Visual C++: Keyboard Shortcuts

Every programmer has his favorite keyboard shortcuts. Here are mine for Visual C++, from most used to least used, with some comments:

  • Jump to definition: F12
  • Jump to declaration: Ctrl + F12
  • Jump back (from any earlier jump): Ctrl + –
    • The above 3 keyboard shortcuts are my key tools to peek into and understand any C++ code.
  • Compile currently open .cpp file: Ctrl + F7
    • Every C++ programmer knows how frustratingly slow C++ compilers are! It is faster to first compile the currently modified file and proceed with a full solution build only if this succeeds. I typically keep compiling the current file while incrementally modifying a file and do a full build only much later when that part is completely coded.
  • Build solution: F7
  • Execute with debugging support: F5
  • Execute without debugging support: Ctrl + F5
  • Add or remove breakpoint on current line: F9
  • Find in entire solution and list in Find Results window: Ctrl + Shift + F
    • The normal find (Ctrl + F and F3) only jumps to one result and the user can jump around from there. I find the listing of all occurrences in a separate window much more useful. I can see all the files where it is used and also see one line of usage in them. This is very useful to understand and refactor code.
  • Full Screen: Alt + Shift + Enter
    • Visual Studio non-editor windows take too much space and combined with the Windows taskbar, they are all huge distractions while coding and debugging. So, I always work in full screen mode and switch back to normal size only to fix compile errors. But, the above default keyboard shortcut is hard to enter without causing side-effects, since it has Enter in it. So, I map this action to Ctrl + M, Ctrl + M instead. That is, keeping Ctrl pressed and press M twice. This is the keyboard shortcut for full screen in Eclipse. I find it easier to type and remember: M → Maximize 🙂
  • Delete line: Shift + Del
    • Useful while deleting many lines of code, which happens almost all the time.
  • Add or remove bookmark: Ctrl + K, Ctrl + K
    • Easy to remember: bookmark ends with a K 🙂 I find it very useful to leave a breadcrumb trail of bookmarks on lines where I need to modify or check code.
  • Jump to next bookmark: Crtl + K, Ctrl  + N
    • To follow the breadcrumb trail of bookmarks.

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