Visual-studio – Adding a guideline to the editor in Visual Studio

ideregistryvisual-studio

Introduction

I've always been searching for a way to make Visual Studio draw a line after a certain amount of characters.

Below is a guide to enable these so called guidelines for various versions of Visual Studio.

Visual Studio 2013 or later

Install Paul Harrington's Editor Guidelines extension.

Visual Studio 2010 and 2012

  1. Install Paul Harrington's Editor Guidelines extension for VS 2010 or VS 2012.
  2. Open the registry at:

    VS 2010: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\Text Editor

    VS 2012: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\Text Editor

    and add a new string called Guides with the value RGB(100,100,100), 80. The
    first part specifies the color, while the other one (80) is the column the line will be displayed.
  3. Or install the Guidelines UI extension (which is also a part of the Productivity Power Tools), which will add entries to the editor's context menu for adding/removing the entries without needing to edit the registry directly. The current disadvantage of this method is that you can't specify the column directly.

Visual Studio 2008 and Other Versions

If you are using Visual Studio 2008 open the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor and add a new string called Guides with the value RGB(100,100,100), 80. The first part specifies the color, while the other one (80) is the column the line will be displayed. The vertical line will appear, when you restart Visual Studio.

This trick also works for various other version of Visual Studio, as long as you use the correct path:

2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\Text Editor
2005: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\Text Editor
2008: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor
2008 Express: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

This also works in SQL Server 2005 and probably other versions.

Best Solution

This is originally from Sara's blog.

It also works with almost any version of Visual Studio, you just need to change the "8.0" in the registry key to the appropriate version number for your version of Visual Studio.

The guide line shows up in the Output window too. (Visual Studio 2010 corrects this, and the line only shows up in the code editor window.)

You can also have the guide in multiple columns by listing more than one number after the color specifier:

RGB(230,230,230), 4, 80

Puts a white line at column 4 and column 80. This should be the value of a string value Guides in "Text Editor" key (see bellow).

Be sure to pick a line color that will be visisble on your background. This color won't show up on the default background color in VS. This is the value for a light grey: RGB(221, 221, 221).

Here are the registry keys that I know of:

Visual Studio 2010: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\Text Editor

Visual Studio 2008: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

Visual Studio 2005: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\Text Editor

Visual Studio 2003: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\Text Editor

For those running Visual Studio 2010, you may want to install the following extensions rather than changing the registry yourself:

These are also part of the Productivity Power Tools, which includes many other very useful extensions.