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Creating and Controlling Environment Windows

The Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) is composed of numerous tool windows. A tool window is a window created by Visual Studio, or one that can be manipulated by Visual Studio automation. The Visual Studio automation model enables you to manipulate its windows and in many cases, their contents. For example, the Toolbox window is represented by the ToolBox object, as well as the ToolBoxTabs and ToolBoxItems collections. You can use its members to add and remove tabs and Toolbox items. You can also create your own tool windows to suit your custom content.

While some tool windows, such as Solution Explorer and the Class View tool window, do not have explicit automation features, you can still manipulate the windows themselves. Solution Explorer is a tool window in the Visual Studio IDE that displays a physical, file-based depiction of your solution and its projects and their project items. Like any other tool window in Visual Studio, you can control its physical parameters, such as size, location, and whether it is docked or free-floating. Class View is a tool window that displays the symbols defined, referenced, or called in the application you are developing. For information, see How to: Change Window Characteristics.

To learn more about


Changing the physical characteristics of a tool window, such as its height, width, and so forth.

How to: Change Window Characteristics

Manipulating source code and text in the Code Editor.

How to: Control the Code Editor (Visual Basic)

Automating search and replace operations in the Code Editor.

How to: Automate Text Search and Replace

Manipulating Solution Explorer and its contents.

How to: Control Solution Explorer

Using the Visual Studio Code Model to discover code.

Discovering Code by Using the Code Model (Visual Basic)

Manipulating the Output window and its contents.

How to: Control the Output Window

Changing the settings in the Options dialog box on the Tools menu.

Controlling Options Settings

Manipulating the Toolbox and its contents.

How to: Control the Toolbox

Manipulating the Task List and its contents.

How to: Control the Task List

Manipulating the Command window and its contents.

How to: Control the Command Window

Manipulating the Dynamic Help window and affecting attributes.

How to: Control the Dynamic Help Window

Manipulating the recording of macros from within an add-in.

How to: Use Add-ins to Control Macros

Controlling tree views in tool windows by using the UIHierarchy object.

How to: Manipulate Tree Views by Using UIHierarchy

Creating and manipulating tool windows.

How to: Create and Control Tool Windows

See Also


How to: Create an Add-In

Walkthrough: Creating a Wizard


Controlling Projects and Solutions

Automation Object Model Chart

Other Resources

Creating Add-ins and Wizards

Automation and Extensibility Reference