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13 Free Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions That Will Make Your MAUI app Design More Productive

13 Free Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions That Will Make Your MAUI app Design More Productive


Some free Visual Studio extensions can be highly valuable if you want to unleash your productivity and accelerate your MAUI app development. Microsoft Visual Studio contains a wealth of tools and features that facilitate the development of .NET applications. In many cases, it's easy to overlook some helpful features or become complacent with what you are used to. However, there are a lot of Microsoft Visual Studio extensions that can make your day-to-day life easier and can help ramp up your productivity tenfold.

What are Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions?

Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions are a collection of tools, utilities, and services that can be used to extend the capabilities of Visual Studio. The extensions are provided by Microsoft and members of the Visual Studio community. You can use extensions to help you write better code faster, increase code quality, or design software more efficiently.
Microsoft Visual Studio is the most popular IDE for developing applications in C#, VB.NET, JavaScript, and other languages. It has a rich set of features that help developers to be more productive. However, there are many extensions that can make Visual Studio even more powerful and productive. Visual Studio is the world's best IDE and is the standard for modern application development. Visual Studio has everything you need to develop high-quality applications, no matter what language you're working in or what platform you're targeting.

The benefits of using Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions are:

  1. Fast Development: The extension will help you to focus on your core application logic without worrying about other things like building, deploying, or debugging your app. This can save time and effort, which would otherwise be spent on all these processes.
  2. Better Productivity: Using these extensions will enable you to achieve higher productivity as they will enable you to do more with less effort by automating all those repetitive tasks such as build, deploy and debug with just a click of a button!
  3. Modularization: Extensions make it much easier to reuse code across multiple projects because it separates business logic from presentation logic and data access layer, which makes it easier to maintain these layers separately if need be, such as changing presentation frameworks or upgrading application databases, etc.

Why use Microsoft Visual Studio Extensions for your MAUI App Development?

Extensions help you do more with less code by providing a set of features that have been pre-built, tested, and documented so that you can focus on writing code. You can also extend your existing applications by adding new capabilities or improving existing ones.

Visual Studio extensions are one of the best ways to boost your productivity in Visual Studio. Extensions can help you write code faster, use your favorite tools, and even discover new features that make your coding life more manageable.

Here is a list of the best free Visual Studio extensions that will help to boost your productivity and make coding easier.

13 free Microsoft Visual Studio extensions that will make your MAUI app design more productive:

1.     Visual Studio IntelliCode

Visual Studio IntelliCode is an extension for Microsoft Visual Studio that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide code suggestions that are customized to your coding style. It's designed to help developers be more productive by reducing the time spent searching through documentation or browsing Stack Overflow.

IntelliCode enables you to write code faster by providing suggestions for your next statements. It also shows you the most relevant documentation in the editor, so you don't have to look things up on the web or flip through pages in the documentation.

Visual Studio IntelliCode provides code suggestions tailored to your preferences and style so your code looks consistent and easy to read. As you type, it suggests actions based on what you're typing and what might be missing in your code. It also automatically adds required imports, adds missing semicolons, fixes indentation, cleans up trailing spaces, and removes unused whitespace.

Features of IntelliCode
  • IntelliCode suggestions -IntelliCode suggests code changes based on the current context, such as variables, parameters, or calls that are frequently used together.
  • Security improvements - IntelliCode detects security vulnerabilities in your code and provides suggestions to fix them. It also highlights security problems in your code, such as missing authorization checks, unsafe SQL queries, and CSRF-related issues.
  • Performance improvements -IntelliCode identifies areas where you can improve performance by leveraging parallelism or avoiding memory allocations.
  • Documentation suggestions - If you have documentation comments in your code, IntelliCode will show you relevant information from the documentation when you hover over a symbol or identifier in your editor window.

2.     VS Color Output

VS Color Output is a free extension and can be downloaded from Visual Studio Gallery, the official extension repository of Microsoft. This tool has been designed to provide an easy way to view how your code will look in different color schemes without having to compile it. It has many features that can help you easily design and modify your code.

VS Color Output is a Microsoft Visual Studio Extension for adding a color output to your code. It shows the variable names, function names, etc., in different colors. When you hover over a variable name or function name, it will show you the value of that variable/function. The extension allows you to see what your code will look like in different color schemes without having to compile it.

The following are some of the main features of VS Color Output:
  • Visualize color palettes in real-time.
  • View color palettes as they change based on user input or other factors.
  • Compare different themes side-by-side.
  • Colorize your code based on syntax rules or personal preferences.

3.     Trailing Whitespace Visualizer

Trailing Whitespace Visualizer Extension is a free and easy-to-use tool for Visual Studio. It helps you to detect the following whitespace errors in your code. It also highlights the trailing whitespace, making it easier to see and fix all instances.

  • The trailing whitespace visualizer highlights all trailing spaces, tabs, and line breaks in the editor window, displaying them as colored rectangles.
  • It also allows you to navigate the code with pre-defined keyboard shortcuts easily. The Trailing Whitespace Visualizer extension has been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible - it doesn't affect your productivity while programming in Visual Studio.
  • Remove trailing whitespace with a single click. You can highlight all occurrences or the first one detected in each file.
  • You can choose whether or not you want to be notified when trailing whitespace is found in your code.

4.     Visual Studio Spell Checker

Visual Studio Spell Checker extension is a tool for checking the spelling and grammar in your code. It is an add-on for Visual Studio that integrates seamlessly with it and supports all major languages, including C#, VB, ASP.NET, and JavaScript. The spell checker extension also provides a very convenient interface for managing the dictionary of words you want to ignore during the checking process. This extension comes with a wordlist that contains words commonly found in source code, such as 'int' or 'string.' If you misspell a word on the list, it will be underlined with a dotted red line.

The main advantage of using this tool is that it doesn't require any additional setup or configuration after installation. It can be used immediately once you download and install it in Visual Studio. This makes it easy to use even by inexperienced developers who want to spend less time learning how to use this tool effectively.

  • Quickly find and correct misspelled words in your source code.
  • Comes with a configurable ruleset with custom word list support.
  • Highlighting of the words under caret with customizable colors and styles.
  • Comes with a code formatting engine. The code formatting engine is based on Roslyn's code analysis API and supports all of the same features as Visual Studio's built-in code formatter, but with some improvements.

5.     SonarLint

SonarLint is a Microsoft Visual Studio extension for static code analysis. The extension uses the SonarQube platform to analyze your code and identify possible issues. It can also be used as a standalone tool to scan single files or entire projects. SonarLint can help you improve your code quality and find bugs in your code.

Features and Uses of SonarLint
  • SonarLint identifies potential problems in code based on rules defined by the user. Some of these rules include the following:
                         i.     Duplicate code
                          ii.    Dead code
                          iii.   Unused private members
                          iv.   Naming conventions
  • Custom rulesets: Create custom rulesets to enforce your code style by writing expressions in LINQ Query Syntax(LINQ). You can also create custom checkers to inspect your own types or third-party assemblies (e.g., "System.IO").
  • SonarLint provides support for both TypeScript and JavaScript.
  • It provides customizable rulesets that can be enabled or disabled at any time.

6.     SQLite and SQL Server Compact Toolbox Extension

SQL Server Compact Toolbox is a Microsoft Visual Studio extension that provides developers with an easy way to develop applications using SQL Server Compact databases(.sdf). It includes tools for working with tables, views, triggers, stored procedures, and indexes in the Object Explorer window in Visual Studio IDE. It also allows you to create new objects using wizards or manually by editing XML-based schema definition documents (XSD). The toolbox enables developers to manage their SQLite databases from within Visual Studio without leaving the development environment.

Features of SQLite and SQL Server Compact Toolbox:
  • It helps you create new tables and edit existing ones.
  • It supports all SQLite features, including triggers, views, indexes, and foreign keys.
  • It allows you to browse the database in a tree view or list view mode.
  • It supports multiple connections at the same time, with each connection representing a different database file(both SQLite and SQL Server Compact). The toolbox uses the native ODBC API to connect to a database server and to query and update data.

7.     Resharper

Resharper is a productivity tool for Microsoft Visual Studio. It provides a wide range of features to make you more productive and efficient. Resharper comes with a variety of features that help you write better code. It can highlight potential bugs and performance issues, quickly find symbols and references, simplify code by extracting parts into new methods and classes, handle smart C# generics, etc.

The main idea behind this tool is to support developers in their daily routine, which means that it will help them to write code faster, write better code and avoid mistakes.

Useful features of this extension:
  • Code Inspection and Quick Fix. This feature allows you to find bugs in your code without running it first or compiling it. You can set up inspections to check everything from unused variables to missing annotations. If any errors are found in your code, they will be displayed right next to the affected line so that you can quickly fixt hem with a single click on the error marker.
  • Code Insight - With Resharper's advanced code insight features, you'll be able to write better code with less effort. Get smart suggestions for completing your code as you type and navigate more effectively through large files with Go To/Peek Definition.
  • Code Navigation: This feature allows you to quickly navigate through your code without wasting time looking for a specific function or method. It also supports searching within a file or across multiple files at once! You can even search for symbols inside comments!

8.     Visual Assist

Visual Assist is a Microsoft Visual Studio extension that helps you to write code faster, with fewer bugs and less effort. Visual Assist provides a broad range of features that can significantly improve your productivity and code quality.

Visual Assist also provides extensive support for C/C++/Objective-C, C#/VB, Python, F# and XML/HTML code editing, and many other languages in which source files maybe opened in Visual Studio (e.g., make files).

  • Provides smart completion for variables, functions, and parameters across modules (including nested classes)
  • Shows parameter information during function calls, including default values if available
  • Spaces and tab - Visual Assist automatically converts spaces to tabs, which improves the readability of code. You can opt-out of this behavior in the Options dialogue.
  • Code completion improvements – It improves code completion results when working on large projects with thousands of symbols.

9.     File Icons

File Icons extension is a tool that allows you to customize the icons used in Visual Studio. These icons are displayed in Solution Explorer. This extension works with any version of Visual Studio.

The extension was created to make it easier for developers to use custom icons in Visual Studio's Solution Explorer, Class View, and Object Browser. File Icons extension allows you to create new icons or modify existing ones.

Its features include:
  • Supports all file types, including images, text files, C# files, etc.
  • You can change the icon for any filetype without changing its extension or content type.
  • Supports custom image formats such as ICO, ICNS, BMP, PNG, JPEG, and GIF.

10.     File Nesting

File Nesting is a Microsoft Visual Studio Extension that allows you to nest files inside folders instead of having them all in the root directory. This is useful for creating hierarchies of files and folders, organizing code or images, or making your project look nice.

This extension can help you organize your project by keeping related files together. When you rename nested files, they will automatically move up or down in the Solution Explorer tree. You can also create custom rules to perform other operations on file names or paths, such as moving a file up or down in the tree based on its contents (e.g., if it contains specific text).

Features of File Nesting:
  • Nesting Files: File Nesting allows you to nest your project files into subdirectories by selecting multiple files from the solution explorer window. The nesting feature can organize your codebase and hide unwanted files or folders from view.
  • Provides Easy accessibility of files: You can access all your nested files by right-clicking on any file in the solution explorer window and selecting the "Open In New Window "option from the context menu. This will open up all nested files in new windows and make navigating between them easier.

11.     GitFlow

GitFlow is a tool that helps you to manage your Git repositories efficiently. It allows you to keep your codebase clean and organized. GitFlow is a Microsoft Visual Studio extension that helps you to work with Git as a team.

GitFlow provides the following features:
  • It helps you Organize your workflow into branches, pull requests, and releases.
  • Automatically create branches for pull requests, code reviews, and merges.
  • Automatically generate release notes for new releases.
  • Provide visual indicators on branches and in the commit log showing if a branch has been merged or not.
  • It also has support for other popular Git hosting providers like Bitbucket and GitHub.

12.     NuGet Package Explorer

NuGet Package Explorer is an extension for Microsoft Visual Studio that provides a graphical user interface (GUI) to explore, browse and search NuGet packages available on the web. NuGet Package Explorer helps you to find and install NuGet packages, view their details, and find related information.

The NuGet Package Explorer provides a visual representation of the contents of your NuGet packages, including assemblies, content files, and other resources. You can view this information in a tree view or as a list. The package explorer also includes some basic searching capabilities.

The following are the features of NuGet Package Explorer:
  • Browse and search for packages in the online gallery.
  • Download and install packages directly into your project.
  • Manage local package versions side-by-side with remote packages.
  • Create new projects from templates, or add a template to an existing project.
  • View and manage NuGet packages and their contents within Visual Studio.
  • Search for specific content within packages, such as assembly names, file names, or other keywords.
  • Browse through files within the package, such as source code files or images.

13     Snippet Designer

Snippet Designer is an extension that lets you create and edit snippets. You can use a snippet to quickly insert a chunk of code into your file. For example, if you are working on some CSS, you can create a CSS snippet that contains all the CSS styles needed for a particular layout or design. Snippets are useful when you repeat similar code across different projects or files.

Snippets are small pieces of code that can be inserted into other code files to perform specific actions such as creating variables, adding comments, or making calculations.

Snippet Designer has several valuable features, such as:
  • The Snippet Designer extension adds new commands to Visual Studio; this command includes;
                         i.     New Snippet command – creates a new snippet.
                          ii.    Open Snippet command – opens an existing snippet.
                          iii.   Save Snippet command – saves an existing snippet.
                          iv.   Edit Snippet command – edits an existing snippet.
  • Organize Snippets - Create folders for organizing your snippets into logical groups, such as "Arrays, "Functions," and so on.
  • Share Snippets - Share your snippets with others by publishing them to the Snippet Designer community website.
  • Edit Snippets - Easily edit existing snippets using the built-in editor or directly editing the raw XML source in Notepad.
  • Search for Snippets - Search for existing snippets using keywords or categories like "Tables" or "Functions.” You can even filter results by language.


Visual Studio extensions add new IDE features, such as tools, functionalities, and templates. These extensions are free and easy to install. They can help you save time when you're working on your projects. So, download Microsoft Visual Studio extensions today and enhance your productivity with more functionalities.

Image credit: Image by pressfoto on Freepik

Atul Koshta

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