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Box Selections and Multi-Edit in Visual Studio 2010

I wasn't aware of box selection which has been in Visual Studio for some time now until I viewed this video for what is coming up with Visual Studio 2010.  The video shows off some additional multiline editing functions added in 2010.

All I have to say is holy gazooks Batman that is power!

[via http://blog.filipfracz.net/]


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  • SamSam

    I can think of any number of times where that would have saved me a great deal of time on a project. I'm definitely looking forward to it.

  • StefanStefan

    I can't get this to work, using VS2010 Beta 1 Version 10.0.20506.1

  • ramram

    I have one comment from the box selection video. I saw in the end when printing all the pens after the copy & paste of all the pen variable we had to manually delete all the semi colons. Because I love the fact that we now have box editing, box inserting, box pasting but we still have to do some tasks manually if the content is not similar or rectangular.

    My request is why don't the Visual studio team has a search & replace on the box selections. This would cover most of the scenarios and better end to end editing without any manual work. This would be even batter in cases where we are editing huge documents

  • georgegeorge

    awesome, I never realized i could box delete in 2008!!

  • VSEditorVSEditor


    As you've noticed, this feature isn't in VS 2010 Beta1.  We implemented it after Beta1 was released, largely because of customer feedback from people who used box selection in previous versions and missed it in VS 2010.  You'll be able to play with this feature and everything you see in the video in the next release of VS 2010.


    It's true that some tasks still need to be done manually or with a macro if the content isn't rectangular.  But we actually do have the ability to search and replace in selections, including box selections.  Another user commented on this when I posted this video on the VS Editor team blog (link below), and I wish I had thought to use it to delete the semicolons.  To use this feature in VS 2008 or 2010, you can just make a selection, box or otherwise, then press Ctrl+F to bring up Find.  The "Look in:" dropdown will default to "Selection", and you can do a find or find/replace just in your selection.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!  I designed this feature, so if you have more feedback on it, I'd love to hear it Smiley

    Brittany Behrens

    Program Manager, VS Platform


  • VSEditorVSEditor

    @Stefan -

    This post doesn't mention it, but this feature was implemented after Beta1 shipped, largely in response to feedback from people who used box selection in VS 2008 and missed it in VS 2010 Beta1.  You'll be able to play with it and do everything shown in the video in the next release of VS 2010.

    @ram -

    You're right that there will still be some tasks that require manual editing or a macro, especially when text doesn't quite line up.  However, we actually do have the ability to use find and replace in a selection, including box selection, and I wish I had thought to use it in this demo.  To see it in action in VS 2008 or 2010, just make a selection (box or otherwise) and press Ctrl+F or Ctrl+H to bring up the Find or Replace dialog.  The "Look in:" box will default to "Selection," and you can then search and/or replace in the selection you've made.

    Thanks to everyone for the feedback - I designed this feature for VS 2010, so I'd love to hear any other thoughts you have.  Comments are welcome here or on the VS Editor blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/vseditor, where this demo video was first posted.

    Thanks again!

    Brittany Behrens

    Program Manager, VS Editor


  • AdamAdam

    This is straight from UltraEdit's Column Mode.... nice. Finally I don't have to copy and paste between UE and VS.

  • CronCron

    Nice. Box selection will surely save me a lot of time.

  • MarvinMarvin

    Nice feature! I got all tingly when I saw the box-typing. However, it doesn't look like auto-complete works in there. That's a shame.

    VSEditor said:

    'The "Look in:" dropdown will default to "Selection"'

    Now, has anyone noticed that the "Look in" dropdown doesn't always default to "selection" when selecting a single line?

    Reproducing the issue:

    1. Make sure nothing is selected, cursor at beginning of a line.

    2. Hit CTRL-R. "Look in" will show "Current Document"

    3. Hit ESC to cancel the dialog.

    3. Hit SHIFT-DNARROW to select a single line.

    4. Hit CTRL-R. "Look in" still shows "Current Document". It should show "Selection".

    This is VS Team 2008 v9.0.30729.1

    But it also occured in VS 2005 and VS 2003.

    Surely someone's noticed this before? It's a serious issue when you just want to replace something on a single line but end up doing it on the entire doc! Thank god for undo.

    I'd love to see that bug fixed sometime...

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    @Marvin, this video shows off VS2010.  I did just test this out in VS 2008 Pro v9.0.30729.1 SP and it it selected "Selected".

    Also I think you mean Control-F, not Control-R

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    @Kevin 2 things.  First, there is VS 2008 and VS 2010, no 2009.

    Next, don't select anything.  If nothing is selected, it defaults to "current document"

  • KevinKevin

    I use VS 2009 - I want to know how to change the default when you hit ctrl-F, so it doesn't default the Look in field to "Selection".

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