Productivity Power Tools is a Visual Studio 2010 add-in, developed by the Microsoft Visual Studio Platform Team and available in Visual Studio Gallery. Of course, you can also download it using Visual Studio Extension Manager, from the Tools menu in Visual Studio 2010.

Its list of features is detailed on the add-in page and I will not enumerate them here. I just want to list the features that I find most useful (at least so far). All these features are enabled by default, but the add-in is very customizable. To enable/disable features or change current settings use the Options dialog and go the Productivity Power Tools page.

Highlight Current Line
The line where your cursor is displayed is highlighted so that you can easily spot it. Here is a screen shot.

Go to Definition
If you press the Ctrl key while the cursor is over a symbol, the symbol appears as a hyperlink and clicking it will take you to the definition.

Move Lines
You can move the current line or an entire selection up with Atl + Up Arrow, or down with Atl + Down Arrow. Useful to avoid Ctrl + X and Ctrl + V, unless you have to move too many lines up or down.

Modified Document Mark
Modified, but yet not saved documents, are indicated with a red dot on the tab.

Pinned Tabs
You can pin tabs on the tab bar. When you hover the cursor over a tab, a pin indicator appears. You can click it and then the tab is pinned on the tab bar, from left to right, so that no mater how many documents you open, the pinned tabs remain visible and you are able to quickly access them.

Undo Close
Recently closed documents are listed in a new tool window called Undo Close. You can double click them and they will be re-opened (and removed from the undo close list).

Floating Tabs
Many developers use two monitors (or even more). Now it is possible to dock floating tabs on a second monitor just as you’d do with a tool window. The following screen shot shows two tabs docked into a separate window on a second monitor.

Solution Navigator
A brand new solution explorer has been created allowing you to easily navigate the solution. You can search it, filter it to see only opened, unsaved, edited or all files, view related information about classes and members, preview images, etc.

The following image shows: the entire solution (left), only the items that contain the word thumb (middle) and only the opened items shown within their projects (right).

Another cool feature is the image preview. All you have to do is hover the cursor over an image and you get a preview of it, as shown below.

Looking forward to seeing these features by default in Visual Studio and not available through an add-in.

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A new version (1.3) of VSBuildStatus add-in for Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and 2010 is available. It allows you to configure the add-in window to automatically show up when a build/clean/deploy process starts, and/or automatically close when the operation ends.

  • To enable the automatic show of the add-in window when a build/clean/deploy operation starts, check Pop-out automatically when starting a build
  • To enable the automatic hiding of the add-in window when the build/clean/deploy operation ends, check Auto hide when the build ends
    • you can set a delay interval for the hiding, varing from 0 to 300 seconds; if the delay is 0, the window is hidden immediatelly after the build ends
    • to keep the window shown when error(s) occurred during the build/clean/deploy operation, check DO NOT auto hide when an error occurs

Here is a screen short of the properties window. It opens from the Settings button.

The add-in is available on the Visual Studio Gallery.

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I have updated my Visual Studio addin that displays the status of a build/clean/deploy action. If you get the latest version, 1.2, and are running Visual Studio 2005, 2008 or 2010 (they are all supported) on Windows 7, the progress of the build is also displayed on the Taskbar, on the item corresponding to the Visual Studio instance.

The following images show no progress, different progress steps, and an error during the build/clean/deploy, both for Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 (Beta 2).

No progress

Build progress

Build progress

Error during build

Build progress

Error during build

This was possible by using the Windows 7 Taskbar interop library available on MSDN Code Gallery here.

You can get the latest version of the addin from the Visual Studio Gallery at this link.

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Yesterday I have installed Visual Studio 2010 and decided to try my VSBuildStatusAddin. It work on the first try, only with a change to the .AddIn configuration file.

Here is some screen shots in Visual Studio 2010.

VSStatusBuild in Visual Studio 2010

VSStatusBuild in Visual Studio 2010

Visual Studio 2010 about window with VSbuildStatus addin

Visual Studio 2010 about window with VSbuildStatus addin

The images above show a new version of the add-in, 1.1.0. This new version provides the following features:

  • displays the build/clean/deploy progress on a status bar
  • shows information about latest available version with link to download page
  • as already explained, works in Visual Studio 2010

The new version is available at the Visual Studio Gallery.

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I have fixed several bugs on version 1.0.4 of my VSBuildStatus add-in for Visual Studio that displays the status of a build/clean/deploy operation. The bugs were mainly about the batch builds. The new version is 1.0.5.

You can download this Visual Studio 2005 & 2008 add-in from here. If you are using a previous build I encourage you download and use the latest.

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I have modified my VSBuildStatus add-in to work with Visual Studio 2005. Basically I had to remove the LINQ stuff to break the dependency on the version 3.5 of the .NET framework.

The new version (1.0.3) that supports Visual Studio 2005 is available here. Let me know if you have any problems with it. Especially in VS 2005.

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I have created an published at Visual Studio Gallery an add-in for Visual Studio 2008, called VSBuildStatusAddin. This add-in shows the status of a build/clean/deploy operation. I hope some of you will find this useful. Bellow is a description of the add-in.

Extract the content of the archive to your Visual Studio 2008 add-ins folder. You can configure that from Tools > Options > Environment > Add-in/Macros Security. You can also extract it to any folder and then add that folder to the Add-in File Paths list.

The add-in is configured to start when the Visual Studio starts. However, the first you start Visual Studio, after you installed the add-in, you have to go to the Tools menu and use the VSBuildStatusAddin command to show the tool window. For future runs, Visual Studio remembers the position, docking style and visibility. If the add-in window was opened the last time you closed Visual Studio, the next time it starts is automatically shown at the last position.

On the add-in window toolbar there are four check buttons that are used to select what projects can be shown in the list (depending on their build status) and the number of projects in that state:

  • Done: show projects there were successfully built/cleaned/deployed; displays the number of successfully done projects;
  • Failed: show projects that failed to build/clean/deploy; displays the number of failed projects;
  • Skipped: show projects that were skipped for the build/clean/deploy operation; displays the number of skipped projects;
  • Pending: show projects that were not yet built/cleaned/deployed or are currently building/cleaning/deploying; displays the number of projects not yet done

When a build/clean/deploy operation is executing, a progress control shows the progress status, in percentage of completed project out of the total number of projects.

A fifth button, Cancel, is available during the execution of an operation and can be used to cancel the operation.

The projects list shows the name, configuration, target platform, status and completion time for a project. Projects are grouped under solution folders, if any.

The image above shows a solution called DemoSolution with a project, DemoFSharp, directly under root. It has two solution folders, CSharp and CPP, and both have two more solution folders. CSharp has Lesson1 and Lesson2, each with two projects. CPP has Begin and End, each with one project. The second image shows building a project, Chapter2 (that has a dependency on project Chapter1, which is also built), that failed.

You can also download it from here.

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