Dealing with Visual Studio 2010


One of the greatest things Visual Studio 2010 offers is float-able and dock-able documents. It makes multi-screen development amazingly simple. What happens, on rare occasion, is it gets all kinds of screwed up, and things stop opening where you think they should. Luckily, Visual Studio has a good excuse for this, just not a lot of documentation on how to fix it.

If you ever find yourself dealing with an environment that looks like below, all is not lost!

The bad view
The “bad” view

You may have noticed if you cause a document to open from one of the lower tabs, they don’t open in the upper document area, instead they open within the same tab group! While some people end up with Stockholm syndrome and begin saying this is a better way of doing things, we all know they’re fooling themselves. Many websites recommend going Window > Close All Documents, Window > Reset Window Layout, relaunch Visual Studio 2010, and that people have marginal success with that. Those people are also fools. I’ve never actually seen this work. If you have, consider yourself among the fortunate minority… an MDI 1%-er.

The real remedy?

  • Move all documents to the top top
  • Float all of your “dock” tabs
    Floating dock tabs
  • Click “Dock” on one of the tabs
    Click Dock
  • Drag remaining “dock” tabs onto same strip
    Everything docked correctly
  • Notice the subtle difference between Document Tabs (tabs on top) and Dock Tabs (tabs on bottom).

From now on, all documents will open up in the top tab, and your dock tabs will remain uncluttered at the bottom where they should be.

Happy coding!

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