Add Guidelines to the Text Editor

Add Guidelines to the Text Editor

If you've got to have everything line up just right, turn on guidelines and get everything pixel perfect.

One of the features missing from the text editor in Visual Studio is the ability to add vertical guidelines. Vertical guidelines are thin vertical lines that can be used as visual guides when aligning text. This feature is not actually missing though—using a simple registry hack, you can add up to 13 different guidelines to Visual Studio's text editor.

When editing the registry, you should always back up your registry or use the alternative registry method [Hack #30] .

To add guidelines:

  1. Close Visual Studio.

  2. Open regedit (Start Run type regedit).

  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\<7.1>\Text Editor.

  4. Right-click on the Text Editor key and choose New String Value and name it "Guides".

  5. Set the value of the guides to RGB(128, 128, 128) 4, 16.

The first part of the value sets the color of the guidelines using common red, green, and blue values. 128, 128, and 128 sets the color of the guidelines to gray. The second numbers specify where the guidelines should appear. In this example, guidelines will be shown at the 4-space mark as well as the 16-space mark. You can add up to 13 different guidelines by simply adding more numeric values separated by commas.

After you have created your registry entry, you will see guidelines in the marks specified when you launch Visual Studio. Figure shows an example of the results from the example settings.

Guidelines in Visual Studio

Removing these guidelines is simply a matter of deleting the Guides registry key and restarting Visual Studio.

Guidelines are easy to add and can be very useful when trying to keep your code organized. Thanks to Sara Ford for posting about this hidden feature on her blog:

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