I remember when I used to teach for ExecuTrain that anytime I had to learn a new program, I would spend at least an hour going through the menu items one by one. This really helped me to become really familiar with the product. I stopped doing that for some idiotic reason a while back, maybe because I felt I didn’t have enough time. I have made a goal to examine one program a week in depth, going through all the menu options and keyboard shortcuts. I was inspired to do this because of Sara Ford’s daily tips for Visual Studio. The first application I am tackling is Visual Studio 2008, starting with the options dialog and the environment settings.
At each area, I have linked to the help online. Here are some of my “Aha” moments.
- I turned off Animate environment tools. This is not a must for me and may speed up my environment.
- Restore File Associations button – This is good to know. I installed SharpDevelop the other day and had all of my cs files registered with that application. I manually reregistered with Visual Studio.
I have turned this off. Especially since I am using source code control. Everyone should be saving their work frequently.
I checked the Hide Find and Replace window after a match is located since I use the shortcut keys to Find Next (F3).
There are so many configurable settings in here: The thing that I found interesting when looking for the help was finding out that the Printer can have different settings than the text editor. Great when you have black backgrounds.
I changed the following properties on this:
- Show Help using the Integrated Help viewer. Comes up in the IDE.
- Unchecked Highlight search terms, too much noise for me, especially when the keyword can be in the document many times.
- Unchecked include partial matches for the local search results.
I thought this was interesting. I will check to see if I can add custom providers to the search criteria. It would be great to add Dan Appleman’s SearchDotNet.
Keyboard shortcuts are a topic in themselves. I don’t know where I would be without them. One of the things that you might try is just typing in some keyword text into the show commands containing window to get a feel for commands that might be candidates or already have shortcut keys.
I personally show an empty environment, however, if the company I worked for had a developer RSS feed to for tips and tricks, I would show the start page and modify the news channel to that feed.
These options seem a little flaky. I can’t get another search engine other than Live to come up. Oh well, I use slick run anyway to get to searches on the web.
As you can see there are a lot of features that I am discovering just by going through these items. Hopefully you can benefit from them also.