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Visual Studio
VS 2003+

Track Active Item in Visual Studio Solution Explorer

Visual Studio's Solution Explorer provides a logical and simple tool for navigating the elements of a solution or project. It can be improved for some configurations of the integrated development environment by enabling tracking of the active item.

Solution Explorer

The Solution Explorer shows a hierarchical list of all of the elements of a solution using a treeview layout. When one of the files is double-clicked, it is opened and the appropriate designer or code editor is displayed. One of the problems with the Solution Explorer is that, under some standard configurations of Visual Studio, it does not react to changes elsewhere in the integrated development environment (IDE).

The experience provided by the Solution Explorer can be improved by enabling tracking of the active item. Without this option enabled, the explorer provides a static list of project items. With tracking enabled, each time you switch between editors and designers, the new active item is displayed and selected in the Solution Explorer. This is particularly useful for navigating large solutions with many projects containing hundreds or thousands of files.

Tracking the Active Item

To enable active item tracking, open the Options dialog box by selecting Options from the Tools menu. In the tree at the left of the dialog box select General from the Projects and Solutions section. The "Track Active Item in Solution Explorer" checkbox can be used to enable or disable the setting.

NB: Visual Studio 2003 users should select Projects and Solutions from the Environment section of the tree to locate the checkbox.

Visual Studio Track Active Item in Solution Explorer

28 February 2010