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VA Outline

VA Outline is a tool window that gives an active high-level view of the contents of the current source window. As you add, modify or remove methods, classes or other file-scope declarations in the editor, the outline reflects those changes. Conversely, changes made within VA Outline are instantly reflected in the editor.

Working with VA Outline

Interacting with VA Outline is intuitive. Double-click to jump to the associated code in the editor. Drag and drop to rearrange code. Right-click to view a context menu with refactoring and other operations:

  • Goto - Jumps to the specified place in the text editor
  • Select in Editor - Selects the desired item in the text editor
  • Refactor - Add Member, Rename, Change Signature, or Find References of the selected item
  • Surround With comments, regions, or #ifdef...#endif
  • Reformat the selected block of code using Visual Studio's Format Selection command
  • Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete - Manipulate sections of code in VA Outline; see the results in the text editor
  • Display Comments - Display outline nodes for comments or hide them to reduce visual complexity
  • Auto Update - Sometimes you may not want to see VA Outline update as you type in the source window. With Auto Update turned off, VA Outline only updates when it has focus.
  • Auto Expand Nodes - Use this option to expand nodes in VA Outline automatically as you move through the text editor. Nodes are not automatically collapsed.

Hover over an item to see its content. This is the block of code that will be acted upon when you drag and drop, cut, copy, or delete.

When comment nodes are hidden, moving or deleting a method moves or deletes the preceding comment automatically. If you do not want VA Outline to act upon comments with their methods automatically, select Display Comments in the context menu.

Select multiple items in VA Outline using Shift+Click for a range of adjacent items or Ctrl+Click for individual, nonadjacent items. Operations that are not valid for multiple selections (such as Refactoring) are unavailable in the context menu when more than one item is selected.

Showing and dismissing VA Outline

To show VA Outline, select Tools - VA Outline from the VAssist menu. To dismiss VA Outline, right-click the tab and choose Hide.

In Visual C++ 6.0, control the presence of VA Outline by checking or unchecking Enable VA View in the Text Editor|C/C++ 6.0 node of the Visual Assist options dialog.


Use drag and drop in VA Outline after Extract Method or Move Implementation to Source File to move the resulting code to a new position if desired.

Surround With Comment uses comment syntax appropriate to the language of the current file (// for C/C++/C#/JavaScript, ' for VB/VBScript, <!-- --> for HTML.)