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Filed under: Programming | Tools | Visual Studio

Most of our Visual Studio solutions contain hundreds of files (classes) organized neatly into dozens of folders (namespaces), but despite all of this organization the vertical content size of the Solution Explorer can get quite large. Finding a particular file when the majority of the tree is expanded is tedious and time-consuming, considering it should be a simple effort of less than five seconds. Fortunately, all of this is solved by the click of a button (assigned to handy macro).

The most useful macro for Visual Studio that I have ever encountered (and in the running for most useful VS tool, period) is the CollapseAll macro authored by one current and one former colleague, Dennis Burton and Mike Shields. In a quick XP effort, Dennis and Mike created a handy macro that recursively collapses the entire Solution Explorer tree down to just the solution and its projects.

With the tree collapsed, it is easy to find that desired file.

The macro is functional in all versions of Visual Studio for the Microsoft.Net framework, including Visual Studio 2003, Visual Studio 2005, and Visual Studio 2008.

CollapseAll Macro for Microsoft Visual Studio
Dennis Burton & Mike Shields | Published with Permission

Imports System
Imports EnvDTE
Imports System.Diagnostics

Public Module CollapseAll
    Sub CollapseAll()
        ' Get the the Solution Explorer tree
        Dim UIHSolutionExplorer As UIHierarchy
        UIHSolutionExplorer = DTE.Windows.Item(Constants.vsext_wk_SProjectWindow).Object()
        ' Check if there is any open solution
        If (UIHSolutionExplorer.UIHierarchyItems.Count = 0) Then
            ' MsgBox("Nothing to collapse. You must have an open solution.")
        End If
        ' Get the top node (the name of the solution)
        Dim UIHSolutionRootNode As UIHierarchyItem
        UIHSolutionRootNode = UIHSolutionExplorer.UIHierarchyItems.Item(1)
        UIHSolutionExplorer = Nothing
        UIHSolutionRootNode.DTE.SuppressUI = True
        ' Collapse each project node
        Dim UIHItem As UIHierarchyItem
        For Each UIHItem In UIHSolutionRootNode.UIHierarchyItems
            'UIHItem.UIHierarchyItems.Expanded = False
            If UIHItem.UIHierarchyItems.Expanded Then
            End If
        ' Select the solution node, or else when you click
        ' on the solution window
        ' scrollbar, it will synchronize the open document
        ' with the tree and pop
        ' out the corresponding node which is probably not what you want.
        UIHSolutionRootNode.DTE.SuppressUI = False
        UIHSolutionRootNode = Nothing
    End Sub

    Private Sub Collapse(ByVal item As UIHierarchyItem)
        For Each eitem As UIHierarchyItem In item.UIHierarchyItems
            If eitem.UIHierarchyItems.Expanded AndAlso eitem.UIHierarchyItems.Count > 0 Then
            End If
        item.UIHierarchyItems.Expanded = False
    End Sub
End Module

Based on code from Edwin Evans

Here, the macro is so popular that it is a part of our default developer’s build for every new machine, and is conveniently assigned to a toolbar button. The default button icon list contains an Up Arrow (in the Change Button Image menu when customizing the toolbar) that seems quite appropriate. That little button has saved us all from a lot of pain, five seconds at a time.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:19:55 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [2] - Trackback

Monday, September 18, 2006 5:53:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)

Are you familiar with similar script that does the same on visual studio 2005?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 4:02:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Thanks for the cool macro!

Omer, I tried it and it works just fine in 2005.

Denis S.
Denis Stankovski
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