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Open File in Solution

Visual Assist provides two new ways to access files in your solution. One is with a dropdown in the VA View; the other is via a more comprehensive dialog. Keyboard access and filtering make these controls more efficient than built-in features of the IDE: Solution Explorer and FileView.

Use the dropdown in the VA View to access the file list.

Type a few characters to filter the list. Select an entry to open a file.

When filtering, files whose names contain the filter remain in the list, whereas others are removed. The first file whose name begins with a filter (if any) is selected by default. Otherwise, the first file whose name contains the filter is selected.

Open a more comprehensive dialog with a toolbar button or shortcut key to see the same list of files.

Hover over a truncated filename to see a full path. Double click a file to open it.

Controlling the Dropdown

Type or paste into the dropdown field to find files whose names contain the content of your clipboard. Hover over entries in the dropdown to see their full path names.

Controlling the Dialog

Type a few letters in the edit field of the dialog to filter a list. A file whose name begins with the filter string is selected by default, and centered in the list among other files whose names contain the substring. If no file begins with the filter string, the first file containing the substring is selected. The list remains sorted alphabetically and the selection remains centered, allowing you to easily find a file. 

Type unique filter strings to locate files quickly. Type multiple strings to find files whose names contains all of the strings.

Precede filter strings with a hyphen to exclude files from the list (negative filtering).

Filtering on Path

By default, the Open File in Solution dialog filters by filename only. To include the full path in the filter, use a backslash in a filter string. This is useful for finding a commonly named file in a particular include directory. (Filtering on path is not available in the VA View dropdown.)

Scrolling in the Dialog

Standard scrolling techniques are available in the Open File in Solution dialog, including the Up, Down, PgUp, and PgDn keys. The Home and End keys scroll the list of files when focus is in the list, but when focus is in the filter edit control, Home and End scroll the list only if no filter is present. Once you start typing a filter, the Home and End keys move the text caret in the filter edit control. (Up, Down, PgUp, and PgDn scroll irrespective of focus.)


Files opened using the Files in Solution dropdown appear automatically in the Most Recently Used (MRU) list. Files opened using the dialog appear only if the "Include opened files" option is enabled in the MRU.

Shift+Click and Ctrl+Click in the dialog to select multiple items.

Click a column header to sort by the column. Click again to reverse the sort order.

Uncheck "Show only files in the current solution" to include other open files and windows in the list.

Visual Assist attempts to open the files you select with the appropriate applications. Resource scripts (*.rc) are opened in the text editor. Unsupported file types, such as library files, are not opened.

Using directory-based parsing, a file need not belong to a solution to appear in Open File in Solution. Control directory-based parsing under VA Options | Projects | File Handling.

Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 users must save workspaces and enable Watch for externally modified headers in the options dialog to keep the list and dropdown updated as files are added to and removed from projects. If not, only files in a workspace when the workspace is opened appear in the list and dropdown.

This feature was previously called Open File in Workspace.