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In Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training, author Walt Ritscher demonstrates how to use Visual Studio 2010 Professional to develop full-featured applications targeting a variety of platforms. Starting with an overview of the integrated developer environment, the course covers working with code editors, navigating and formatting code, and deploying applications. Also included are tutorials on running performance and load tests, and debugging code. Exercise files accompany the course.
What developer doesn't want absolute control over their coding editor? Perhaps you prefer a dark background and neon blue text for your code. When you configure your own fonts and color options, it's one way to indulge your inner artist. Let me start by showing you how to increase the font size in your code. I'm inside a project in Visual Studio called FontAndColor. I'm going to open these two code files down here: Book.cs--double-click on that one--and I'm going to open Program.cs. I'm going to move over to Book.cs, and then I'm going to use a feature of the mouse scroll wheel in Visual Studio to enlarge this font size.
Before I do that though, let me close this error list on here in the bottom of the screen, and this output window. There you go. I'm going to hold down the Control key, and then I'm going to use my mouse wheel, and I'm going to zoom in to make the text larger. Obviously, you would do this if you're having trouble reading the code. If I switch over to Program.cs, and notice that it only affects the one file. The font size here is the same size as it was originally. If I switch back to Book.cs, you'll see that it is the large size.
Now if I scroll the opposite direction, what you think will happen? Ah, you figured it out; the text gets smaller. If you want more control over the individual words inside your document, then you need to go to the Tools > Options menu. Let's go there. Tools > Options. And then you're going to click on the Environment node, and go to the Fonts and Colors section. The first thing I will look at is the basic font, Consolas. This affects the entire code window; any text that is in the code window will use the Consolas font.
If you want to change this font, click on this dropdown. Since programmers tend to like to use monospaced fonts, this dialog shows you all the fonts in your system, but it points out the ones that are monospaced by putting them in bold. Personally, I like the Consolas font, so I'm going to leave it at the default. Next, I'm going to start changing some of the items in my code. For instance, maybe I want to change my comments. I'll press C, which moves me down to the C section. Click on Comment, and you can see that the normal comment is a white background with a nice dark green colored font.
I'm going to change my background to a slightly yellow color. I'll click here. And now these colors make me happy, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to click on the custom button and choose a light yellow color. I am thinking that looks pretty good right there. I'll click OK, and then I'll click OK again. And you can see that all my comments now have green text with a light yellow background. I like that. Next, I want to talk about these curly braces and these parentheses. Those are called matching braces, so I can color those as well.
Go up to Tools > Options, find the Brace Matching, and I can choose the brace matching rectangle. And right now this kind of this light gray color. That's boring. I'm thinking the some sort of--I had yellow earlier. I'm thinking maybe some sort of green now for this. How about that color right there? Looks good to me. Click OK and then click OK. Now watch what happens if I move my cursor next to the parenthesis.
The matching parenthesis is highlighted in this green color. If I move down here, the same thing happens. And if I move to this curly brace, it shows the matching curly brace further down the page. It shows me that this one on line 28 is the match for this one on line 22. Very handy for seeing where your beginning and ending sections of your code are. There are a lot of other changes you can make. I can change the colors of the line numbers down the side. I can change the colors of the string; for instance, over here, the color of the items that are between beginning and ending double quotes can be changed.
This list is endless, as you can see. So let me show you just one other one though that I like to use a lot, and that's to differentiate the difference between a value type and a reference type. So I'm going to scroll down to the User Type section, right here, and I'm going to pick user types, which would be a class. And I'm going to change the background of this to light blue. I'll pick Custom. I'll pick a nice light blue color and then click OK.
And then for the value types--things like enumerations or structures would be a better example, because there are separate ones for Enums here-- for a structure type, I'll pick a light pink background, like this one. Click OK and then click OK. And now let's look what happens in my code. Everywhere where I declare an insistence of a class, it uses the blue background. Everywhere where I declare a structure type, it uses the pink background. When I write code to instantiate those types, it does the same colors.
Here, I'm saying a new book. Here, I'm saying new file information. So I find this very handy to keep my mind clear which is a reference type and which is a value type. Couple of more settings. You can go to the Tools, Options and by clicking on this dropdown up here, you can change all their parts of Visual Studio: the toolbars, the different windows that are docked to the side, you can change the fonts that are used for printing output. Let me show you just one another one in here, the Statement Completion. This affects the dropdown windows for the IntelliSense.
So if I go right now and choose to change this to a 16-point font, like so, and then click OK, and go to my code and type in "fi", the dropdown and the tooltip that are popping up at this moment are now using my 16-point font, whereas before they were using the 9-point font. I am just about done. I would like to reset my environment so that for future movies it uses the default settings, so I'm going to go back in to Tools.
Of course, you don't have to do this on your computer; you can keep your own settings. But for these movies, I'm going to set it back to the defaults. I'll click on Options, and then I am going to use Use Defaults, and then I'll go to the Text Editor and click on Use Defaults. And now my beautiful color comments and all the other configuration changes I made have disappeared. It's a sad day. Now, you can spend an hour experimenting all the font settings in this dialog, and before long, you'll have your own custom code editor that will be the envy of your peers.
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