Ditching the mouse in favour of keyboard shortcuts | Visual Studio

Ditching the mouse in favour of keyboard shortcuts | Visual Studio

In an attempt to reduce my dependency on my trusty mouse, I decided it was time to expand my keyboard shortcut knowledge.

I would consider myself to be at an intermediate level when it comes to keyboard usage in Visual Studio. I've learnt to do most basic things over the years. But when it comes to things like navigating around a project, my instinct is to reach for the mouse without a second thought.

Time for change

Going from keyboard to mouse interupts your flow, and for me, my concentration. With a multitude of shortcuts in Visual Studio and Resharper everything should be possible from the keyboard.

Baptism by fire

The only way to do it is to push the mouse away and go for it. You'll soon find out what you can't do from the keyboard.

It's been a few weeks since I actively starting using keyboard shortcuts over the mouse. I'm not going to list all the shortcuts that I use, but the new ones that have helped me keep my hands on the keyboard. I use a mixture of Visual Studio and Resharper shortcuts and have grouped them accordingly.

Visual Studio shortcuts

Switch to Solution Explorer

Ctrl + Alt + L Ctrl + W, S

Gives focus to the Solution Explorer. To get focus back to the code press Esc.

Sync with active document

Ctrl + [, S

Selects the current active document in Solution Explorer.

Open Source Control Explorer

Alt + V, E, S

Opens the Source Control Explorer so you can get latest.

Resharper shortcuts

Rearrange code

Ctrl + Shift + Alt + Up / Down

Writing code and moving it about is something I do a lot. This is my favourite shortcut at the moment. Great for moving auto generated methods.

Go to next/previous member/tag

Alt + Up / Down

This is now the default method that I use to navigate around a class file. Allows you to navigate from method to method, up or down the file. No more mouse scrolling for me.

Summary

One thing this exercise has made me realise is how much I rely on the mouse. Switching to the keyboard was not easy at first. Every day tasks become challenging, but it is worth persevering with. Once you have identified a few common mouse operations and found the equivalent shortcut, using the keyboard feels more natural and easier in fact. When I have to use the mouse now it seems such an effort to move away from the keyboard. As I get more comfortable with the keyboard I hope to expand my repertoire of shortcuts. If you have any gems tweet me! @iambacon