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Top Ten Free Extensions for Visual Studio 2010

, 18 Jan 2010 CPOL
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Ten free extensions for Visual Studio 2008 you can download today and start using to save time and effort.

Title Slide


This article is part of my series on Visual Studio Extensions. Before you read it, please read the Introduction. It tells you the purpose of the series and gives you some tips on presenting my material. This article is designed to give you what you need to deliver a successful presentation. The speaker notes and demo script, along with the videos, are part of the package, and you won't learn everything from just the text of the article. My goal is to increase developer awareness of Visual Studio Extensions by making it easy for anyone to deliver a presentation on them at a user group, code camp, or the like.

Visual Studio Extensions give developers a dramatic productivity boost. But because they aren't part of the product - they are extensions - many developers don't know they exist. This presentation shows just ten (well, OK, it shows 13 extensions in ten demos), all of which are free. The idea is that all the attendees will be inspired to download and start to use at least one of these. What's more, at least some attendees will take a look around the Visual Studio Gallery for more extensions. By proving that these extensions exist and are useful, you prove that the Gallery is useful.

Note: this article, demos, videos, and deck are all for Visual Studio 2010. I have a Visual Studio 2008 version of the talk as well.

Presenting this Session

This is a 300 level session for people who know what extensions are. It is modular, so you can adjust it to fit your needs. If you have a favourite free extension that didn't make my top ten, go ahead and make this a top eleven, or drop one of these, just using a similar three-slide format for your favourite. If you only have an hour, consider making it a top eight.

There are really only speaker notes for the first two slides and the last one (which is a copy of slide 2.) Use the individual demo scripts after that. Start to explain what the extension is while on the first slide, move to the demo slide, do the demo, then move to the third slide for the item while you wrap up that topic. Then go to the next extension. It's tempting to ignore the slides, but the attendees will be better served if they see the names rather than trying to just hear them. Even though you have URLs on the slides, many attendees will end up searching the Gallery for these extensions, and knowing their names makes that simpler, so keep the slides synced up with what you're doing.

I've recorded each section one at a time - both the slides and the demo part. Notice they are not all the same length. As recorded (and with no errors or pausing or flailing), they add up to 54 minutes for the ten extensions. Since this doesn't include introducing yourself, the first two slides, any Q&A, switching solutions or enabling and disabling extensions from demo to demo, or the wrap-up, you can see a 60 minute talk will not accommodate all this content. (When you're rehearsing, it may help you to know that for each of these demos, my time typically got about 2 minutes shorter by the time I had done it three or four times.) You need to have a strong knowledge of your timing. If each rehearsal is a wildly different length for you, rearrange the demos so that the "accordion" ones are towards the end. You can glance at the clock and decide not to show all that an extension can do. Move the "compressible" extensions later in the talk to help you if you are worried you will go over time, or move expandable ones (that you're familiar with and could demo extra pieces of "on the fly") later in the talk if you are worried you will be short. Power Commands, TFS Power Tools, and DPack are all good candidates for this.

Power Commands

Watch the Power Commands demo video.


This demo actually includes two extensions that I think naturally go together - Zoom Editor Margin and Presentation Zoom.

Watch the Zoom demo video.

Selection Popup

Watch the Selection Popup demo video.

Go To Definition

Go To Definition is really useful but tiny, so I included Italic Comments and Triple Click from the same author.

Watch the Go To Definition demo video.

Visual Studio Color Theme Editor

Watch the Visual Studio Color Theme Editor demo video.

Source Code Outliner

Watch the Source Code Outliner demo video.

Regular Expression Editor

Watch the Regular Expression Editor demo video.

TFS Power Tools

Watch the TFS Power Tools demo video.

Resource Refactoring

Watch the Resource Refactoring demo video.


Watch the DPack demo video.

The Takeaway

This is a very appealing talk for a user group or code camp because it provides immediate and simple action for the attendee. If they liked a particular extension that you've shown them, the minute they are online, they can download it, install it, and start using it. It's almost effortless. What's more, because the extensions are small and are aimed at one problem, they know right away if they care about that extension or not. There are no concepts to grasp or "further reading" to take them past a typical Hello World demo. You've shown them something that can make them more productive or less frustrated, and if they agree, they're going to go and get it and start using it. They don't have to love all ten to be grateful they came to hear you talk.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


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Comments and Discussions

QuestionExciting new Visual Studio extension Pin
desegel5-Oct-13 8:47
memberdesegel5-Oct-13 8:47 
Questiondownload extension for VS 2010 for Power tools Pin
Salam Y. ELIAS3-Feb-13 2:09
memberSalam Y. ELIAS3-Feb-13 2:09 
General[My vote of 1] Disappointing just a buch of c# extensions, where's the c++ extensions ? Pin
C Tesla10-Jun-11 9:29
memberC Tesla10-Jun-11 9:29 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
SAWilde23-Aug-10 16:55
memberSAWilde23-Aug-10 16:55 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Dmitri Nesteruk18-Mar-10 22:40
memberDmitri Nesteruk18-Mar-10 22:40 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
harafeh27-Jan-10 12:54
memberharafeh27-Jan-10 12:54 
GeneralGot my 5 Pin
jackmos27-Jan-10 9:16
memberjackmos27-Jan-10 9:16 
GeneralGreat Stuff Pin
belzer26-Jan-10 4:27
memberbelzer26-Jan-10 4:27 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
icetea9425-Jan-10 10:38
membericetea9425-Jan-10 10:38 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
zippy198121-Jan-10 5:22
memberzippy198121-Jan-10 5:22 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Christian Graus19-Jan-10 10:39
mvpChristian Graus19-Jan-10 10:39 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
Arribajuan25-Jan-10 10:46
memberArribajuan25-Jan-10 10:46 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Paul A. Howes19-Jan-10 5:14
memberPaul A. Howes19-Jan-10 5:14 
GeneralGood stuff Kate Pin
Nishant Sivakumar19-Jan-10 3:14
mvpNishant Sivakumar19-Jan-10 3:14 
GeneralRe: Good stuff Kate Pin
SledgeHammer0119-Jan-10 5:59
memberSledgeHammer0119-Jan-10 5:59 
GeneralRe: Good stuff Kate Pin
aspdotnetdev19-Jan-10 18:23
memberaspdotnetdev19-Jan-10 18:23 
GeneralRe: Good stuff Kate Pin
JCrane219-Jan-10 9:03
memberJCrane219-Jan-10 9:03 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
StylezHouse19-Jan-10 3:07
memberStylezHouse19-Jan-10 3:07 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Stuart Blackler19-Jan-10 0:38
memberStuart Blackler19-Jan-10 0:38 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
jkruza18-Jan-10 21:29
memberjkruza18-Jan-10 21:29 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
SledgeHammer0118-Jan-10 17:01
memberSledgeHammer0118-Jan-10 17:01 

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