Edit the Most Recent File and Project Lists

Edit the Most Recent File and Project Lists

The list of recently used files is a good place to go back to the projects you've been working with a lot. You can tweak this list to your liking and make it even better.

Visual Studio maintains a list of the most recently opened file and project files. Whenever you open a file or project, it is added to the top of the most recently opened list. Visual Studio then uses the most recent file and project lists for a number of different purposes. The first is to populate two menu items that list the entire recent file and project lists; this is shown in Figure.

Recent Files list

The second use is to display recent projects on the default Visual Studio .NET 2003 start page, which is shown in Figure.

Visual Studio .NET 2003 start page

Modify Number of Items

By default, both of these lists display only four (or eight in Visual Studio 2005) of the most recent projects or files. By navigating to Tools Options General, you can set the number of items shown in these lists under the option called "Display n items in most recently used lists." This option can be seen in Figure.

Number of items to display in most recently used lists

You can set the number of items to any number between 1 and 24. When you click OK, you will immediately see the new files and projects in Visual Studio.

Editing Most Recent Lists

There is no place in Visual Studio to edit either of these lists, but thankfully Microsoft has released a power toy called VSTweak to do so.

A power toy is a small utility released after the full release of an application. It is usually written by the some of the same people who worked on the original application and often includes features or functionality that they could not get done in time to build into the original application. You can find power toys for most Microsoft applications including, but not limited to, Visual Studio, Windows, OneNote, and more. Power toys are not supported by Microsoft.

The VSTweak power toy is one of the more useful power toys for Visual Studio and is the subject of a number of different hacks in this book. The VSTweak power toy can be downloaded from http://workspaces.gotdotnet.com/vstweak.

The .zip file that you download contains both an .exe and an .msi (Microsoft Installer): you can double-click on either of these to install VSTweak. After VSTweak is installed, you can edit these two lists by opening VSTweak and selecting the MRU (Most Recently Used) Lists Manager tab. This screen is shown in Figure.

Figure. VSTweak—MRU Lists Manager

Using the Lists Manager, you can remove files and projects currently in the list or add new files or projects using the Add button. Normally you should not need to edit these lists, but from time to time I like to clear them out. And when doing a fresh install, I like to add my frequently used projects back to the list.

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