Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Visual Studio 2010 will have better support for a multi-monitor setup, but it's possible to get part of the way in 2008 already.

Toolbars and property windows (e.g. Solution Explorer, Class View) can be dragged into separate windows (2010 will add the ability to drag documents into separate windows too):

Floating windows

Window positioning gets a bit weird when you switch from one monitor to another, or change resolutions - a common occurrence when you're a laptop user docking and un-docking.

You can create two settings files, one for your single monitor layout, and one for your multi-monitor layout, and use them when starting Visual Studio 2008:

  1. Arrange your windows the way you like them
  2. Go to Tools > Import and Export Settings > Export selected environment settings
  3. You get a great tree-view of every possible setting category in Visual Studio. Click the top node to deselect everything, and scroll down and select only General Settings > Window Layouts:
  4. Save your settings file somewhere handy (e.g. d:\multimon.vssettings)
  5. Repeat for each layout you like

Now you have two or more settings files, you just need to create a shortcut icon for each one somewhere in your start menu.

Edit the target, and add the parameter /resetsettings D:\multimon.vssettings to the end (replace the path with each settings file path).


Now when you launch your new shortcut, it will start Visual Studio 2008 with the correct window layout. Because you only exported and imported the Window Layouts, all the other settings stay the same.

You may also want to make these changes to your shortcut:

  • Add the /nosplash parameter to your Target, to avoid the "Visual Studio" splash screen and make it slightly faster to start (perception is everything!)
  • Check the Run as administrator option, which is useful if you often need to restart Visual Studio to connect to the ASP.NET worker process when developing under IIS.




Previous VS2008 Tips:

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