Thought you might like to know about a few Visual Studio tools and add-ins that I regularly use, and find very useful:

  • Copy as HTML

Fantastic little tool that lets you copy formatted text from the VS editor as HTML fragments. You can’t beat syntax highlighting to ease code readability, and this plug-in is great for adding code to blog entries, etc. Written by Colin Coller and available from

  • VC++ Code Snippets

C++ has missed out on a few of the productivity boosters available for the managed languages in VS2005; one of the most annoying ones is code snippets - mainly because it’s omission seems so arbitrary, it’s not as if it needs reflection or some other CLR specific features. Anyway, it turns out that it is available, but as part of the “PowerToys” package, available from As well as being good for day-to-day productivity, code snippets are also a really powerful demo tool, allowing you to give the appearance that you’re writing code “live” when it’s really just glorified copy and pasting.

  • XPathMania

I do quite a lot of work with XML, and this little utility proves very useful. I used to use XMLSpy, but it was really too overblown when all I wanted to do was use it’s ability to quickly run an XPath query and see what it returns. This add-in allows me to do that directly in Visual Studio… lovely! It was put together by Don Demsak, and is available from