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Opening unsupported document types in Visual Studio .NET using IE

, 2 Nov 2002
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This article explains how to use Internet Explorer add-ins to view documents that cannot be usually viewed from inside Visual Studio.


I often find myself using ALT+TAB to switch back and forth between Visual Studio .NET and windows containing documents that are related to the code I am designing. For example, when I am implementing a protocol, I find myself writing a few lines, switching to the document containing the protocol, switching back, writing a few lines, etc. Painful! I imagine I have wasted quite a bit of time this way.


Sometimes I have found myself wishing these documents were written as text files, so that I could open them in a panel in Studio. I have tried opening from File-->Open-->File and also using a URI (e.g. file:///C:\example.doc) in File-->Open-->File from Web Page. This doesn't work. PDF (Portable Document File) files open as text and are illegible, and others like MS Word files, open in a separate window.

I found a back door to open the file inside the context of IE.

  1. First you have to open a web page inside Studio. An easy way to do this is to select any code and hit 'F1'.
  2. While the IE panel is selected, ensure that the Web Toolbar is visible.
  3. In the URI textbox, enter the URI of the document and press ENTER.

Voila, the document opens inside VS.NET. I have found that using this in conjunction with Tab Groups and Full Screen mode is a great productivity boost for me. I felt obligated to share this little trick with all of you.


Someday, when I find time, I am planning on building an add-in to remove the backdoor and make this work better. I am quite busy these days and it might be a while. If anyone else would like to do so, I would definitely be interested in providing feedback.


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About the Author

Paul Reeder
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

GeneralI give you a three PinmemberJörgen Sigvardsson3-Nov-02 12:10 
GeneralAnother Solution PinmemberChristopher Lord2-Nov-02 16:01 
GeneralRe: Another Solution PinsitebuilderPaul Watson3-Nov-02 1:06 

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