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Formatting your code

From: Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

Video: Formatting your code

Visual Studio assists you in writing readable code by automatically indenting and aligning your text. Many people use the default settings without a second thought, but with a little effort you can configure the formatting so that you have better control over how your code is arranged. Let me show you. I am inside Visual Studio, and I have opened a project called FormattingYourCode. This has two C# files: Book.cs-- I'll double-click to open that--and Program.cs. And it also has a WPF user control, SampleWpfControl, which contains some XML markup down here.

Formatting your code

Visual Studio assists you in writing readable code by automatically indenting and aligning your text. Many people use the default settings without a second thought, but with a little effort you can configure the formatting so that you have better control over how your code is arranged. Let me show you. I am inside Visual Studio, and I have opened a project called FormattingYourCode. This has two C# files: Book.cs-- I'll double-click to open that--and Program.cs. And it also has a WPF user control, SampleWpfControl, which contains some XML markup down here.

I'm going to open the Book.cs file, and I'm going to show you the SmartIndent feature. Now, SmartIndenting means what happens when you hit the Enter key on one line and move to the next line. So to configure this setting, I'm going to go to Tools > Options, and I'm going to open the Text Editor node, and then I'm going to click on the All Languages. This way I can make the changes, and it will affect every code editor. I'm going to click on Tabs, and I'll start by choosing None for the Indenting.

Now, when I indent my code, like here, notice that when I move to a new line, the cursor moves to the beginning of the line. Now if I want to get over here to align it with these other comments, I have to either press the Spacebar or the Tab key to get over there, like so. If I used a SmartIndenting, it will automatically handle all that. I'll use what's called a context-sensitive indent. It looks at where it belongs-- is it in other curly braces, is it inside an 'if-then' statement?--and determines where to put it.

So watch what happens now. When I hit the Enter key, it stays aligned. Now, the tabs are probably off by a couple of spaces. [0:01:49.17] "This is a demo", like so. Now watch what happens if I write an 'if' statement. 'if' now I pressed 'if' and tab tab twice to stub in some code for me. Now I'm going to come down here and hit the Enter key. That's what I mean by context-sensitive. It knows I'm inside these curly braces, so it indents it at a further level than it did above. Now, my comment goes here, and more.

If I move outside the curly braces and hit Enter, it indents it at a slightly different level. This is the default setting, and I find it invaluable to have for arranging your code. You probably have a personal preference on whether you like tabs or spaces. There is a lot discussion out there on which is better. I won't argue which is better, but you can choose in Visual Studio which one you want to use by going to Tools > Options and then coming here and say, when I do a tab, I want you to Insert spaces. In other words, if I press Tab and I say that the Tab size is equal to 2, and Indent size is equal to 2, when I press the Tab key, if the Insert spaces is turned on, then it will put two spaces in there.

If I have the Keep tabs selected, then it will put a tab that happens to be two spaces wide. So I'll come down here, and I'll press the Tab key twice. And you see that it moves over apparently four spaces. If I go up and I choose Edit > Advanced > View White Space, you can see these little dots here. Those represent spaces. I'll go back up and change my settings to Keep tabs, and then I'll move down a line and press the Tab key. And now you see instead of spaces, I get the little arrows. That signifies that I'm using tabs, not spaces.

Again, it's your choice. Most often you'll have View White Space turned off. My personal preference is to use a two- space tab instead of four-space tab, because I can get more on the screen that way. I'll turn off View White Space now. Next, I want to show you what happens when you're working in an editor like C# and you want to automatically format your document. There are some settings and tools options specific to different editors. For example, if I go to the C# editor and go to Formatting, I can set up rules inside here of how my C# code is indented. The same with the XAML, I can go down to the XAML section and I specify XAML specific settings.

All right, I'll start with the C# settings. I'll go up here, choose C#, and I'm going to talk about New Lines. What this says is, where do you want to put the new line for a brace? Do you want the brace be on a new line for types? You get a preview in Visual Studio. Here is a class. If I place the open brace on a new line for type, you'll see that this brace here is on the second line. If I uncheck this, you'll see that it moves up, and the brace stays on the same line as the class declaration. Same thing with methods here. I'll click on moving the Method opening curly brace to this top line, instead of having it on a separate line like this.

All right, now I'm going to go ahead and unselect these two. I'm going to return back to my code. Notice that my class up here has the curly brace where it was. It doesn't automatically update your code once you make the changes. But if I were to write a new function right now, I can force a formatting anytime by going to Edit > Advanced > Format. I got two choices here: Format Selection and Format Document. I use this shortcut all the time, Ctrl+K, Ctrl+D. Let me show you how that works.

I just ran that on this document, and now it knows all the methods you are supposed to have their opening curly brace on the same line as the function name. I can force that again at anytime. I'm going to go over here to my XAML. I'm going to go over here. I am going to do a Ctrl+K, Ctrl+ D. Now, I want you to keep an eye on this line 10 here, Ctrl+K, Ctrl+ D, Ctrl+ K, Ctrl+D. Nothing happened. Maybe I need to go change the setting. Tools > Options. Scroll down to the XAML section, pick Formatting, and then I'm going to go to Spacing.

Right now, the setting is Preserve New lines and Spaces. In other words, don't touch my XAML. I'm going to change that to say Position each attribute on a separate line. I'm going to tell to collapse multiple lines down into a single blank line. I'll put a few extra spaces in here like that, and now I'm going to do my secret keystroke: Ctrl+K, Ctrl+D, and keep an eye on line 13. It will autoarrange my code. It put each attribute on its own separate line, and those multiple spaces that I had, it collapsed them down to a single blank space.

Again, try that here. Just several blank lines there, Ctrl+K, Ctrl+D removes those blank lines. I can't tell you now many times a day I use Ctrl+K, Ctrl+D to format my code as I work. I find it indispensable to my sense of order while working, and I think you will too.

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This video is part of

Image for Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

86 video lessons · 30232 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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