There are some extensions you just can't live without. You forget they are an add-on and not part of Visual Studio as standard. Here's a list of the ones I can't live without, in no particular order.
Let's get this one out of the way first. I've been using ReSharper for so long now I don't even know what life would be like without it. Described as the most intelligent extension for Visual Studio, ReSharper gives you code analysis, project navigation and search, refactoring, code formatting and so much more. This tool increases productivity no end, I couldn't imagine trying to navigate a large project without it. It has fantastic unit testing integration too. In short if I was only able to install one extension, this would be it.
Editor Guidelines kinda does what it says, adds vertical guides to your code. I find this really useful for keeping my code tidy and concise. But what I find it invaluable for is ensuring that when my code is viewed on GitHub it does not cause horizontal scrollbars. I find nothing worse than having to horizontally scroll code files to read them. By adding a guideline at 100 characters, my code is tidy and GitHub friendly.
GhostDoc is probably one of the first extensions I used and I still love it. GhostDoc automatically generates XML documentation comments for methods, parameters etc. It's a great productivity tool saving you time and simplifying code documentation. You do have to read the comments to make sure they make sense but most of the time they are spot on.
Spelling mistakes really annoy me. And if it happens to be text that is presented to the user, it's really going to annoy them too. Spell Checker is the handy little extension you can't live without. Make a spelling mistake in a string or comment and the incorrectly spelt word will have a red squiggle underneath. You are presented with a list of alternative spellings and the option to ignore the word or add it your dictionary.
Trailing Whitespace Visualizer
Whitespace gets everywhere and often it's not until you do a merge or compare that you spot the little mites dotted around your code. Enter Mads Kristensen and this neat extension that will highlight any trailing whitespace in your file.
If you TDD then you need NCrunch in your life. TDD's great but having to run and re-run your tests is tiresome and slow. NCrunch speeds up your productivity by running your tests so that you don't have to. It will indicate when tests are passing and failing and even where the code fails. It has other useful features such as code coverage and other metrics. NCrunch can be quite resource hungry but as long as your machine is a reasonable spec you will be fine. Speed up your testing and download today!
Task Runner Explorer (Visual Studio 2013)
This extension is so good that it now comes integrated into Visual Studio 2015. Task runner explorer lets you run any Grunt/Gulp tasks in Visual Studio. This is especially useful if you are using a preprocessor such as Sass or Less for writing CSS. I blogged last year about how to get started with Grunt, Sass and Task Runner Explorer. A whole host of popular tools can now be used in Visual Studio without the need for porting or waiting for a NuGet package to be created.
These are the Visual Studio extensions that I can't live without. They improve my productivity, my code quality and expand my coding environment. What extensions are your must haves? Are there any that are not on this list? I would love to hear what you use and how it helps you. Share your views and send me a tweet!