Category Archives: tips

Tip: Make parentheses matching more visible in C#

Recently someone asked me if there was a Visual Studio add-in that highlighted parentheses, brackets, and braces so it would be easier to tell which closing parenthesis matched which opening parenthesis. It turns out that Visual Studio already has a … Continue reading

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Display tips in a status bar instead of a tooltip in C#

A tooltip provides information when a user needs it but remains unobtrusive when the user doesn’t need the information. For example, normally you can chug through a form filling in fields such as Name, Street, City, and State without any … Continue reading

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Hints for beginners without sacrificing efficiency

In my previous post, The ribbon interface: sacrificing usability for discoverability, I explain that the ribbon interface makes it easier for beginners to wander through an application’s features to discover what tools are available but that it makes it harder … Continue reading

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The ribbon interface: sacrificing usability for discoverability

Unlike my usual examples, this post is a discussion of an important design technique: providing information for beginners without sacrificing efficiency for more experienced users. Next time I’ll post a follow-up and then get back to examples after that. In … Continue reading

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Enable commands in Visual Studio Express Edition

This post explains how you can enable commands that are missing by default in Visual Studio Express Edition. Some of this may also apply to other editions. Visual Studio Express Edition is not quite the same as the more expensive … Continue reading

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Use XML comments in C#

C# let’s you use XML comments to give extra information to IntelliSense and that can be used to automatically generate documentation. These comments start with three / symbols and should be placed before the program item to which they apply. … Continue reading

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Declare and initialize empty arrays in C#

This is a handy trick for working with possibly empty arrays. A C# program cannot use an array’s properties and methods until the array is instantiated. For example, the following code declares an array and then tries to use its … Continue reading

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