Increase Productivity with Visual Studio Macros
Provided by: FMS Development Team
Visual Studio Macros are one way to increase productivity when a
particular action or task needs to be repeated multiple times. Addins are
another. Almost anything that can be done in the Visual Studio Integrated
Development Environment (IDE) manually can be done through macros, except
A good place to start with macros is playing with the interesting samples
shipped with Visual Studio. You can view the samples using the Macro
Fire up Visual Studio.
Navigate to menu
View->Other Windows->Macro Explorer or press Alt+F8.
Click on Samples (which is a
Macros under VSEditor are especially interesting. Open a project in the
editor and run the macros by right clicking and choosing Run.
Right clicking on the macro and choosing Edit brings up the Visual Studio
Macro editor. You can either create new modules, macros or edit existing
ones. The Macro editor has the same look and feel as the Visual Studio
editor, so getting around isn’t difficult. Every macro that you write is
basically a VB procedure.
Debugging Visual Studio macros are a breeze! Just place a break point in the
Macro editor, jump back to the Visual studio editor and run the macro.
For more on VS Macros:
Writing a C Style comment macro:
The Visual Studio editor itself is efficient at productivity. For e.g.
the Comment and Uncomment selection feature is a boon for getting code out
of the way which it does, by individually commenting the selected lines.
However for using C style multi-line comments like
/* .. */ there is no way to do this. For example I want to
comment the first parameter bar in
bar, string name)
There is no built in way to do so; Visual Studio macros to the rescue! Using
the Visual Studio automation model it can be done easily. The following
function comments out selected code using multi line comments. Copy this
function to the Visual Studio Macro editor. To use this macro, simply select
code anywhere in the Visual Studio Editor and run it.
Fire up Visual Studio.
Navigate to menu View | Other
Windows | Macro Explorer or press Alt+F8.
Double-click on MyMacros.
Click on Module1 (which is
the default or create a new module).
Right-click on Module1 and
choose Edit. (The VS Macros IDE should show).
Copy the above functions
Click File | Save MyMacros.
Return to Visual Studio IDE,
and open a project.
Keeping the cursor on a code
window, Double-click on the FMS_CommentCStyle or FMS_UnCommentCStyle()
The logic itself is pretty straight forward. As soon as we are invoked, get
the selection, its location, process it and re-insert if required, back in
to the source.
The “DTE”(Development Tools Extensibility) object represents the instance of
the Visual Studio development environment in which this macro is hosted.
This is available as a static or shared member of the EnvDTE library for
building macros. One of the many members of the DTE object is the
ActiveDocument property. This represents the current document (windows form,
web form, code window) open in the Visual Studio IDE and exposes it through
the EnvDTE.Document interface. This is the place we want to start at, since
most of our work would be on a text document. The ActiveDocument.Selection
property returns an Object, which we contain in a TextSelection interface.
This represents the current text selection in the active document open in
the Visual Studio IDE. This would however fail if the document open is a
designer document like a form or UserControl.
Once we have the text selection, we operate on it. We try and make life a
little easy on the user if there is no selection, by working on the current
line, similar to the single line commenter of Visual Studio. In other words,
if there is no selection we assume that the user wants to comment the entire
single line and simulate the selection. Next, delete the selection and
insert new processed text.
Similar logic applies to the FMS_UnComment() function. The only difference,
is the use of string.Replace() to delete comment characters.
To support undo logic in one step, we use the DTE.UndoContext(). Once either
of these macros has been successfully used, the Edit->Undo and Edit->Redo
features can be used reliably.
You can add more frills to this simple functionality and increase its
usability by adding the date (System.DateTime.Today) and the user name (System.Environment.UserName)
or any other standards that your company requires, within the comments.
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