Essential addons for Visual Studio 2015


My list of the essential add-ons that should be installed on Visual Studio 2015 to make work more comfortable and productive. Nothing extra, just a minimal list of features that are missing in the IDE by default.

JetBrains ReSharper [paid]

Nothing to say. It's just the best addon ever with a lot of cool features for refactoring, coding assistant, navigation, and building projects. There are several useful extensions for ReSharper (can be installed using the built-in Extension Manager):

  • Enhanced Tooltip [free]. Colorizes tooltips and information about parameters.
  • Agent Mulder [free]. Provides easy navigation for dependencies registered in IoC containers.
  • ReSharper Solution Settings Autodiscovery [free]. Just an essential extension when you have a repository with several solutions and want to keep only one team-shared settings file.

Configuration Transform [free]

Enables the App.config and Web.config transformations during the build process. A very handy extension when you have different config settings for different build configurations.

Web Essentials [free]

A large addon that extends Visual Studio with a lot of great features for web developers. Provides link with browser for live editing and changing, including a possibility to change source files from the browser! Makes it easy working with CSS, HTML, JS, TypeScript, LESS, CoffeeScript, and much much more.

Exception Breaker [free]

Adds a handy button for quick switching on/off breaking on all CLR exceptions.

XAML Styler [free]

Automatically reformats the XAML file on saving. An essential add-on for easy merge when many developers change the same XAML files.

Productivity Power Tools 2015 [free]

Adds many useful features such as custom Document Well (it is possible to place file tabs vertically that is cool for wide screens), fixing mixed tabs in the files, column guides (a vertical line on e.g. 120 chars), a set of commands (copy/paste references, open containing folder, unloading project, etc.) and others.

VSColorOutput [free]

Makes reading of output easy by colorizing its lines using some rules. Also, there is an option to stop building on the first compilation error - a convenient way to fix build errors when a solution has many projects. Otherwise, you will get a failed build of all projects which depend on the broken one.

GhostDoc [free]

A handy extension for quick generation of XML documentation for classes, methods, and properties based on their type, parameters, name, and other contextual information.