Visual Studio Tips and Tricks – Quick Launch (Where was that option/menu item?)

VisualStudioLogoEver tried to remember where you turn line numbers on and off? Or where you go to change the theme for Visual Studio? Quick Launch, a new feature in Visual Studio 2013, gets rid of the guess work!

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As I was exploring new features in Visual Studio 2013, I found mention of a new feature called Quick Launch. After one day, I was hooked! Quick Launch is a feature that helps you locate features and options within the Visual Studio tool. You can find the full documentation of the feature in the MSDN documentation on Quick Launch. In this post I will cover the following:

  • Where is Quick Launch?
  • What does Quick Launch do?
  • Where can I get Visual Studio 2013?  

Where is Quick Launch?

Look in the top right hand corner of your developer environment in Visual Studio 2013. You will see a text box. That’s Quick Launch.


What does Quick Launch do?

Quick Launch is a search tool, but instead of searching through your code, it searches the Visual Studio tool itself. Quick Launch will search menu items, options, and file names (NOT file contents, you already have other tools for searching file contents), Nuget packages, and tasks.

Let’s say you want to change the font size of the text in the code editor window. You know that’s buried somewhere in Tools | Options but you can’t remember exactly where. Just go to Quick Launch and type “font size” check out the results.

QuickLaunchFontSizeAs you can see, the search results return the location of the font size setting in Tools | Options. If you click on “Environment – Fonts and Colors” Visual Studio will open up the Tools | Options to the location where you can set your font size.

font size tools options

It will even update the search results if you have installed Visual Studio add-ons that provide additional menu items. I have installed a Color Theme pack, so when I can’t remember where to change my selected color them search for “theme” . I not only see where I can change the theme in Tools | Options, but also the menu items that were created when I installed the add-on.


If you know you are searching menu items or Tools Options specifically, you can even specify prefixes when you do your search to narrow down results.

  • @mru returns Most Recently Used
  • @menu searches for menu items
  • @opt Searches Tools Options…there is so much goodness hidden in there if you know where to look.
  • @doc searches file names and paths but NOT file contents, you have other tools to search file contents (such as Find in Files/ CTRL+SHIFT+F)

For example, I might not remember where in the menu to launch performance tools. So I type “@menu performance”. The results only show menu items that include the keyword performance.

menu options quick launch

Where can I get Visual Studio 2013?

Quick Launch is a new feature in Visual Studio 2013. So if you haven't downloaded a copy yet. You can download it and start exploring today.