This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

Document Outline Window 

The Document Outline window provides an outline view of elements and scripts in the current document.

For Visual Web Developer, the Document Outline allows you to:

  • View the logical structure of your document.

  • See which elements are HTML elements and which ones are Web server controls.

  • Navigate to specific elements, in either Design view or Source view.

You can use the outline to do the following in Windows Forms applications in Visual Studio:

  • View the logical structure of a Form or a UserControl.

  • Put user input focus on deeply nested controls that may be hard to select on the Form or UserControl itself.

  • Move controls from one parent to another parent.

  • See controls that may be visually hidden by other controls.

Opening the Document Outline Window in Visual Web Developer

On the View menu in Visual Web Developer, click Document Outline; or, if you have imported General settings in Visual Studio, on the View menu, click Other Windows and then click Document Outline. The Document Outline window will open.


Commands and options in General settings might be different from those in Web Development settings. Web Development settings optimize the environment to provide the most convenient access to commands and options for Web development activities, regardless of the programming language you use. Options for other types of development activities are de-emphasized. For more information, see Visual Studio Settings.

The list of elements that is displayed depends on which view you are using. In Design view, the outline displays elements in the body of the document. In Source view, the outline shows the <body> element as well as child elements of the <head> element, the page directive, and any <script> and <code> elements.

Opening the Document Outline Window in Visual Studio for Windows Forms

On the View menu in Visual Studio, click Other Windows, and then click Document Outline. The Document Outline window will open.

The Document Outline will only be active for Windows Forms applications in Design view for a Form or a UserControl. It will not show anything when you are in Code view.

The Document Outline is most useful when you need to put design focus on controls that are deeply embedded within other controls, or that might be hard to select using a mouse or the TAB key. For example, you might have a SplitContainer control in which the Dock property is set to Fill, and in which two or more SplitterPanel sections are defined. It can be difficult to select the SplitContainer itself so that you can visually resize the panels. When you select the SplitContainer in the Document Outline, the control also is selected in the form so you can hover your mouse over the splitter you want to resize.


If you switch views, the Document Outline window might not be updated immediately because it is updated as a background task.


See Also