Having guidelines in your code editor makes it a bit easier to maintain your code in a tidy manner. For Visual Studio 2010, I use these free extensions:

  • Indent Guides by Steve Dower – displays indent guides in Visual Studio text editor windows.
  • Editor Guidelines by Paul Harrington – adds vertical guidelines behind the text at user-specified column positions.
  • Editor Guidelines UI by Paul Harrington – adds submenu with three commands to the code editor’s context menu (right click) for managing editor guidelines – no need to edit the registry for guidelines configuration anymore.

For Visual Studio 2008 and older, you have to use regedit. Navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor

and add a string named Guides with value RGB(0,255,0),80 to create a guideline after column 80. To get more guidelines e.g., after column 80 and 130, set the value to RGB(0,255,0),80,130.

Note: Editor Guidelines extension for VS2010 uses a registry entry similar to the one described above, however its syntax is less strict. I found out on VS2008, that “Guides” string value cannot contain any spaces.

Registry paths for various Visual Studio versions:

2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\Text Editor
2005: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\Text Editor
2008: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\9.0\Text Editor
2008 Express: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VCExpress\9.0\Text Editor