Overview of the Macros IDE

The Visual Studio Macros integrated development environment (IDE) has the same look and feel as the Visual Studio IDE, but is separate from it. The Macros IDE includes the Code Editor and several tool windows. These windows function the same as their Visual Studio counterparts, except that they apply specifically to the code and projects within the Macros environment.

The Macros IDE includes the Project Explorer and the Editor and Properties windows. When you first open the Macros IDE, not all of these windows are visible:

  • The Project Explorer appears in the pane on the left side of the screen.

  • The Editor window appears only if you open a macro from the Macro Explorer, which requires the Macros IDE to open. If you open the Macros IDE by pressing ALT+F11, the editor window is not displayed and the right side of the screen is empty. In this case, adding a new item to your macro project opens the Editor window.

  • The Properties window appears in auto-hide mode on the left side of the Project Explorer. To view it, click its button.

To return to the Visual Studio IDE, press Alt+F11 or select Close from the File menu.


The shortcut key Alt+F11 is active only in the General Development Profile and the Visual C# Profile. It is not active in the Visual Basic Profile.

For details on saving macros, see Saving and Exporting Macros Files.

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