Using keyboard shortcuts is the best way to get things done faster in Visual Studio (and most other computer applications for that matter).

Below are my favorite Visual Studio keyboard shortcuts (I am leaving out the really obvious ones like F5).

  • CTRL+ALT+L: View Solution Explorer. I use Auto Hide for all of my tool windows to maximize screen real estate. Whenever I need to open the Solution Explorer, it’s just a shortcut away. Related shortcuts: CTRL+ALT+X (Toolbox), F4 (Properties), CTRL+ALT+O (Output), CTRL+\, E (Error List), CTRL+\, T (Task List).
  • F12: Go to definition of a variable, object, or function.
  • SHIFT+F12: Find all references of a function or variable.
  • F7: Toggle between Designer and Source views.
  • CTRL+PgDn: Toggle between Design and Source View in HTML editor.
  • F10: Debug – step over. Related debugging shortcuts: F5 (debug – start), F11 (debug – step into), SHIFT-F11 (debug – step out), CTRL-F10 (debug – run to cursor). F9 (toggle breakpoint).
  • CTRL+D or CTRL+/: Find combo (see section on Find Combo below).
  • CTRL+M, O: Collapse to Definitions. This is usually the first thing I do when opening up a new class.
  • CTRL+K, CTRL+C: Comment block. CTRL+K, CTRL-U (uncomment selected block).
  • CTRL+-: Go back to the previous location in the navigation history.
  • ALT+B, B: Build Solution. Related shortcuts: ALT+B, U (build selected Project), ALT+B, R (rebuild Solution).
  • CTRL+ALT+Down Arrow: Show dropdown of currently open files. Type the first few letters of the file you want to select.
  • CTRL+K, CTRL+D: Format code.
  • CTRL+L: Delete entire line.
  • CTRL+G: Go to line number. This is useful when you are looking at an exception stack trace and want to go to the offending line number.
  • SHIFT+ALT+Enter: Toggle full screen mode. This is especially useful if you have a small monitor. Since I upgraded to dual 17″ monitors, I no longer needed to use full screen mode.
  • CTRL+K, X: Insert “surrounds with” code snippet. See Snippets tip below.
  • CTRL+B, T: Toggle bookmark. Related: CTRL+B, N (next bookmark), CTRL+B, P (prev bookmark).

The complete list of default shortcuts is available from VS 2005 Documentation. You can also download/print reference posters from Microsoft: C# Keyboard Reference Poster, VB.NET Keyboard Reference Poster.