are available in this version as well. Here is a summary:

  • Enhanced Scrollbar provides a source map of your file in the scroll bar that allow you to easily see interesting artifacts such as edits, breakpoints, bookmarks, errors and warnings and make it easy to navigate between them.
  • Fix Mixed Tabs will warn you when you open or save a file that has a mixture of tabs & spaces and offers to fix it for you.
  • Automatic Brace Completion will automatically insert the closing code construct when the opening construct is typed for VB & C#.
  • Move Line Up/Down Commands easily moves the current line of code (or selected multiple lines) up or down using the Alt+Up Arrow & Alt+Down Arrow keys.
  • Organize VB Imports, that can be found in the context menu, allows you to sort the imports logically and remove the ones that aren’t being used.
  • Colorized Parameter Help adds syntax highlighting to the contents of the Parameter Help window for C# & VB.
  • Column Guides allows you to draw a vertical line in the code editor from the context menu.
  • Align Assignments makes your code more readable by aligning assignment statements when you type Ctrl+Alt+].
  • Middle Click Scrolling Press down on your mouse scroll wheel and move the mouse to quickly scroll through your document.
  • Ctrl + Click Go To Definition makes symbols in your code look like hyperlinks when you hold down the Ctrl key, and will navigate to their definition when you click the hyperlink.
  • HTML Copy means copy/cut in the editor is saved in HTML format in your clipboard for rich pasting.
  • Control via Tools Options means you are in control of which of these extensions you want on/off.

We received positive feedback on the extended capabilities of the Document Tab Well in the last Power Tools release. Some of the capabilities – such as floating document wells and pinned tabs – made it into Visual Studio 2012 and the rest are available in this new version. We rewrote most of this extension as the area underwent significant changes in Visual Studio 2012. The 2012 pack offers favorites like custom colorized tabs, custom tab locations and a moveable close document button:


You can control and customize which capabilities you want to use through the Tab Well’s tools/options page.

New in this Release

We have three additions to the Productivity Power Tools family. Color Printing from the editor and Power Commands for Visual Studio both shipped as separate extensions for Visual Studio 2010 and were very popular, so we added them to the pack. The Power Commands extension includes many useful commands, such as Clear All Output Panes, Email a Snippet of Code and Edit Project Files. For the full list, please visit our Gallery Page.

We created a brand new extension, Quick Tasks, that uses Quick Launch to instantly perform common tasks. We identified a number of popular tasks in Visual Studio, such as collapsing and expanding regions, toggling line numbers and changing font size and made them available in the Quick Launch window when typing “@tasks“ as a prefix. The drop down list will show all the available tasks, and typing any letters in the task name will further filter the list for quicker location of the desired task. Here’s a quick screenshot:


Thank you again for the great feedback you’ve provided so far on Productivity Power Tools. We hope you’ll love this new release. Don’t forget to leave your feedback and comments below!



Visual Studio IDE Teams

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  • Is it possible to fix the focus bug on the Quick Search feature?  If you try to paste in the tool window, even if it has focus, it will paste in the code editor, mangling code.

  • I've had to turn off the enhanced scrollbar in VS2012!

    Holding the arrow buttons down with a mouse-click does not work properly.  It scrolls by one line.  If you're lucky, it might then scroll another line after about 5 seconds.

  • Why the 2012 version do not supply the feature that when hovering mouse over a type in the code editor a small window would pop-up and show members inside the type?

  • I want to deactivate Quick FInd in VS2012 version but i can't "find" the option.

    Anyone can helpme?

  • Hi,

    Does 'Pending Changes Filter' feature of Solution explorer works with source controls like P4 (P4VS-addin)

  • Please can you release a version of Power Tools that works for VS2013 ?

    The ability to have tabs colored by project is so useful to me that I'll stay working in VS2012 until I can do the same in VS2013 - as good as the new features in VS2013 are, colored tabs makes the most difference to my productivity when navigating round big solutions, and I find Tabs Studio too fiddly to use as an alternative.

    Keep up the great work guys, thanks for dreaming these features up, it's much appreciated !

  • Hi, I have a couple of question/issues/suggestions concerning the mixed tab fixing (in Visual Studio 2012 at least).

    Is there a way to select a default option to automatically fix the the mixed tabs on save? I prefer tabification in general, and it would be so much more practical to have that as the default on save instead of having to click on the button each time in the well. If not, can you at least enable a keyboard shortcut for selecting the buttons?

    Also, if you select the Format Document on Save option, it messes up the tabification, and so that goes into a cycle of fixing tabs/formatting document. That happens if I select to format the document manually as well, or if I copy a line of code (without selecting the line, just Control+C when the cursor is on that line) and then paste it, VS changes the tabs to spaces. I know the last two are not Power Tools issues, but perhaps you can forward to the appropriate people :)

  • Where's download link? I need this!

  • Hi

    Thanks for the great tool.  Can I make a feature request?  We are using VS 2012 as our SQL Data Tools interface and in SSIS  projects we are using Project Configurations.  Now inorder to store values in these configurations they are encrypted.  Options include by User Key or password or discard sensitive values. User key encrpytion means only the creating users can access those configurations so that's no good in a team.  The alternative is to use password encryption.  However, on opening the solution you have to enter a password for each project using configurations (i.e. all of them).  Now for one, tweoo or even five projects I could see that being sufferable but we have solutions with 33 projects in and our team members can't be entereing 33 passwords (even if the same one) 33 tiems just to open the solution.

    So is it possible to have an option to enter one password for all projects in the solution, perhaps as part of the Power Tools?



  • I'm enjoying the Quick Tasks in Power Tools for VS2012, but I wonder how can assign a keyboard shortcut for my favorite ones (like SwitchCode). I can't find the commands when in the customize keyboard dialog. Any suggestions?

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