Arranging Windows
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Arranging Windows

The integrated development environment (IDE) has two types of windows, tool windows and document windows. You can increase the viewing and editing space for code, depending on how you arrange the windows in the IDE. You have many options for arranging windows within the IDE, including the following:

  • Tab-dock several windows.
  • Dock tool windows to an edge of the development environment.
  • Minimize tool windows along any edge of the development environment.
  • Put windows on different monitors.
  • Tile document windows.

You can select a pre-defined window layout from the Visual Studio Home Page. For more information on the differences between tool and document windows, see Window Types.

  • For a tool window, see "To dock or hide tool windows."
  • For a document window, select Tabbed Documents on the General pane under the Environment option in the Options dialog box. The documents in the editor are automatically maximized and linked together.

Docking Tool Windows

You can make tool windows dockable or undockable by selecting or clearing Dockable on the Window menu. When a tool window is dockable, it floats on top of the other windows or it snaps to a side of the application window. When a tool window is not dockable, it appears as a document window.

Tip   To move a dockable window without snapping it into place, press CTRL while dragging it to the location you desire.

Hiding Tool Windows Automatically

Tool windows, all of which appear on the View menu, support a feature called Auto Hide. Auto Hide allows you to see more of your code at one time by minimizing tool windows along the edges of the integrated development environment (IDE). You can do this only in Multiple Document Interface (MDI) mode.

To place a window in auto hide

  • Select the window and choose Auto Hide from the window menu, or click the pushpin icon on the title bar of the window.

Auto Hide Disabled

To disable Auto Hide

  • Click the pushpin icon on the title bar of the window or deselect Auto Hide on the Window menu.

Auto Hide Enabled

When auto hidden, the name and icon of a window are visible on a tab at the edge of the IDE. Move your cursor over the tab to access auto hidden windows. The window slides back into view and is ready for use. When an auto-hidden window loses focus, it automatically slides back to its tab on the edge of the IDE.

You can control the speed at which these transitions occur. For more information, see General, Environment, Options Dialog Box.

Tip   Tool windows in Auto Hide temporarily slide into view when the window has focus. To hide the window again, select an item outside of the current window. Once the window loses focus, it slides back out of view.

To dock or hide tool windows

  1. Select Dockable from the Window menu and then drag the window toward an edge of the development environment window until you see a superimposed outline in the location you want.
    Note   The position of the mouse pointer, not the edges of the window, determines where the window will be placed.
    Tip   To move a dockable window without snapping it into place, press CTRL while dragging it to the location you desire.
  2. Right-click the window and choose Auto Hide. The window will reappear when your cursor is near the edge of the development environment window.
    Note   If you want the windows to close or hide as individual windows instead of the docked group, you can set the Docked Tool Window Behavior options found on the General tab for the environment in the Options dialog box.

Specifying a Monitor

If you have a second monitor, and your platform supports using it, you can choose which monitor to display windows on.

To place tool windows on different monitors

  1. Use the Display settings in the Control Panel to set up your multiple monitor configurations. See Windows Help for more information.
  2. Drag the tool window to the other monitor. This option is only available on platforms that support multiple monitors.

Tiling Document Windows

If you want to view more than one document at a time while editing code, you can tile documents together.

To tile document windows

  • In Tabbed Documents mode, select a tab and drag it below or above the current document tile. A rectangular outline appears in the location that the new document tile will be placed, based on the position of the cursor.
  • In MDI modes, choose Tile Horizontally or Tile Vertically from the Windows menu.

See Also

Window Management | Window Types

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