[visual-studio] Adding a guideline to the editor in Visual Studio

Introduction

I've always been searching for a way to make Visual Studio draw a line after a certain amount of characters.

Below is a guide to enable these so called guidelines for various versions of Visual Studio.

Visual Studio 2013

Install Paul Harrington's Editor Guidelines extension for VS 2013

Visual Studio 2010 and 2012

  1. Install Paul Harrington's Editor Guidelines extension for VS 2010 or VS 2012.
  2. Open the registry at:
    VS 2010: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\Text Editor
    VS 2012: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\Text Editor
    and add a new string called Guides with the value RGB(100,100,100), 80. The first part specifies the color, while the other one (80) is the column the line will be displayed.
  3. Or install the Guidelines UI extension (which is also a part of the Productivity Power Tools), which will add entries to the editor's context menu for adding/removing the entries without needing to edit the registry directly. The current disadvantage of this method is that you can't specify the column directly.

Visual Studio 2008 and Other Versions

If you are using Visual Studio 2008 open the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor and add a new string called Guides with the value RGB(100,100,100), 80. The first part specifies the color, while the other one (80) is the column the line will be displayed. The vertical line will appear, when you restart Visual Studio.

This trick also works for various other version of Visual Studio, as long as you use the correct path:

2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\Text Editor
2005: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\Text Editor
2008: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor
2008 Express: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

This also works in SQL Server 2005 and probably other versions.

This question is related to visual-studio ide registry

The answer is


For VS 2019 just use this powershell script:

Get-ChildItem "$($env:LOCALAPPDATA)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\16.0_*" | 
Foreach-Object {
  $dir = $_;
  $regFile = "$($dir.FullName)\privateregistry.bin";
  Write-Host "Loading $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
  & reg load "HKLM\_TMPVS_" "$regFile"
  New-ItemProperty -Name "Guides" -Path "HKLM:\_TMPVS_\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\$($dir.BaseName)\Text Editor" -Value "RGB(255,0,0), 80" -force | Out-Null;
   
  Sleep -Seconds 5; # might take some time befor the file can be unloaded
  & reg unload "HKLM\_TMPVS_";
  Write-Host "Unloaded $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
}

The registry path for Visual Studio 2008 is the same, but with 9.0 as the version number:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

Visual Studio 2017 / 2019

For anyone looking for an answer for a newer version of Visual Studio, install the Editor Guidelines plugin, then right-click in the editor and select this:

Add guidelines in Visual Studio 2017


If you are a user of the free Visual Studio Express edition the right key is in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

{note the VCExpress instead of VisualStudio) but it works! :)


Without the need to edit any registry keys, the Productivity Power Tools extension (available for all versions of visual studio) provides guideline functionality.

Once installed just right click while in the editor window and choose the add guide line option. Note that the guideline will always be placed on the column where your editing cursor is currently at, regardless of where you right click in the editor window.

enter image description here

To turn off go to options and find Productivity Power Tools and in that section turn off Column Guides. A reboot will be necessary.

enter image description here


I found this Visual Studio 2010 extension: Indent Guides

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/e792686d-542b-474a-8c55-630980e72c30

It works just fine. enter image description here


This works for SQL Server Management Studio also.


For those who use Visual Assist, vertical guidelines can be enabled from Display section in Visual Assist's options:

enter image description here


This works for SQL Server Management Studio also.


The registry path for Visual Studio 2008 is the same, but with 9.0 as the version number:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

With VS 2013 Express this key does not exist. What I see is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\12.0 and there is no mention of Text Editor under that.


This will also work in Visual Studio 2010 (Beta 2), as long as you install Paul Harrington's extension to enable the guidelines from the VSGallery or from the extension manager inside VS2010. Since this is version 10.0, you should use the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\Text Editor

Also, Paul wrote an extension that adds entries to the editor's context menu for adding/removing the entries without needing to edit the registry directly. You can find it here: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/7f2a6727-2993-4c1d-8f58-ae24df14ea91


The registry path for Visual Studio 2008 is the same, but with 9.0 as the version number:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

Without the need to edit any registry keys, the Productivity Power Tools extension (available for all versions of visual studio) provides guideline functionality.

Once installed just right click while in the editor window and choose the add guide line option. Note that the guideline will always be placed on the column where your editing cursor is currently at, regardless of where you right click in the editor window.

enter image description here

To turn off go to options and find Productivity Power Tools and in that section turn off Column Guides. A reboot will be necessary.

enter image description here


There is now an extension for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013:

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/da227a0b-0e31-4a11-8f6b-3a149cf2e459


Without the need to edit any registry keys, the Productivity Power Tools extension (available for all versions of visual studio) provides guideline functionality.

Once installed just right click while in the editor window and choose the add guide line option. Note that the guideline will always be placed on the column where your editing cursor is currently at, regardless of where you right click in the editor window.

enter image description here

To turn off go to options and find Productivity Power Tools and in that section turn off Column Guides. A reboot will be necessary.

enter image description here


The registry path for Visual Studio 2008 is the same, but with 9.0 as the version number:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

If you are a user of the free Visual Studio Express edition the right key is in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

{note the VCExpress instead of VisualStudio) but it works! :)


This works for SQL Server Management Studio also.


Visual Studio 2017 / 2019

For anyone looking for an answer for a newer version of Visual Studio, install the Editor Guidelines plugin, then right-click in the editor and select this:

Add guidelines in Visual Studio 2017


There is now an extension for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013:

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/da227a0b-0e31-4a11-8f6b-3a149cf2e459


For VS 2019 just use this powershell script:

Get-ChildItem "$($env:LOCALAPPDATA)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\16.0_*" | 
Foreach-Object {
  $dir = $_;
  $regFile = "$($dir.FullName)\privateregistry.bin";
  Write-Host "Loading $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
  & reg load "HKLM\_TMPVS_" "$regFile"
  New-ItemProperty -Name "Guides" -Path "HKLM:\_TMPVS_\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\$($dir.BaseName)\Text Editor" -Value "RGB(255,0,0), 80" -force | Out-Null;
   
  Sleep -Seconds 5; # might take some time befor the file can be unloaded
  & reg unload "HKLM\_TMPVS_";
  Write-Host "Unloaded $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
}

If you are a user of the free Visual Studio Express edition the right key is in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

{note the VCExpress instead of VisualStudio) but it works! :)


I found this Visual Studio 2010 extension: Indent Guides

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/e792686d-542b-474a-8c55-630980e72c30

It works just fine. enter image description here


For VS 2019 just use this powershell script:

Get-ChildItem "$($env:LOCALAPPDATA)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\16.0_*" | 
Foreach-Object {
  $dir = $_;
  $regFile = "$($dir.FullName)\privateregistry.bin";
  Write-Host "Loading $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
  & reg load "HKLM\_TMPVS_" "$regFile"
  New-ItemProperty -Name "Guides" -Path "HKLM:\_TMPVS_\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\$($dir.BaseName)\Text Editor" -Value "RGB(255,0,0), 80" -force | Out-Null;
   
  Sleep -Seconds 5; # might take some time befor the file can be unloaded
  & reg unload "HKLM\_TMPVS_";
  Write-Host "Unloaded $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
}

The registry path for Visual Studio 2008 is the same, but with 9.0 as the version number:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

Visual Studio 2017 / 2019

For anyone looking for an answer for a newer version of Visual Studio, install the Editor Guidelines plugin, then right-click in the editor and select this:

Add guidelines in Visual Studio 2017


With VS 2013 Express this key does not exist. What I see is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\12.0 and there is no mention of Text Editor under that.


This works for SQL Server Management Studio also.


This will also work in Visual Studio 2010 (Beta 2), as long as you install Paul Harrington's extension to enable the guidelines from the VSGallery or from the extension manager inside VS2010. Since this is version 10.0, you should use the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\Text Editor

Also, Paul wrote an extension that adds entries to the editor's context menu for adding/removing the entries without needing to edit the registry directly. You can find it here: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/7f2a6727-2993-4c1d-8f58-ae24df14ea91


If you are a user of the free Visual Studio Express edition the right key is in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

{note the VCExpress instead of VisualStudio) but it works! :)


The registry path for Visual Studio 2008 is the same, but with 9.0 as the version number:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

This will also work in Visual Studio 2010 (Beta 2), as long as you install Paul Harrington's extension to enable the guidelines from the VSGallery or from the extension manager inside VS2010. Since this is version 10.0, you should use the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0\Text Editor

Also, Paul wrote an extension that adds entries to the editor's context menu for adding/removing the entries without needing to edit the registry directly. You can find it here: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/7f2a6727-2993-4c1d-8f58-ae24df14ea91


I found this Visual Studio 2010 extension: Indent Guides

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/e792686d-542b-474a-8c55-630980e72c30

It works just fine. enter image description here


For those who use Visual Assist, vertical guidelines can be enabled from Display section in Visual Assist's options:

enter image description here


There is now an extension for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013:

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/da227a0b-0e31-4a11-8f6b-3a149cf2e459


Visual Studio 2017 / 2019

For anyone looking for an answer for a newer version of Visual Studio, install the Editor Guidelines plugin, then right-click in the editor and select this:

Add guidelines in Visual Studio 2017


If you are a user of the free Visual Studio Express edition the right key is in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

{note the VCExpress instead of VisualStudio) but it works! :)


This works for SQL Server Management Studio also.


There is now an extension for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013:

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/da227a0b-0e31-4a11-8f6b-3a149cf2e459


Without the need to edit any registry keys, the Productivity Power Tools extension (available for all versions of visual studio) provides guideline functionality.

Once installed just right click while in the editor window and choose the add guide line option. Note that the guideline will always be placed on the column where your editing cursor is currently at, regardless of where you right click in the editor window.

enter image description here

To turn off go to options and find Productivity Power Tools and in that section turn off Column Guides. A reboot will be necessary.

enter image description here


With VS 2013 Express this key does not exist. What I see is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\12.0 and there is no mention of Text Editor under that.


This works for SQL Server Management Studio also.


I found this Visual Studio 2010 extension: Indent Guides

http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/e792686d-542b-474a-8c55-630980e72c30

It works just fine. enter image description here


If you are a user of the free Visual Studio Express edition the right key is in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor

{note the VCExpress instead of VisualStudio) but it works! :)


For those who use Visual Assist, vertical guidelines can be enabled from Display section in Visual Assist's options:

enter image description here


This works for SQL Server Management Studio also.


For VS 2019 just use this powershell script:

Get-ChildItem "$($env:LOCALAPPDATA)\Microsoft\VisualStudio\16.0_*" | 
Foreach-Object {
  $dir = $_;
  $regFile = "$($dir.FullName)\privateregistry.bin";
  Write-Host "Loading $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
  & reg load "HKLM\_TMPVS_" "$regFile"
  New-ItemProperty -Name "Guides" -Path "HKLM:\_TMPVS_\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\$($dir.BaseName)\Text Editor" -Value "RGB(255,0,0), 80" -force | Out-Null;
   
  Sleep -Seconds 5; # might take some time befor the file can be unloaded
  & reg unload "HKLM\_TMPVS_";
  Write-Host "Unloaded $($dir.BaseName) from ``$regFile``"
}

With VS 2013 Express this key does not exist. What I see is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\12.0 and there is no mention of Text Editor under that.


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