A few quick tips for interacting with the file system in Visual Studio

Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2010 1:59 PM by CoreyRoth

I was doing some SharePoint mentoring a while back and I noticed that some developers don’t know about a couple handy items found in various context menus that that I use on a daily basis.  Specifically I’m talking about a few things in the context menu that give you the path to the file or open the folder that the file is in.  These can be useful when you are ghetto deploying files or you simply want to jump to the file system to grab your .wsp file.  Honestly these menu items have been around for a long time, but I hadn’t noticed them until a while back.  If you already know about them, you can stop reading here. :-)

The first menu I want to talk about is the context menu you get by right clicking on the tab of any open file.  This is from Visual Studio 2010, but its there in 2008 as well.  I’m not sure about 2005, but if you are still using Visual Studio 2005, you should be ashamed of yourself.


The two menu items of interest here are Copy Full Path and Open Containing Folder.  As expected, Copy Full Path puts the full path to the file in the clipboard.  This is great when you have a file open in Visual Studio and you need to upload it via browser File Upload control.  You can just paste the path right in and you’re good to go.  I use this when I’m uploading BDC application definitions a lot.  The Open Containing Folder is useful any time you need to copy the file in your project from one place to another.

If you don’t have a file open, you can make use of another item on the context menu from the Solution Explorer.


This opens the folder the file is in with windows explorer.

Directory structures for source code can be huge these days.  Lots of nested folders and it takes time to click through them.   I mention these topics today because I’ve watched developers open a new instance of windows explorer and browse through the folder structure every time.  Anyhow, maybe you already use these menu options.  I thought they were useful and worth a quick mention.


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