Recommended add-ons/plugins for Microsoft Visual Studio


Can anyone recommend any good add-ons or plugins for Microsoft Visual Studio?
Freebies are preferred, but if it is worth the cost then that's fine.

This question is tagged with visual-studio plugins add-on

~ Asked on 2008-08-05 20:02:33

77 Answers


SmartPaster - (FREE) Copy/Paste code generator for strings

AnkhSvn - (FREE) SVN Source Control Integration for VS.NET

VisualSVN Server - (FREE) Source Control

ReSharper - IDE enhancement that helps with refactoring and productivity

CodeRush - Code gen macros on steroids

Refactor - Code refactoring aid

CodeMaid (FREE) - Code cleanup, organization and complexity analysis

CodeSmith - Code Generator

GhostDoc - (FREE) Simple code commenting tool

DXCore (FREE) and its many awesome plugins: DxCore Community Plugins, CR_Documentor, CodeStyleEnforcer, RedGreen

TestDriven.Net - (FREE/PAY) Unit Testing Aid

Reflector - (PAY) Feature rich .Net Disassembler Reflector AddIn's

Web Deployment Projects - Provides additional functionality to build and deploy Web sites and Web applications (source).

StudioTools - (FREE) Navigation assistant, code metrics tool, incremental search, file explorer in visual studio and tear off editor windows. Moved from old site ( to new site and discontinued.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 18:17:49


Not free, but ReSharper is definitely one recommendation.

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 20:05:27


Whole Tomato's Visual Assist X. I absolutely swear by it. I would like to see a better plug in for Lint than Visual Lint by Riverblade, but since that will eventually be moved onto the build server I don't mind running it every couple of days manually.

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 20:26:26


PowerCommands is a Microsoft-created plugin that offers a variety of new features that one would think probably should have been in Visual Studio in the first place.

These include

  • Copying/Pasting project references!
  • "Open Containing Folder" to jump straight to the hard-drive location of a file or project
  • Automatic reorganizig and sorting of using statements
  • "Open Command Prompt Here" to open a command prompt in any of your project folders.
  • Collapse Projects

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 20:26:08


RockScroll is awesome, and free.


As @Andrei points out, MetalScroll is a better alternative. It's Open Source, and corrects some annoying things about RS.

~ Answered on 2008-08-18 19:01:31


I'm a big fan of CodeRush and Refactor! Pro by DevExpress. I've been using them for a number of years, and without a doubt it makes me a faster developer. Also, both are built on a free framework called DXCore that allows you to develop your own plug-ins for Visual Studio, and the sky is the limit there...

~ Answered on 2008-08-18 18:00:31


~ Answered on 2008-08-05 20:31:21


I find Ghost Doc to be very useful.

GhostDoc is a free add-in for Visual Studio that automatically generates XML documentation comments for C#. Either by using existing documentation inherited from base classes or implemented interfaces, or by deducing comments from name and type of e.g. methods, properties or parameters.

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 21:22:06


+1 Visual Assist.

It's unfortunate that you need a plugin to get really good intellisense but it's definitely worth paying for.

~ Answered on 2008-08-18 18:30:11


If you use SVN for source control, definitely get VisualSVN. It enables TortoiseSVN interactions from within the Visual Studio IDE.

I also echo the Resharper comment. Retail price is a little steep, but if you're a student or otherwise educationally affiliated, it's actually pretty cheap.

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 20:09:00


LinqPad is great for testing linq to objects/xml/sql. Free download.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 18:53:55


What about IncrediBuild? This is a nice distributed build system with visual studio integration.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 18:25:05


VSCommands 2010

from the website: Latest version supports:

  • Manage Reference Paths
  • Prevent accidental Drag & Drop in Solution Explorer
  • Prevent accidental linked file delete
  • Apply Fix (automatically fix build errors/warnings)
  • Open PowerShell
  • Show Assembly Details
  • Create Code Contract
  • Cancel Build when first project fails
  • Debug Output - custom formatting
  • Build Output - custom formatting
  • Search Output - custom formatting
  • Configure WPF Rendering
  • Configure Fusion Logs
  • Configure IE for debugging
  • Locate Source File
  • Thumbnails in IDE Navigator
  • Extended support for xaml, aspx, css, js and html files
  • Disable Ctrl + Mouse Wheel Zoom
  • Zoom to Mouse Pointer
  • Configurability
  • Attach to local IIS
  • Copy Full Path
  • Build Startup Projects
  • Open Command Prompt
  • Search Online
  • Build Statistics
  • Group linked items
  • Copy/Paste Reference
  • Copy/Paste as Link
  • Collapse Solution
  • Group items directly from user interface (DependantUpon)
  • Open In Expression Blend
  • Locate in Solution
  • Edit Project File
  • Edit Solution File
  • Show All Files

and others, so try it now!

~ Answered on 2010-09-05 19:52:01


Clipboard Manager

Maintains your clipboard data through removal of lines, a few other nice items but that one alone makes me happy.


While some have problems with regions I think if you use them, this tool is for you. Automatically region'izes your code into appropriate region blocks. Fully configurable for custom items etc.

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 20:05:49

8">Qt Cross-Platform Application Framework

Qt is a cross-platform application framework for desktop and embedded development. It includes an intuitive API and a rich C++ class library, integrated tools for GUI development and internationalization, and support for Java™ and C++ development

They have a plug-in for Visual Studio that costs a bit of money, but it is worth every penny.

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 20:04:25


I've been using Visual Assist X for nearly two years now, and I find it so useful I can honestly say that if my employer didn't provide it, I'd have to pay for it myself.
I also use Cool Commands and SlickEdit (the free version), whose File Explorer and Command Spy tools are quite useful.

~ Answered on 2008-09-17 08:13:50



vi/vim support inside VS

~ Answered on 2008-12-09 18:15:37


+1 for Visual Assist And I will add VLH (Visual Local History) which provides a kind of local source control system. Every time you save a file, the plugin add a copy in the local repository.

~ Answered on 2008-08-31 11:38:13


Try MetalScroll!! It's better than Rockscroll

~ Answered on 2010-10-18 19:17:42


I found this site called Visual Studio Gallery - it has a lot of visual studio add-ins. I'm browsing it right now and I recommend everyone to visit it.

~ Answered on 2008-09-09 12:54:16


Consolas font Free font from MS designed for reading code.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:45:28


I love CopySourceAsToHTML as a cool little addin. It's great if you want to copy code blocks for blogging and the like while maintaining your syntax formatting.

I think this is still the url.. you have to do some manual work to set it up with 08.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 20:00:46


+1 for CodeRush & Refactor Pro. I've been using CodeRush since its Delphi incarnations, and it's utterly wonderful. The mantra of "Code at the speed of thought" is very close to reality ;)

~ Answered on 2008-09-06 05:44:19


MZTools is great too.

~ Answered on 2008-08-28 17:19:15


  1. Microsoft StyleCop provides code style checking for C#, we use it all the time and love it (free)
  2. Axialis IconWorkshop has a Visual Studio add-in which is now free for VS2008 users.
  3. Resharper Yes another vote, because I can't upvote everyone who suggests it :)
  4. Workspace Whiz for C++, I used to live by Workspace Whiz but haven't used it in VS2008 as I hadn't realised there was an update. Will have to give it a try again.

~ Answered on 2008-09-09 12:09:36


Sonic File Finder for when you have loads of files in your solutions and searching for them in the solution explorer becomes a pain in the wrist.

You might also find DPack interesting. Several tools and enhancements rolled into one neat package.

~ Answered on 2008-08-05 21:55:00


If you're doing C++ coding, hands down Visual Assist.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:44:05


AtomineerUtils Pro Documentation - automatic DocXml/Doxygen/JavaDoc/Qt doc-comment generation/updating (similar to GhostDoc, but more powerful & flexible, and supports C#, C++, C++/CLI, C, Java and Visual Basic code).

The style of the generated comments is very configurable, and automatic re-formatting (such as whitespace control and word wrapping) can be optionally applied to keep the comments as readable as possible. It also has many helpers to allow users to read and convert most legacy doc-comments into any of the above formats.

(I'm the author, but I believe the above is an accurate and objective description. This add-in was free when this answer was first added, but to cover the costs of hosting, supporting, and continuing to improve the addin in monthly releases, it is now $10 with a 30-day free trial)

~ Answered on 2009-09-04 21:41:03


For the laptop bound or for those with vi/vim key bindings burned into the brain I would recommend ViEmu.

If you have not tried editing with vi key bindings here is why you may want to try "Why, oh WHY, do those #[email protected]! nutheads use vi?"

~ Answered on 2008-10-02 18:53:00


I'm always amazed that more people don't know about/use NDepend - it shows all dependencies at every level of your code, and will even draw pretty box and arrow pictures showing how confused your architecture really is :) Together with TestDriven.Net, I can't imagine working without it any more. Free/cheap.

~ Answered on 2008-09-15 11:33:42


JustDecompile from telerik. Now that Reflector is no longer free. Its a necessity when digging through supplied libraries.

~ Answered on 2012-05-04 21:14:50


A lot of the mentioned Addins are used by me on a regular basis. Here are just a few I I estimate, too:

All three are free and highly recommended (by me).

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 18:51:13


I found Code Rocket to be very useful -

From their website: "Code Rocket is an innovative tool that reveals the inner workings of C#, ... and C/C++ code, for Visual Studio... It makes documentation a seamlessly integrated part of the software development process, plugging directly into your development IDE with minimal overheads, delivering powerful benefits from day one."

~ Answered on 2010-04-15 13:57:18


We've covered this on this question: What is your favorite Visual Studio add-in/setting?

~ Answered on 2008-09-21 23:28:52


Visual Assist: you cannot live without it!

~ Answered on 2008-09-18 16:20:36


I 2nd VisualAssist, been using it since V6, can't live without it...

I see no one has mentiond CoolCommands:

Great set of time savers...

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:20:18


definetly +1 for VisualAssistX (cannot work without it anymore & it's worth all the money) and +1 for VisualSVN

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:44:38


Not really an addon inside VS, but one every VS use needs: Code Preview Handler Provides a preview handler with syntax highlighting for source files. The handler works in the Explorer preview pane and in the preview tab for attachments in Outlook.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:58:43


Resharper. It's the best productivity tool for any software engineer! TestDriven.Net is pretty good too. and GhostDoc.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 20:07:24


VLINQ LINQPad is essential, but for quick stuff inside VS, VLINQ is great.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 20:16:56


Source Code Outliner Nice alternate view of your source files. It's the outliner from the code pane, but without all the code getting in the way of the structure.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 20:18:21


Here a few I didn't find (or spot) mentioned:

  • ASPXEditHelper (a must have for ASP.NET devs)
  • MouseGestures
  • CodeKeep
  • Git Extensions

Someone mentioned SQL Prompt so I'll add SQL Assistant (similar price, but does a lot more)

Very few people mentioned DPack which is free and absolutely awesome.

Also, really get ReSharper or something similar (it will pay many times over). Bare VS just does not "compare" ;-)

Enjoy your coding!

~ Answered on 2009-12-17 14:20:01


Build Version Increment (GPL) gives you (nearly) everything you need for controlling the version of your assemblies.

Some Features (copied from the site):

  • Different auto increment styles can be set per major, minor, build or revision number.
  • Supports C#, VB.NET and C++.NET projects.
  • Not required to be installed by all project members. Configuration is shared via properties in the solution and project files. Developers who don't have the addin won't feel a thing.
  • Automatically checks out required files if under source control.
  • Can be configured per solution and/or per project.
  • Can be configured to update only on certain configuration builds (debug, release, any or custom)
  • Can update assembly attributes in an external source file instead of the default AssemblyInfo.

~ Answered on 2009-12-17 14:29:15


I like ReSharper, too! It's affordable if you're a student or otherwise connected to an university.

For interaction with SVN I'll prefer AnkhSVN.

.. and of course for connecting to TeamFoundation Server there's the Visual Studio Team Explorer

~ Answered on 2008-08-18 18:12:52


Dispatch for FTP is what Copy Web Site should have been.

This just came out but I like it a lot: Mindscape File Explorer

VisualSVN is excellent for SVN integration. Much better than Ankh (have not tried Ankh 2+ though)

SonicFileFinder for looking up files or classes quickly. Supports searching just the upper case parts of a camel-cased type name

Web Deployment Projects by Microsoft for precompiling web site projects

~ Answered on 2008-08-18 18:20:30


Here is my list:

~ Answered on 2008-12-02 11:06:57


For C# development I use:

  • ReSharper, heavily customized and with a couple dozen custom actions I wrote (not to mention weird but wonderful Live Templates)
  • GhostDoc - very useful for postprocessing of generated code
  • Source Code Outliner
  • P/factor (a set of internally developed code gen tools for VS) - see example here
  • CodeGenUtils - another internal dev for code generation, available on CodePlex
  • SharpWizard - a VS add-in for rapid prototyping. Supports advanced generation of interface support, operators, patterns, metadata.
  • Dependency Analyser - a really nifty tool (another internal dev.) for identifying dependencies between CLR properties. Useful for autogenerating change notifications based on dependency graphs.

In addition to these, I also have a couple of DSL graphical designers for the particularly difficult scenarios - for example, I have a DSL for complex multithreaded operations that are implemented using Pulse & Wait.

~ Answered on 2008-12-09 17:53:59


I don't fancy the Visual Studio bookmarks so I use DPACK to get the same kind of bookmarks as the Delph IDE provides.

~ Answered on 2009-04-07 22:32:04


My favorite would be the one I work on - Goanna. :)

C/C++ static analysis - it helps find bugs.

~ Answered on 2009-09-07 03:46:27


~ Answered on 2008-09-16 20:01:43


Definitely Resharper.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:55:30


+1 for VisualSVN being better than AnkhSVN, having tried both, and +1 for the FogBugz Add-in.

~ Answered on 2008-09-04 11:45:55


Ghost Docs

GhostDoc is a free add-in for Visual Studio that automatically generates XML documentation comments for C#. Either by using existing documentation inherited from base classes or implemented interfaces, or by deducing comments from name and type of e.g. methods, properties or parameters.

~ Answered on 2008-09-09 11:57:21


KingsTools is also a nice collection of macros containing:

  • Run Doxygen
  • Insert Doxygen comments
  • Build Solution stats
  • Dependency Graph
  • Inheritance Graph
  • Swap .h<->.cpp
  • Colorize
  • } End of
  • region/#endregion for c++

  • Search the web

~ Answered on 2008-09-09 12:20:57


I use a lot the Fogbguz plug in but well you need to use Fogbugz first !!!

~ Answered on 2008-08-25 12:28:12


I just found this rather large list of addins:

~ Answered on 2008-08-28 18:15:55


~ Answered on 2008-09-17 10:31:28


If vi/vim editing is your thang:

ViEmu for Visual Studio

If you want color-coded control-flow syntax-highlighting and graphical outlines:


I'm the developer of these commercial tools.

~ Answered on 2008-09-18 16:17:16


Guidance Explorer

Guidance packages integrate into VS as Snippets, projects, and project templates. They provide a way to collect and reuse patterns, code, and How To answers. You can create guidance for your team and you can download the guidance packages coming out of the Patterns and Practices group at MS.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:51:09


VS Command Shell Command shell in the Output pane. Far from perfect, but often very, very useful. Faster and easier to get to than a separate cmd and has easier copy/paste support.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 20:20:04


Spell Checker for comments is a godsend. GhostDoc is great for making well documented APIs.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 20:23:31


  • Resharper (Agree it sucks you have to pay extra to get this, but well work the money)
  • GhostDoc (Takes away any excuse for not having comments in your code)

  • PowerCommands for VS 2008 (Forgot I even had this installed because it just adds a the little things that should have been there all along)

~ Answered on 2008-08-18 18:59:31


Quick Open File is a plugin that, coming from an Eclipse background, I can't live without

No more digging through the solution explorer trying to find files

~ Answered on 2010-03-22 14:16:33


While Visual SVN costs $50 or so, I strongly prefer it over AnkhSVN (which I last tried about a year ago - it may have improved since).

It's one of the easiest to sell to your boss if funding is an issue. (Thankfully we don't have to scratch and claw to get good tools where I work.)

~ Answered on 2008-12-09 17:38:47


DevExtra - but I'm biased cause I wrote it :)

It's a bit old now (has its origins in VC6) and mostly oriented towards C++ developers but its free and I still use it every day.

~ Answered on 2009-05-18 03:57:56


one that I wrote

~ Answered on 2009-01-04 10:40:08


TracExplorer is cool for integrating Trac with VS.

~ Answered on 2008-09-17 08:48:55


XPathmania is a good little tool for writing and testing XPath queries.

~ Answered on 2008-09-12 10:12:58


If you are looking for a better code editor, vim comes with VisVim, a plugin to replace the VS code editor with vim.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:54:49


I know this is not a VS add-in but SSMS one anyway could be useful for anyone working with MSSQL.

Just for the case you wanna see more like this one check this post. Actually from ssmstoolspack creator.

~ Answered on 2008-09-20 19:13:57


In addition to the refactoring and source control tools listed here, AQTime is a great windows profiler. It can run as a plugin or stand-alone and it works with .NET and native code.

~ Answered on 2008-09-09 12:25:05


It's not a Visual Studio add in, but it is a tool that I couldn't use Visual Studio without it...

ClipX - it's works with the normal clipboard, but saves the entries to a searchable list, you can use copy and paste as ususal, but you can hit CTRL+SHIFT+V and the list pops up. It works with images, text, etc. It even persists after you reboot your computer.

~ Answered on 2008-09-18 16:24:31


~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:36:39


~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:37:42


~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:39:40


Code Style Enforcer Lets you define a .NET code style (with some degree of flexibility) and underlines violations. Has context-menu options to change the code to match the style. Requires DXCore, which is linked from the Code Style Enforcer page. Both are free.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:43:58


PInvoke.NET addon Menu to search for pre-written P/Invoke code. Much easier than working out the marshalling code yourself, especially when there are nasty unions and alignment requirements.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 19:54:18

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