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Visualizers are a new component of the Visual Studio debugger user interface. A visualizer creates a dialog box or other interface to displays a variable or object in a meaningful way that is appropriate to its data type. For example, an HTML visualizer interprets an HTML string and displays the result as it would appear in a browser window, a bitmap visualizer interprets a bitmap structure and displays the graphic it represents, and so on. Some visualizers allow you to edit as well as view the data.

The Visual Studio debugger comes with four standard visualizers. These are the text, HTML, and XML visualizers, all of which work on string objects, and the dataset visualizer, which works for DataSet, DataView, and DataTable objects. Additional visualizers may be available for download from Microsoft in the future. In addition, you can write your own visualizers and install them into the Visual Studio debugger.

Visualizers are represented in the debugger by a magnifying glass icon. When you see the magnifying glass in a DataTip, in a debugger variables window or in the QuickWatch dialog box, you can click on the magnifying glass to select a visualizer appropriate to the data type of the corresponding object.

Visualizers are not supported on the Compact Framework.


Debugger visualizers require greater privileges than are allowed by a partial trust application. Visualizers will not load when you are stopped in code with partial trust. To debug using a visualizer, you must run the code with full trust.