Visual Studio – How to Remember 1,000 Shortcut Keys


How many productive Microsoft Visual Studio shortcut keys have you learned but managed to forget? I used to have a shortcut key created using AutoHotkey that would allow me to get to a Word document with a collection of (less often used) shortcuts as a cheat sheet.

I recently decided it might be better to just create an option right in the Visual Studio Menu bar that would allow me to gain access to that same Word document with one click. And you can do this with a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, OneNote, etc. All you have to do is create an external menu item.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start by creating a Word document (or other file) that will contain your notes (your cheat sheet).
  2. Next, from within Visual Studio go to Tools –> External Tools.
  3. Create a new menu and note what position it is on the list of entries. In my example below I called my shortcut ‘Shortcuts’ and it’s in the 4th position. (We’ll need that position number for later).
  4. Fill in the appropriate Command and Arguments. In this case I am using Word (winword.exe). Then click OK.
    microsoft visual studio shortcuts
  5. Now we need to add it to our menu bar. Right click on the space next to the Help menu item and then at the bottom click on Customize.
    microsoft visual studio shortcuts
  6. Click on the Commands tab and then click on Add Command.
    microsoft visual studio shortcuts
  7. Scroll down to Tools on the left plane and then select the External Command and the proper number from step 3.
    microsoft visual studio shortcuts
  8. Once Selected, highlight the External Command and click on the Move Down button until it’s at the end of your menu items. I put mine next to the Help menu, of course you can place it anywhere you’d like.
    microsoft visual studio shortcuts

Now when I click on my ‘Shortcuts’ on my Visual Studio menu, my document will launch for quick access.

microsoft visual studio shortcuts

Now you have a quick way of getting to your own cheat sheet of shortcuts. And of course the more you use a shortcut key the less likely you’ll need to refer to a cheat sheet!

Leave a Reply