VS2015 Preview: Layout Management

In earlier versions of Visual Studio, if you happened to mess up your window layout in Visual Studio, you could reset it back to the default layout by using the appropriate item in the Window menu:


This rearranges the docked windows to whatever you originally had when Visual Studio was installed:


That’s nice and all. But you may have noticed some new items above “Reset Window Layout” in the Window menu which are pretty handy when it comes to managing your window layouts.

For instance, when developing a new WPF application, the toolbox can sometimes come in handy for those without much experience with XAML. So, after introducing the Toolbox window, you can save the current layout:


To save a layout, you need to give it a name:


…and if that name happens to already exist, you’re asked whether you want to replace it (this is how you update saved layouts):


You can then load (apply) these layouts by selecting them from the list in the Window menu, or by using the appropriate shortcut key (available for the first nine layouts in order). For instance, I saved this alternate layout suitable for unit tests, and I can apply it like this:


…and then, like magic, the selected layout is applied:


There’s also a menu item for management of these layouts:


This opens a dialog which allows you to rename, delete, or reorder layouts.


Reordering layouts has the effect of reassigning their keyboard shortcuts, since they are assigned in order to the first nine (from Ctrl+Alt+1 to Ctrl+Alt+9).

So, there you have it! Window layout management is yet another new feature in Visual Studio 2015 to improve your productivity.

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