Total .NET XRef

XRef Info:


""It is blazingly fast...I was completely astonished at the speed of this tool.""

Thomas Wagner, eTechPartner, Inc.

More Reviews

Additional Info:

Check for Updates

License Terms



Optimized for Microsoft Visual Studio .NETTotal .NET XRef for Visual Studio Code Cross-Reference

Review: Total .NET XRef

Visual Studio Magazine, Dianne Siebold October 2002


Most developers agree that the one thing you can count on with code is that it will change. When changes happen, most of us don't have the luxury of time to go through each piece of code in a project and find out where a certain object is referenced or used. So if a class definition changes, we try to remember where we referenced that particular class and hope we named it the same in all the classes. FMS' Total .NET XRef is a code cross-referencing tool that solves this problem.

Installing XRef is simple, but keep in mind, it works only with the final release version of Visual Studio. XRef is a VS.NET add-in, so it's always available from the IDE. To find out every place a particular namespace occurs in a project, highlight the namespace name and right-click; a list of locations appears in the XRef tool window. The tool window displays a total count of where the specified item appears and all the information about the object you're searching for. This information includes the location of the file, the namespace, the line it appears on, and a preview of that line of code. The objects you can locate in code include variables, parameters, properties, classes, labels, methods, operators, fields, constructors, namespaces, and modules.

This product works with either C# or VB.NET code. XRef parses your code as you write it so it's always up to date, and you can search for objects at any time. There was an initial delay while XRef parsed the code the first time I ran it in an existing project. After that, however, I didn't see any noticeable slowing while writing code, although FMS admits there might be a delay on slower machines. You can disable the parser, but unfortunately, you must modify a Registry key to do so.

One nice feature of XRef is its ability to find an object—a class, for instance—by the class definition or by the name of the class as it's used in code. The biggest drawback to XRef is that it searches for a code item in only one project at a time, even if you have multiple projects open in VS. **FMS Note - This limitation is on namespaces only, all other code items are searched across every open project.**

You can sort the tool window's results by any column, but you must locate and delete two XML files to turn off the sorting. You can also group the results grid by any column. If you have a long list of results, XRef can filter the grid by any criteria you select. You can also output the search results to an HTML page that's viewable and printable from VS.NET. XRef saves the HTML report automatically to a default directory and overwrites the report each time you create it, so you must change the filename after running a report if you want to save the report.

XRef is useful for speeding up development in enterprise projects. This tool isn't an absolute requirement for development, but it can save you time when making code changes, especially in large applications.

About the Author

Dianne Siebold is a programmer specializing in VB and SQL Server. She's a regular contributor to VSM and the author of Visual Basic Developer's Guide to SQL Server (Sybex). Reach her at

Back to Main Reviews Page