Learn to use “keyboard only” when programming

Loads of time I see fellow programmers and students of mine struggle with both the keyboard and the mouse when they are programming. Useful at first, but it will slow you down in the end. I’ve tried to adopt a “keyboard only” mode when programming. Meaning that I will only reach for the mouse when really, really necessary.


VS2005 C# Keybindings ChartDuring the SDC 2006 talk that Frits Ankersmit and I did on VS2005 Tips and tricks we already covered loads of keyboard shortcuts that you should know. Apparently the C# team has been handing out pamphlets with the C# default key bindings at TechEd Europe 2006. Karen Liu now has a PDF file up that you can download and print for yourself if you didn’t get one. I encourage you to download it and start learning the shortcuts. There were a few that are not on the chart that are worth knowing:


Ctrl+Shift+F12: Go to next build error
Ctrl+Shift+F9: Clear all breakpoints


These are my must-know shortcuts. Start with these and learn more whenever you find you must reach for your mouse too often.


Ctrl+Shift+V: Cycle clipboard ring (keep Ctrl+Shift pressed and press V repeatedly)
Ctrl+Space: Autocomplete
Ctrl+Tab: Cycle through open files (keep Ctrl pressed and press Tab repeatedly)
Ctrl+Shift+Space: ParameterInfo while inside a method. No need to remove that parenthesis “(“ or type a comma. Very useful for files that are not checked out or during debugging.
Ctrl+.: Show smart tag
Ctrl+K,D: Pretty format your code (remember the setting of Keep Tabs in the Text Editor)
Ctrl+K,C: Comment out your selection
Ctrl+K,U: Uncomment your selection
Ctrl+Shift+F: Find in files
F1, F5, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, F12: Find all of these in the chart .

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