Adding external tools to Visual Studio 2008

Often times Visual Studio will try and help you by launching some tool or function when you build a project. But sometimes you might want to use these tools outside of the prescribed work flow or maybe you just want quick access to your “utility belt”.

  1. From the menu bar select “Tools” followed by “External Tools”

    Select "Tools" then "External Tools"

  2. From the “External Tools” menu, click on “Add” to make a new entry.Click on "Add"
  3. Enter the appropriate information for the new “External Tool”Enter external tool details

Here are the settings for two external tools that I have added.

The first is for Windows Communication Foundation Test Client that allows you to test the host services that you create in Visual Studio. Be sure to select “Prompt for arguments” so you can enter the location of the service that you are testing.

Windows Communication Foundation tool details
Command = C:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual Studio 9.0Common7IDEWcfTestClient.Exe

Next are the settings for the Visual Studio 2008 command prompt. This came in handy to enter some configuration commands for Visual Studio – more on that in another post.

Visual Studio command prompt tools details
Command = cmd.exe

Arguments = %comspec% /k “”H:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual Studio 9.0VCvcvarsall.bat”” x86

Initial directory = $(ProjectDir)

What external tools have you added?

4 thoughts on “Adding external tools to Visual Studio 2008”

  1. That’s all fine and dandy. But how does one get the tools menus to display more than 3 external tools at a time? I have a ton of screen real estate and I would like to display more than 3 exteranal tools on the menus without having to constantly juggle the order of the tools.

  2. OK correction to my previous comment. I just discovered somehow the external tools on lines # 4 and 5 do not display on the menu. (A VS bug?) Adding dummy entries there and pushing down the original entries ensured that everything shows on the Tools menu now.

  3. Thanks for the comment.

    I actually would like more efficient use of real estate as well especially since I increased the default font size on my laptop.

    A nice feature would be if you could organize the list like “move up”, “move down”

  4. > A nice feature would be if you could organize the list like “move up”, “move down”

    They got that, right under Add & Delete.

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