The Studio Windows


The To0lbars

A toolbar is an object made of buttons. These buttons provide the same features you would get from the (main) menu, only faster. Under the main menu, the IDE is equipped with the Standard toolbar. By default, the Standard toolbar is positioned under the main menu but you can position it anywhere else on the IDE. To move a toolbar, position the mouse on the dotted line on its left section. The mouse pointer will change into a cross:


Then click and drag away from that position:

Moving a Toolbar

In the same way, you can position the toolbar anywhere on the screen. You can also attach or "dock" it to one of the four sides of the IDE. When a toolbar is not docked to one side of the IDE, it is said to float. When a toolbar is floating, you can resize it by dragging one of its borders. If a toolbar is floating, to put it back to its previous position, you can double-click its title bar.

By default, when you start Microsoft Visual Studio, it is equipped with one toolbar: Standard. To get more toolbars, on the main menu, you can click View -> Toolbars and click the toolbar of your choice. You can also right-click any available toolbar or the main menu. This displays a list of all the available toolbars. Those that are currently opened have a check mark next to them.

A toolbar is equipped with buttons that could be unfamiliar. Just looking at one is not obvious. To know what a button is used for, you can position the mouse on top of it. A tool tip will come up and display for a few seconds.

In our lessons, each button on any toolbar will be named after its tool tip. This means that, if a tool tip displays "Hungry", its button will be called the Hungry button. If a tool tip displays "Exercises and Assignments", its button will be called the Exercises and Assignments button. If you are asked to click a button, position your mouse on different buttons until one displays the referred to name.

Some buttons present an arrow on their right side. This arrow represents a menu.

Like the menu, the toolbars can be customized. To customize the Standard toolbar by adding buttons to it, you can right-click anything on the main menu or the toolbar and click Customize... On the Customize dialog box, you can click the Commands tab. In the Categories list, you can click a category, such as Debug. In the Commands list, you can click and drag an item, position it somewhere in the Standard toolbar, and release the mouse. Here is an example:

When you have finished, you can click the Close button on the Customize dialog box

The Start Page

The Start Page is the first wide area that appears when Microsoft Visual Studio comes up. The section displays a title as Recent Projects. At any time, to display the Start Page:

  • You can click its tab on the left side just under the Standard toolbar
  • On the main menu, you can click View -> Other Windows -> Start Page
  • On the main menu, you can click Windows -> Start Page

If you have just installed Microsoft Visual Studio or have not previously opened a project, the Recent Projects section would be empty. Once you start creating and using projects, they display in the Recent Projects section by their names. Here is an example:

The Projects section of the Start Page

The middle section allows you to check new articles from Microsoft and partners directly from Visual Studio 2005 through an Internet connection.

Showing and Closing a Window

When you start or open a project, Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 makes some windows available. These are the most regularly used windows. If you think that one of them is not regularly used in your types of assignments, you can remove it from the screen. To hide a window:

  • You can click its Close button Close
  • You can click its title bar and click Hide

All of the windows you can use are listed in the View menu. Therefore, if a window is not displaying, you can click View on the main menu and click a window of your choice.

Auto Hiding a Window

When creating your applications, you will use a set of windows that each accomplishes a specific purpose. Some windows are represented with an icon but hide the rest of the body. To display such a window, you can position the mouse on it. This would expand the window:

Dockable Windows

If you expand a window, it would display a title bar with two buttons. One is called Auto Hide and the other is the classic Close button:

Auto Hide

If you expand a window but find out you don't need it any more, you can just move the mouse away from it. The window would return to its previous state. Based on this functionality, if you are working with a window and move the mouse away from it, it would retract. If you need it again, you would have to reopen it using the same technique. If you are going to work with a certain window for a while, you can keep it open even if you move the mouse away. To do this, you can click the Auto Hide button. If clicked, the Auto Hide button changes from pointing left to pointing down Auto-Hide.

Dockable Windows

By default, Visual Studio 2005 installs some windows to the left and some others to the right of the screen. You can change this arrangement if you want. To do this, expand a window, then click its title bar and start dragging. When you do this, the screen would display 5 buttons: one to each side and one in the middle:

To position a window on one side of the screen, drag it title bar to one of the four buttons on the sides.

You can dock a window only if it is dockable. To make sure that a window is dockable, you can right-click its title bar and click Dockable:


If you don't want the window to be dockable, you can right-click its title bar and click Floating.

Floating Windows

Most of the windows you will use are positioned on one side of the screen. If you want, you can have a window that stays on top of other window but cannot  be "glued" to one side. Such a window is said to float. To float a window, drag its title bar and release it somewhere in the middle of the screen but not on one of the previously mentioned button because, while dragging, if you release the mouse on one of the buttons, and if the window is dockable, it would assume the position of where you released the mouse.

If you don't want a window to be dockable and you only want it to float, right-click its title bar and click Floating.

Tabbing a Window

Instead of accessing a window from one side of the screen or from its sharing an area with another window, you can make it display a tab. To do this, drag its title bar and release the mouse when its gets to the middle button that displays some tabs:


When a window is tabbed, you cannot drag its tab to position it on one side of the screen. If you want to remove it from its tabbing position, first right-click its tab and click either Floating or Dockable.

Coupling Windows

You can make two or more windows share one side of the screen or to share an area. To do this, drag its title bar to the window whose area you want to share, then position the mouse on the middle button and release it.


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