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Being a professional developer requires that you invest some time in learning your tools. Working with .NET my tool of choice (not that there is a whole lot of choice) is Visual Studio.  It’s an excellent IDE that’s very customizable and can be extremely productive if you learn how to use it well. The best way to increase your productivity is to learn some keyboard shortcuts. Yes, the toolbars are all nice and pretty, but you can do pretty much absolutely everything with the keyboard. I even know some people who don't use any toolbars at all! In my opinion that's a bit extreme, but certainly there are things that every self-respecting developer who uses Visual Studio 6+ hours a day should know.  I don't even think I need to do the math to show you how much time is saved by learning a few vital key combinations.

There are already tons of resources on the subject, but they all have a common problem - they are way too exhaustive. In this blog post I will not give you yet another long list of shortcuts many of which you will not use more than once in your entire lifetime.  Instead I will sieve through them and offer you the few precious gems that do the heavy lifting in my daily coding routine.  So here are the top shortcuts I use daily:


Ctrl+SPACE or Ctrl+J (Show IntelliSense) - That's the king of all shortcuts right there. The absolutely most useful VisualStudio shortcut ever. Almost everyone knows this one, but still it needs to be listed.



Ctrl+. (Show SmartTag) - This shortcut expands the oh-so-impossible to-click-with-the-mouse smart tag - as long as your keyboard cursor is inside the word for which the smart tag is displayed.  I can't even begin to tell you how much time this combination saves.  Smart tags are very very common and very very awkward to click on. What's even better - it shows the smart tag of the control in the designer view as well!


Ctrl+R+R (Refactor -> Rename) or F2 - I use this function all the time in Visual Studio and the shortcut is so much faster than having to click three times with the mouse.



Ctrl+Shift+Space (Show Parameter Info) - This shortcut displays the box shown above. Not that it will only work if your cursor is inside the parenthesis.


MiddleMouseClick on Tab (Closes clicked tab) - Fairly useful and intuitive for Firefox users like myself.



Alt+Mouse Selection (Block Selection) - Enables you to perform rectangular selection.


Ctrl+Shift+L (Line Delete) - Deletes the line under the cursor. This is useful because you don't have to make any selections.

Ctrl+Alt+Q or Shift+F9 (Show Quick Watch)

Ctrl+K+D (Autoformat document)

Ctrl+K+C (Comment Selection)

Ctrl+K+U (UnComment Selection)

Ctrl+M+M (Toggle expanded/collapsed regions)

Ctrl+Shift+B (Rebuild Solution)


I really hope this post helped someone even if only by a little. Feel free to reply with your favorites!

About the Author

Vladimir Milev

Vladimir Milev is a developer manager.


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