Developer Swag: Free Visual Studio Add-ins

Brent Sheets

Some Visual Studio add-ins are quite expensive. But every once in a while, a free add-in comes along that hits the spot. So I've gathered a sampling of the best open-source and no-cost add-ins that are worthy of a place on your tool belt. Once you use them, you may be surprised how quickly you'll come to rely on these tools.

If you missed my 10 free developer downloads article last month, be sure to visit for more developer downloads.


DOWNLOAD   Reflector for .NET  (Lutz Roeder)
  "Reflector is the class browser, explorer, analyzer and documentation viewer for .NET. Reflector allows to easily view, navigate, search, decompile and analyze .NET assemblies in C#, Visual Basic and IL."
DOWNLOAD   GhostDoc  (Roland Weigelt)
  "GhostDoc is a free add-in for Visual Studio that automatically generates XML documentation comments for C#. Either by using existing documentation inherited from base classes or implemented interfaces, or by deducing comments from name and type of e.g. methods, properties or parameters."
DOWNLOAD   DPack  (USysWare, Inc.)
  "DPack is designed to greatly increase developer's productivity, automate repetitive processes and expand upon some of the Microsoft Visual Studio features. DPack includes various browser tools that allow the developer to quickly narrow the search down to a particular class, method or assembly type. DPack includes greatly enhanced numbered bookmarks feature, various code navigation tools as well as streamlined surround with feature, and much more."
DOWNLOAD   CodeKeep  (Dave Donaldson)
  "With the CodeKeep add-in, you can manage your code snippets and search for other code snippets without ever having to leave Visual Studio."
DOWNLOAD   AnkhSVN  (Arild Fines)
  "AnkhSVN is an open-source Visual Studio .NET addin for the Subversion version control system. It allows you to perform the most common version control operations directly from inside the VS.NET IDE. Not all the functionality provided by SVN is (yet) supported, but the majority of operations that support the daily workflow are implemented."
DOWNLOAD   VSCmdShell  (James Avery)
  "The VSCmdShell powertoy combines the command window and the command prompt and makes them available in a single window. Just about anything you can do in the command prompt you can now do right inside of the IDE. You can also execute Visual Studio commands in the same window by simply prefacing that command with an exclamation point, you will even get IntelliSense for the command list. "
DOWNLOAD   Regionerate  (Omer Rauchwerger)
  "Regionerate is an open-source tool for developers and team leaders that allows you to automatically apply layout rules on C# code. Regionerate runs on Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio Codename Orcas Beta 1, #develop 2.0, NAnt and on command line."
DOWNLOAD   Consolas Font Pack for VS 2005  (Microsoft)
  "The Microsoft Consolas Font Family is a set of highly legible fonts designed for ClearType. It is intended for use in programming environments and other circumstances where a monospaced font is specified. This installation package will set the default font for Visual Studio to Consolas."


Brent Sheets is a former Senior Editor at TechTarget and a frequent contributor to He founded and managed the popular Visual Basic Web Directory website until it was acquired by TechTarget in 2000 and relaunched as Brent offers tips and tweaks about Apple technology at

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