Visual Studio Add-Ins: MS Visual Studio Enhancements

The next add-in I guess technically isn’t an add-in, since it doesn’t reside in the Add-Ins window, but it’s close enough. Coming from Microsoft itself, this handy download is named Visual Studio 2005 IDE Enhancements, but I notice the file name is vssdk_powertoys. Cool.

You can download this set of five tools from or .

The first, and incredibly useful tool in this free add-in is the Source Outliner. Seen in the window below, it builds a source tree that resides in a window with the toolbox and server explorer. To activate, click on View, Other Windows, Source Outliner.

You can quickly and easily navigate through your project using the tree. On a large project or class this will be very useful, I can tell this is a tool that will get a lot of work out in my environment.

[Picture of Source Outliner]

Next is a collection of Visual C++ snippets. Great if you’re a C++ guy, just sort of there if you’re not.

Third is something they call Indexed Find. This uses the Microsoft Index Service to provide advanced search capabilities. You indicate what you want to look for, what directory (or directories) to look in, file types, and away it goes.

I can see where this would be handy, let’s say you have another project that you know you’ve written a routine in, but can’t recall which file it’s in. Whip out this handy tool and let it look for you. Like the other tools here, it’s available via the View, Other Windows menu.

Fourth up is the Super Diff Utility. Just what you’d expect from the name, it will let you specify two source files and does a compare, highlighting differences. Very handy when you want to look back upon a previous version you’ve pulled from your source repository, or perhaps you’ve got conflicting versions on different disk drives and want to determine which you should be using.

The final tool in the pack is the Event Toaster Utility. Unlike the other tools, this one is access via the Tools, Options dialog. Down in Power Toys, EventToaster you can see a list of VS events you can hook into.

[Picture of EventToaster.]

As you can see, there are a wide variety of tasks you can launch, from something as simple as a sound to something as complex as a macro.

Microsoft has done a nice job with these tools, extending the Visual Studio IDE in some very useful ways.


3 thoughts on “Visual Studio Add-Ins: MS Visual Studio Enhancements

  1. Great tool description, but without the tool itself, because after installation the tool prompts “Eventtoaster not loaded correctly”. So I will ignore this add-in rumour.

  2. good article. If you dont mind me asking, I would like to know how this enhancements develop SQL server 2005?

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