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Document Windows Overview

Document windows are framed child windows of multiple-document interface (MDI) windows and typically display source code or text. Document windows typically host editors or edit controls, although document windows can also host other functional types. Editors hosted in document windows include text editors and forms editors, which are generally referred to as designers. Users dynamically create document windows.

The IDE uses the running document table (RDT) to track the status of each document window. The RDT is the mechanism through which document windows are notified of events, such as when a solution is closed or when a file has been edited. For more information, see Persistence and the Running Document Table.

The New File dialog box includes examples of document windows that Visual Studio provides. Document windows host editors that are specific to languages and types of files such as:

  • HTML pages

  • Framesets

  • C++ files

  • Header files

You initiate document windows and their hosted editors by selecting a template in the New File dialog box. To open the New File dialog box, on the File menu, point to New, and then click File. Document windows can also be selected when a user clicks a file in Solution Explorer. Document windows are restricted to the MDI client area and their tab order is linked to other MDI windows. Right-clicking a window's tab displays a shortcut menu that includes options to split the MDI area into multiple horizontal or vertical tab groups. Splitting the MDI area enables multiple files to be viewed at the same time.

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