Tips and Tricks

The Ideal Visual Studio Companions

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If you’re using Visual Assist, then you realize that some areas in Visual Studio need extra functionality and support. Extensions provide users quick solutions to make their IDEs perform better in a specific area like adding markdown support, getting better code analysis, and more.

This is a very effective method to streamline your workflow and increase your productivity. But if you find yourself jumping into the marketplace often, you may need something more than an extension.

In this blog, we talk about managing the number of tools for your work and how a text editor with integrated solutions can save you time and money.

Picking your tools and extensions

When extensions aren’t enough for a specific task, developers usually divert to using auxiliary tools to support their IDEs. The demand for software has ballooned, especially with the prevalence of remote work setups. Some of these tools include stand-alone text editors,  file readers, Git clients, file-comparison tools, and more—it largely depends on what deliverables are needed.

The problem is that having specialized tools for every use case can actually reduce productivity. With the number of “good” extensions available, we spend more time than necessary on finding the “perfect” extension. 

This is known as the paradox of choice. Having too many options distracts us. The surplus of choices can make us focus on optimizing our workstations because of the possibility that we can be way faster. In reality, having a handful of tools or extensions would be faster in the overall scheme of things.

VS top extensions 2022

Top rated extensions for Visual Studio 2019.

So how should programmers and IT professionals deal with unnecessary tool creeping? Here’s a couple of ways to ensure you’re making the most out of the auxiliary tools you use:

  • Identify the core of your work.
    What’s the main task? Your auxiliary tools and extensions should help you finish it faster or easier.
  • Find the gaps in your work process.
    Try to optimize your current tools and programs. Use them until you find yourself facing the same problems repeatedly; that’s when you find more specialized tools.
  • Minimize the number of tools you have.
    Weigh your options wisely. Ask yourself if that one-off task merits the time and effort it takes to find, try, and learn a new tool.
  • Opt for the best option available now.

When you find a couple of tools that do similar things, choose the one that’s best for what you’re doing, not what you might eventually be doing.

UltraEdit: An catch-all solution for programmers and IT professionals

UltraEdit Banner

UltraEdit is one of the few tools that masterfully merges many basic processes into one streamlined workflow. It is a text editor designed for multiple purposes so you don’t have to search for a new tool or extension. UE is not designed to replace an IDE’s extensive capabilities but it integrates many basic IT functions, and it does it well. That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as the “Swiss Army knife” of text editors.

As a text editor, it is a powerful, flexible, and highly configurable tool with an extensive array of data-editing features designed to meet every user’s needs. It allows users to jump from task to task elegantly, regardless of the programming language, input files, or size of the project.

UltraEdit Features

  • Fast startup and file load
  • Supports dozens of programming languages and file types
  • Large file-handling (4 GB+)
  • Dynamic code auto-completion
  • Native FTP/SFTP browser, SSH/telnet console
  • Special XML and JSON support (parse and reformat)
  • OS integration (command line, shell extension)
  • Replace and find in files/replace in files
  • File and selection sorting
  • Integrated file compare and diff operations
  • Column/block mode editing
  • And more

A backup text editor for Visual Studio

Most developers use VS as their main workhorse for development work. That’s what an IDE, or integrated development environment, is for.  It’s meant to be an entire coding environment.  VS includes everything a developer needs: an editor, a compiler, a debugger, and the option to expand functionality via plugins.

Realistically, however, developers and IT professionals have other projects that should not be done in an already resource-intensive IDE. 

UltraEdit large files

WATCH: UltraEdit can instantly open this XML dump file that’s 34GB.

UltraEdit has the basic features of Visual Studio, but it’s also lightweight and supports more kinds of processes.  You can be writing C++ code one second and working on HTML or JavaScript the next. It gives developers the all-in-one tool they need to edit almost any type (or size) of file—all packaged in one highly optimized editor. 


While nominally a text editor, UE also comes equipped with the option of the All-Access Bundle. UE has a suite of stand-alone development tools so you don’t have to worry about looking for one. These products integrate with one another giving you a simplified process.

 The All-Access Bundle includes the following:

  • UEStudio
    A variant of UltraEdit with better features for teams and developers, such as intelligent code completion, project management, and Git integration
  • UltraCompare
    A powerful file-compare application that can search and process duplicates in text files and folders 
  • UltraFinder
    A quick and lightweight Windows search program designed to find text in files anywhere—more powerful than basic 
  • UltraFTP
    A personal, stand-alone FTP client built upon the framework of other UltraProducts
UltraCompare Diff Tool for C/C++ developers

UltraCompare visually compares/merges 2 or 3 files from multiple locations at once. Compares from UC can be viewed and edited in UltraEdit.

UltraEdit includes UltraCompare Pro. Every UE license comes with a license for UltraCompare Professional—a similarly powerful diff tool. UC Pro offers users the following:

  • Two-way and three-way file and folder comparisons
  • Integrated sync with UltraEdit
  • Local/remote compare and sync
  • Visually inspect file differences
  • Quick and easy merge operations
  • Hex, table/Excel compare
  • Git integration

Extensions are Visual Assist can make your coding life so much easier, but if you find yourself constantly optimizing the IDE with plugins, you may consider having a reliable backup external editor. Choosing from the library of tools can seem confusing at times, so if you’re tired of constantly looking for tools, it is highly advised to get a versatile and powerful tool like UltraEdit.

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