Customizing Development Settings
Visual Studio settings define different aspects of the Visual Studio look and feel. You can change settings such as tool window visibility, window layouts, placement of menu commands, menu names, project templates, and keyboard shortcuts.
When you first start Visual Studio, you must select one of the pre-defined settings collections to match a particular type of development. Every time that you change a setting, the change is automatically saved, by default, in the Currentsettings.vssettings file. Visual Studio applies your active settings automatically every time that you start the application.
You can change most Visual Studio settings individually. For example, if a settings collection hides pages in the Options dialog box, you can display those pages manually by selecting Show all settings. However, you cannot override certain predefined settings unless you apply a different collection.
You can reset your settings if you want to go back to an earlier and better state, or if you want to change the kind of settings you are using (for example, change General Development Settings to Visual C# Development Settings). Click Tools / Import and Export Settings, then select Reset all settings. You have the option of backing up your current settings to a file or resetting them without saving. You can choose one of the pre-defined settings types.
You can export your settings to a file if you want to move them to another Visual Studio installation, or if you want to share your settings with your friends or your team. Click Tools / Import and Export Settings, then select Export selected environment settings. You have the option of selecting a subset of your settings to export. Save the settings to a file, then import that file on the second Visual Studio installation.
The default location for settings files is %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Visual Studio 2012\Settings.
You can import settings from a file you (or someone else) have previously exported. Click Tools / Import and Export Settings, then select Import selected environment settings. You have the option of backing up your current settings. Then choose the .vssettings file you want to import. The default location for settings files is %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Visual Studio 2012\Settings.
You may not be able migrate all your settings. For example, if you try to migrate settings from a Visual Studio Express edition to a different Visual Studio Express edition, not all the settings would be imported because the different Express editions do not have the same features.
Some settings may contain information about you or your computer. For example, if you have customized the IDE to save projects to a network share, the path of that share is tracked in your settings file. If you export this file to share with others, anyone who imported your settings would also be pointed to this network share.
A warning icon appears next to settings that may be risky, such as External Tools Lists and Command Window Aliases.