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Enhanced Syntax Coloring

Make your code easy to read and debug by viewing it in a more meaningful set of colors.

Beyond coloring provided by the IDE, specify colors in Visual Assist for classes, variables, preprocessor macros and methods.

Visual Studio

Use Visual Studio's options dialog to set background color for identifiers and other Visual Assist elements:

Apply enhanced syntax coloring, as well as IDE coloring, to additional components of the IDE.

Enhanced Syntax Coloring applied to listboxes

Note that the background colors will not be used in non-editor Windows.

Color Palette

Choose colors in the options dialog of Visual Assist using a variety of methods.

Right click over a white box to set custom colors:

Click on a color you like in the big box and use the slider to adjust the brightness, or specify decimal values for RGB:

 Press OK to accept. Your selection appears in the palette:

Color of Additional Elements

Specify color of additional elements via the Tools | Options | Environment | Fonts and Colors property page of the IDE:

Display item in IDE Description of element Default for light backgrounds
VA Brace Error Mismatched braces and parentheses { }
VA Brace Matching Matching braces and parentheses { }
VA Current Line Line containing the text caret off
VA Find Reference Read-only references to a symbol sample
VA Find Reference (Modified) References to a symbol where its value may be changed sample
VA Find Result Results of the most recent IDE find operation sample
VA Spelling Error Underline color of misspelled words
VA Syntax Error Underline color of unknown symbols

Reset to Default

In Visual Studio 2010 and newer, reset enhanced syntax colors of Visual Assist to their default values by resetting the default colors in the IDE options dialog. In older IDEs, reset enhanced syntax colors in the options dialog of Visual Assist.

Dark Backgrounds

Visual Assist provides two sets of default colors: one for light backgrounds, and one for dark backgrounds. The default set for Visual Assist is determined during installation by the active IDE color scheme.

Select colors with reasonable contrast to your background. If there is little contrast between the background and a color, Visual Assist defers to black or white. 

If you darken only the background color of text using Tools | Options | Environment | Fonts and Colors in the IDE, apply enhanced syntax coloring only to source windows. There typically is not enough contrast in a set of colors so they stand out in both dark and light backgrounds.

If you darken the background color of text, you must also darken the background color and lighten the foreground color of Identifier. Your settings for Identifier should be the same as those for Text.

If you darken the background color of all windows and drop-downs using Display Properties | Appearance | Color Scheme in settings for your Windows OS, you can apply enhanced syntax colors to all objects.

Color in Clipboard

Copy and paste code with Enhanced Syntax Colors into RTF-enabled applications such as WordPad and Outlook. Learn more about RTF in the clipboard.

Color by Usage

Color is determined primarily by how a symbol is used, including what characters precede and follow the symbol. Symbol definitions are not always factors in determining color.

Coloring is efficient, particularly during scrolling, but unusual sequences of symbols and characters, and commonly used symbol names of differing types, might cause a symbol to be drawn in the wrong color. For example, if MyVar is a method in one place and int in another, MyVar is colored like a method regardless of the instance to which it refers.

In C/C++, Visual Assist assumes preprocessor macros have global context and are colored as such, even if a particular source file does not include the header that defines the macro.