Writing to the User Settings Store

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

User settings are writeable settings like the ones in the Tools / Options dialog, properties windows, and certain other dialog boxes. Visual Studio extensions may use these to store small amounts of data. This walkthrough shows how to add Notepad to Visual Studio as an external tool by reading from and writing to the user settings store.

Writing to the User Settings Store

  1. Create a VSIX project named UserSettingsStoreExtension and then add a custom command named UserSettingsStoreCommand. For more information about how to create a custom command, see Creating an Extension with a Menu Command

  2. In UserSettingsStoreCommand.cs, add the following using directives:

    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using Microsoft.VisualStudio.Settings;
    using Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.Settings;
    
  3. In MenuItemCallback, delete the body of the method and get the user settings store, as follows:

    private void MenuItemCallback(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        SettingsManager settingsManager = new ShellSettingsManager(ServiceProvider);
        WritableSettingsStore userSettingsStore = settingsManager.GetWritableSettingsStore(SettingsScope.UserSettings);
    }
    
  4. Now find out whether Notepad is already set as an external tool. You need to iterate through all the external tools to determine whether the ToolCmd setting is "Notepad", as follows:

    private void MenuItemCallback(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        SettingsManager settingsManager = new ShellSettingsManager(ServiceProvider);
        WritableSettingsStore userSettingsStore = settingsManager.GetWritableSettingsStore(SettingsScope.UserSettings);
    
        // Find out whether Notepad is already an External Tool.
        int toolCount = userSettingsStore.GetInt32("External Tools", "ToolNumKeys");
        bool hasNotepad = false;
        CompareInfo Compare = CultureInfo.InvariantCulture.CompareInfo;
        for (int i = 0; i < toolCount; i++)
        {
            if (Compare.IndexOf(userSettingsStore.GetString("External Tools", "ToolCmd" + i), "Notepad", CompareOptions.IgnoreCase) >= 0)
            {
                hasNotepad = true;
                break;
            }
        }
    }
    
    
  5. If Notepad hasn't been set as an external tool, set it as follows:

    private void MenuItemCallback(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        SettingsManager settingsManager = new ShellSettingsManager(ServiceProvider);
        WritableSettingsStore userSettingsStore = settingsManager.GetWritableSettingsStore(SettingsScope.UserSettings);
    
        // Find out whether Notepad is already installed.
        int toolCount = userSettingsStore.GetInt32("External Tools", "ToolNumKeys");
        bool hasNotepad = false;
        CompareInfo Compare = CultureInfo.InvariantCulture.CompareInfo;
        for (int i = 0; i < toolCount; i++)
        {
            if (Compare.IndexOf(userSettingsStore.GetString("External Tools", "ToolCmd" + i), "Notepad", CompareOptions.IgnoreCase) >= 0)
            {
                hasNotepad = true;
                break;
            }
        }
    
        string message = (hasNotepad) ? "Notepad already installed" : "Installing Notepad";
         if (!hasNotepad)
        {
            userSettingsStore.SetString("External Tools", "ToolTitle" + toolCount, "&Notepad");
            userSettingsStore.SetString("External Tools", "ToolCmd" + toolCount, "C:\\Windows\\notepad.exe");
            userSettingsStore.SetString("External Tools", "ToolArg" + toolCount, "");
            userSettingsStore.SetString("External Tools", "ToolDir" + toolCount, "$(ProjectDir)");
            userSettingsStore.SetString("External Tools", "ToolSourceKey" + toolCount, "");
            userSettingsStore.SetUInt32("External Tools", "ToolOpt" + toolCount, 0x00000011);
    
            userSettingsStore.SetInt32("External Tools", "ToolNumKeys", toolCount + 1);
        }
    }
    
  6. Test the code. Remember that it adds Notepad as an External Tool, so you must roll back the registry before running it a second time.

  7. Build the code and start debugging.

  8. On the Tools menu, click Invoke UserSettingsStoreCommand. This will add Notepad to the Tools menu.

  9. Now you should see Notepad on the Tools / Options menu, and clicking Notepad should bring up an instance of Notepad.