Visual Studio Hacks

SlickEdit Editing Toolbox

by admin on April 2, 2008

I love seeing more affordable add-ins that are a great value. SlickEdit recently announced a set of add-ins that are both priced at $49 and both provide a number of compelling features. In this article I am going to cover some of the highlights of the Editing Toolbox.

Aliases and Acronyms

One feature set I particularly enjoy are the Aliases and Acronyms. Acronyms are simple code expansions, you can type a couple of characters and then hit Ctrl+` and it will fill out the entire word. It kind of like a micro-code snippet but it is much easier to use than the built in code snippets in Visual Studio. An example aliases is "cxn" which will expand into SqlConnection. This isn’t a ground-breaking feature but it can be very useful, especially since it is easy to create additional aliases:

Aliases are basically the same idea, but they work inside of the Open File dialog. For instance you can type up in the open file dialog and then Ctrl+Space and it will fill in the path to your user profile. This is much better than typing out "C:\Documents and Settings\James Avery" or hunting through the file system with your mouse. You can also set your own if you have common paths you constantly have to navigate to.

Regex Evaluator

A couple years back I took a pass at writing an add-in to evaluate regular expressions, but it has fallen by the wayside. I am glad I didn’t put too much time into it because the Editing Toolbox provides a slick Regex Evaluator. Not only can you test your regular expressions but you can also search It also includes a nice quick reference to common regular expressions and a way to save frequently used regular expressions in your own library:

These are just two of the features I enjoy, the editing toolbox includes much more:

  • Quick Profiling – A way to use trace statements to perform quick code profiling, useful for loops and small profiling jobs but not a replacement for a full featured trace tool.
  • Code Navigation – Quickly jump to symbol definitions and uses.
  • Comments – The add-in makes it easy to wrap comments, change comments to blocks, and reflow comments.
  • Icon Extractor – Makes it easy to pull icons from existing applications.
  • Code Annotations – A simple way to store comments, tasks, and bug information without modifying your source file.
  • Auto Code Doc Viewer – The Auto Code Doc Viewer generates and lets you quickly view the documentation generated from your inline XML based comments.

Overall I think the add-in is definitely worth the $49 and provides a number of features I haven’t seen in competing add-ins. One of the most pleasant surprises is how solid the add-in is. I have gotten used to many add-ins being unstable and causing the IDE to slow down or crash, I didn’t experience any of this with SlickEdit.

Check out the SlickEdit Editing Toolbox.


Disclaimer: SlickEdit provided me with a free copy of the add-in and are an advertiser with my advertising network The Lounge.

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