What is the first thing you do when you install Visual Studio? I am talking about anything customization-wise (so we don't get answers based on 'I create a new project').

Do you have a favorite font?

Do you have a must have extension you couldn't possibly live without?

Do you have a keyboard shortcut you like to set?

I am interested to know your favorites.

For me, I only change the font to Calibri, I find it is easier to read, and I can fit more text on the screen.

+1  A: 

I turn off drag-and-drop text editing since it's way too easy to do it by accident.


Change the font to FixedSys and the color scheme to fit my usual style.

Anders Sandvig
+2  A: 

I also load up my favorite macro files and assign the most used functions to keyboard shortcuts.

Anders Sandvig
+1  A: 

Configure vim as a external editor, so i can code boring stuff through macros on vim and everything else on vs

Check out viEmu.

I open a project and some source files. That way I can see most of the default settings I have to adjust before I can start working.

Anders Sandvig
+2  A: 

Switch to bright text on black background

+7  A: 

Install ViEmu.

Adam Hughes
+1  A: 

Install ViEmu.

+7  A: 

With no doubt:

  • Turn on line-numbering
  • Change coloring-scheme
  • Import settings
  • Re-order the most used tabs - auto-hide and position-settings
Seb Nilsson
turn on line numbering? Are you using COBOL.NET ?
Mitch Wheat
+28  A: 

I install ReSharper (sold by JetBrains) because it adds a lot of IDE behaviors/features that I became dependent on using Java IDEs.

The first thing I make others do is turn on line numbers for all file types, because it is impossible to pair with someone if you can't tell then what line of code you are looking at.

Kevin Hakanson
+2  A: 

I change the font to Consolas, and the background to a light gray(#FAFAFA).

  • Install Consola's
  • Turn on LineNumbers
  • Install Paste as HTML Plugin for exporting code snippets.
  • Go online and mercilessily mock Eclipse users ;-)
  • Hide all those fancy buttons at the top.
  • Enable line numbers in the source-editor
  • Move the solution explorer to the right of the screen.
Nils Pipenbrinck
Isn't the Solution Explorer on the right side by default? Might depend on what layout selection is made on first run
Geir-Tore Lindsve
No. It depends on the configuration you choose when the dialog pops up the first time VS is run.
+34  A: 

Install the Consolas font.

Isn't Consolas pre-installed with Vista? :)

Install Resharper :)


Import my settings file (which I keep in source control and share between my computers).

  • Enable line numbers in the source editor
  • Install ReSharper
  • Install GhostDoc
  • Change coloring scheme to bright-on-dark and change font to Consolas
  • Hide the navigation drop-downs since navigation with R# is much faster
Geir-Tore Lindsve

Add on to Seb Nilsson:

  • Change font to ProFont, sized at 10
  • Turn off animation plus anything fancy which does not improve productivity
  • Hide toolbar button that can be access using keyboard shortcut. So to keep all the toolbar in just 1 row
  • Install ReSharper -> Must have
+1  A: 

Change font to Consolas Turn on line numbering. Set to use spaces for indentation always. Install VIEmu

I like the idea of saving your settings file in source control.

+19  A: 

enable line numbering


Ensure that I have the "Visual C#" settings presets chosen, Turn on Line Numbering, Turn on Smart Tabs and set the tab size to 4.

Kyle Trauberman

Add/install my favourite Code snippets

Jobi Joy
+6  A: 

Install Visual Assist

  • set the font to Lucida Console
  • switch to Multiple documents with a max value of 24 for the MRU areas of the File menu
  • un-dock the Properties window and slide it over to my second monitor
  • turn off the Start page
Chris Tybur
+1  A: 

Alt-drag the toolbar buttons I actually use onto the menu bar, and then close all the toolbars. This is to de-clutter and get vertical space back so I can see more code at once.

Scott Langham
+2  A: 

Install the zenburn color scheme

I love me some zenburn.
+1  A: 

Install Visual Assist & ViEmu.


I install the port of "vibrant ink" theme. Here

+13  A: 

Install the latest Service Pack. It's amazing the amount of bugs fixed, and the incompatibilities it solves.

+4  A: 


  1. CodeRush/Refactor Pro
  2. VisualSVN Plugin
  3. Setup a macro so I can right click a website folder and "Open with VisualStudio"
Brian Boatright
IMHO You should edit this to separate the 3 items into additional answers. I voted because of the item 1 but don't do either of the other 2.
Rory Becker
  1. Change the keyboard mapping to VC6 (I have to swap between the environments)
  2. Change the tab settings for all languages to 3/insert spaces (tabs are demon spawn)
  3. Change to a monospace font that distinguishes between 0 and O (e.g. Consolas)
  4. Move the error list, toolbox properties and output windows to another monitor*

*I wish VS2008 were more multi-monitor aware. I'd like it to have more than one top level frame, so I could arrange panes within each frame, then have one frame maximised on monitor 1 and the other maximised on monitor 2. The current implementation is errr... sub-optimal.

Bob Moore
With you on the VC6 keyboard mapping, though for me it's simply because I never evolved.
Asaf R
Visual Studio 2010 is supposed to be much better at utilizing multiple monitors. I have yet to try it out though.
Neil N
+1  A: 

Install an add on called VS.Php so I can use VS to develop and debug PHP

+18  A: 
  • Install Consolas
  • Install Resharper
  • Install TestDriven .Net
  • Set to show empty environment on startup.
  • Set max recent file list to 24 (max).
  • Set to a Visual Studio Dark theme
  • Set project default paths.
  • Set virus scanners to ignore my project directories
+1 for the "Set virus scanners to ignore my project directories" :)
Miky Dinescu

Set the key bindings in Visual Studio to use Emacs.

  1. Tools -> Options -> Environment -> Keyboard
  2. Select 'Emacs' option under "Apply the following additional keyboard mapping scheme:"
Ray Vega

Re-order toolbars and windows, turn on line numbering, install Mole add-on, add custom snippets.

Jeremy Reagan

1) Set the font to Tahoma (mono spaced fonts - pah!).

2) CodeRush / Resharper

... and for web projects, VS2008 'Run As Administrator' as I prefer wep apps to run under IIS

Liam Westley
  1. Enable the 80 column marker (requires registry hack in older versions of VS)
  2. Set the font to Lucida Console
  3. Use tabs for indentation and set tab width to 4
  4. Enable line numbers
Ates Goral

Install Team Explorer.

Followed by resharper

and turn on line numbers

turn of animations


Go and take a smoke while it prepares Visual Studio for the first time.

And thanks to that I am having real problems quitting.

Jonathan C Dickinson

Visual Studio options:

  • Turn on line numbering
  • Turn on"convert tabs to spaces"
  • Turn on "load last saved project when starting"
  • Enter full screen mode (shift-alt-enter)


Phillip Ngan
+6  A: 

Turn off "Animate environment tools" in the options

  • Install Visual Assist
  • Bind CTRL + ; to Edit.LineEnd
+1  A: 

Search for feacp.dll, rename it to something else, then install Visual Assist X.


Install RockScroll ... because it rocks ;-)

It provides a graphical summary of the code file you have opened:

(Image from Scott Hanselman's blog).

Luke Quinane

Service Pack and VisualSVN and SlickEdit tools.

Jeremy Edwards
+1  A: 

Add /nosplash to the shortcut to make it boot faster.

Jasper Bekkers

Type Ctrl+D and ">alias ff Edit.FindinFiles" so I can do Ctrl+D ">ff $term" next time I want to search all my files for $term.

Jasper Bekkers

Set the keyboard mappings to VC6 mode. I never liked the new keyboard shortcuts :)

Antony Scott
  • Move all those pallette windows to other screens.
  • Change startup action to show empty environment.
  • Enable line numbers for everything!
+1  A: 
  • Install SP1
  • Install Team Explorer
  • Turn on line numbers
  • Move Solution Explorer to the right side of screen
  • Open Source Control explorer and add to tabs at left of screen
  • Disable start page

Try compiling my projects to see how well they do on vanilla VS.

It gives me some assurance in case I ever decide to share my code.

Rei Miyasaka