Visual Studio Tools & Extensions

I think most .NET developers (or anyone using Visual Studio for any length of time) have a running list of extensions and tools that make life a bit easier. The list varies depending on your role, of course. If you’re strictly a desktop developer, probably you don’t immediately install any Web Essentials extensions, for example.

Of course, many of us wear many hats and aren’t strictly working in one environment or another, so the list of extensions/plugins/tools we fall back on can become fairly lengthy. I wanted to share my current list in the hope that someone may find it useful at some point, and that possibly someone else may offer feedback regarding a better tool or known issues or anything else that comes to mind.

As of this writing (September 7, 2018), I’m using Visual Studio 2017 (version 15.8.3). I work with WPF, WCF, REST, some MVC, some Angular, a lot of SQL and LINQ, and a metric ton of “okay, why did this break/what did I do wrong here”, for context. I also don’t mind paying for tools if I think they’ll help (and I’ve paid for tools that have not been helpful, too, so there’s that). I’ll split out the list in FREE and PAID categories.

Note that you can grab your own list of installed extensions a few different ways, but this way might be easiest (works in VS 2017, too): 

You can get a list of installed extensions and packages from the Help – About Microsoft Visual Studio dialog. The Copy Info button copies this list as text to the clipboard.

Anyway, these are what I have installed right now.


  • .ignore version 1.2.77
    A language service that makes it painless to handle all types of .ignore files such as .gitignore, .tfignore, etc.

  • Clean Solution version 1.4.20
    Cleans up the solution for the next time you open it. Closes open documents and collapses folders automatically when a solution is being closed.

  • Clear MEF Component Cache version 1.4
    Clears the Visual Studio MEF component cache to fix issues with cache corruption.

  • Clear Recent version 1.0.0
    Clears recent projects and files lists

  • CodeMaid version 10.5.119
    CodeMaid is an open source Visual Studio extension to cleanup and simplify our C#, C++, F#, VB, PHP, PowerShell, R, JSON, XAML, XML, ASP, HTML, CSS, LESS, SCSS, JavaScript and TypeScript coding.

  • ColorCoder version 1.0
    Color Coder provides semantic coloring for C# and VB

  • Common Azure Tools version 1.10
    Provides common services for use by Azure Mobile Services and Microsoft Azure Tools.

  • CustomizeVSWindowTitle 3 version 1.0
    Lets you customize, to an extent, what’s displayed in the IDE window title — especially useful for if you’re likely to have more than one instance of Visual Studio open at a time

  • File Icons version 2.7
    Adds icons for files that are not recognized by Solution Explorer

  • ProjectColoredFrame version 1.0
    Helps you to differentiate between editing documents belonging to different projects by adding a faintly colored border.

  • ProjectConfigurationManager version 1.7.1099.0
    A Visual Studio extension to ease management of solution and project configurations.

  • Sandcastle Help File Builder  SHFB
    Visual Studio integration for the Sandcastle Help File Builder.

  • SlowCheetah – XML config transforms version 1.0
    This package enables you to transform your app.config or any other XML file based on the build configuration. It also adds additional tooling to help you create XML transforms.

  • StylerPackage Extension (XAML Styler)
    Visual Studio extension to help format your XAML source code

  • Syntax Visualizer version 1.0
    An extension for visualizing Roslyn SyntaxTrees.

  • TechTalk SpecFlow
    TechTalk SpecFlow – Binding business requirements to .NET code,
    Copyright © 2009–2017 TechTalk

  • Trailing Whitespace Visualizer version 2.5.90
    Keeps your code files clean by making it easier than ever to identify and remove any trailing whitespace

  • Visual Studio Spell Check Everywhere
    An extension that enables spell checking within any Visual Studio file editor or tool window that uses WPF text boxes.

  • Visual Studio Spell Checker
    An editor extension that checks the spelling of comments, strings, and plain text as you type or interactively with tool windows.

  • WiX Toolset Visual Studio Extension version


  • CodeRush for Roslyn version
    DevExpress CodeRush for Roslyn package.

  • CodeRush for Roslyn Tool Windows version
    DevExpress CodeRush for Roslyn Tool Windows package.

  • Devart SQL Complete version 5.9.66
    Devart dbForge SQL Complete for Management Studio and Visual Studio
    Copyright (c) 2017 Devart. All rights reserved.

  • OzCode version 1.0
    Your road to Magical Debugging.

  • OzCodePackage Extension version 1.0
    OzCodePackage Visual Studio Extension Detailed Info

  • JetBrains ReSharper — this is not currently installed for performance reasons, but usually, I do have it set up.

So that’s me right now. What about you?


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