Essential extensions for Visual Studio

Here are the extensions I feel I really can't be without. The Visual Studio marketplace contains a huge amount of extensions. Many of them are probably more useful to your work flow than the ones I can't live without.

Essential extensions for Visual Studio

Here are the extensions I feel I really can't be without.

The Visual Studio marketplace contains a huge amount of extensions.  

Many of them are probably more useful to your work flow than the ones I can't live without.

So please do some surfing and find something you like.

Here are MY essential extensions

Here is a short list of extensions for Visual Studio that I like/use.

I had already mention some of them in another blog post Visual Studio Tips & Tricks but I felt the extensions needed their own post.

1.Clean solution

Like so may I try to follow what Mads Kristensen creates, weather it are blog engines or extensions.

I use the Clean Solution extension to clean all. Meaning it cleans every bin/release folder and obj folders.

There are few other cool features in there that make it even more worth installing.

2. Open Command Line

Here is another one from Mads. By right clicking project/folder you get the option to open up different types of command line tools that you can then customize to your liking.

Try out Open Command Line.

Here I have changed the Default from cmd to Git Bash

3. Visual Studio Spell Checker

This comes so many times in handy since my native language is Icelandic not English. I may be proficient in English but it has saved me lots of times.

It spell checks your code,comments and best of all git commit text.

Try out Visual Studio Spell Checker.

4. Add New File

This is one powerful addon, Add New File I would recommend watching this video from Mads.

5. VS Live Share

As of this writing VS Live Share is in Beta. And when it goes out of Beta it will probably be part of Visual Studio. Hopefully not just the Enterprise version though.

You can share [over the internet to another computer] the full context of your code, collaboratively edit while still navigating files independently, securely share local servers, and even collaboratively debug while still retaining the ability to inspect on your own.

I recommend that you just try it out with a co-worker sitting next to you to explore  it. That way you will feel more comfortable using it with them from home one day when you need a second pair of eyes.

6. GitHub extension for Visual Studio

If you are (like everybody right?) then you have something on GitHub. And if you are no git ninja and more UI guy/girl this GitHub extension is for you.

7. Sharpen

A Visual Studio extension that intelligently introduces new C# features into your existing code base.

Let Sharpen analyze your code, view the changes that are suggested and just click apply to refactor the code.

8. Visual Studio IntelliCode

The IntelliCode is a fairly new extension is in preview like VS Live Share. I also hope that this one doesn't only end up in the Enterprise version of VS.

IntelliCode a set of AI-assisted capabilities that improve developer productivity with features like contextual IntelliSense, code formatting and style rule inference, and focused reviews for your pull requests (PRs.).

The contextual recommendations are based on the best practices developed in over 2,000 open-source C# codebases (with 100+ stars).

The suggestions with * are based on the context before and what the AI extracted as most likely from the 2,000 open source C# github codebases.

Try Visual Studio IntelliCode out.

9. VSColorOutput

Colur the output window. This one is magic! Get it here!


10. Microsoft Code-Analysis

This is my new favorate. The most popular 100+ FxCop rules as live analyzers to help you detect problems in your code and make it super easy for you to fix them on the spot with quick fixes. This extension gives you the same great code analysis as before with FXCop but now the analysis is live as-you-type and has quick-fixes.
Microsoft Code-Analysis

11. XAML Styler

If you are doing any XAML programming (e.g. Xamarin.Form) you should look at XAML Styler to format your XAML.

Just make sure you configure it like the following.


12. Inline Color Picker

See the color of your hex values with Inline Color Picker


13. ResXManager

ResXManager is a tool to localize and manage all kind of applications with resx-based resources. Shows all resources of a solution and let's you edit the strings and their localizations in a well-arranged data grid.

14. HttpTracer

HttpTracer is a nuget that writes request and response information to your output window. Making your life easier when debugging http calls!


15 Implement mapping methods with MappingGenerator

Create a mapping methods from a dto to entity (and visa versa) MappingGenerator when you don't want to use a full-blown Automapper solution.


Other extensions?

There are loads of extensions out there and some of them (that are not here) I have used through out my time using VS.

And fortunately lots of their great features end up in the Visual Studio product.

But here are the honourable mentions of some that are still relevant.

  • File Nesting automatically nest files based on file name and enables developers to nest and unnest any file manually. A must if you want to e.g nest ViewModels under Views (good for Xamarin)
  • File Compare Compare two files in Solution Explorer
  • ILSpy open-source .NET assembly browser and decompiler.
  • EditorConfig Language Service makes it really easy to add and edit a .editorconfig file
  • Configuration Transform automatically transform app.config or any other config during build process. Once the transformation is set, it will run on other build machines without the extension.
  • Image Optimizer Optimize images in your solution
  • Line Press Line Press allows you to control the line height of code lines. Also allows you to compress empty lines or any other line with a specific content that you can specify in the extension's settings.
  • Insert GUID Command a quick way to insert GUIDs
  • DataSet debugger if you are working with DataSets this is a must!
  • ReAttach easy way of reattaching to your prior debug targets.
  • OzCode "An amazing debugging add-on for Visual Studio! Gives a huge number of insights IN the editor! "
    Scott Hanselman
  • Analyzers and refactoring tools
    • Roslynator a collection of 500+ analyzers, refactorings and fixes for C#
    • DevSkim helps software engineers to write secure code by flagging potentially dangerous calls, and where possible, by giving in-context advice for remediation.
    • SonarLint a code analyser
    • Code-Cracker code analyser
    • 16 New Code Analysis, Testing and Debugging Tools can be found here
    • Sharpen

Import my extensions to your Visual Studio

With this gist file you can install everything I have currently into your Visual Studio 2019

Can't find the extension you need?

Try writing your own!

I am always on my way writing one. When I finally allocate time to that I will read Mads article on how to write a Visual Studio Extension.