Box Selection and Multi-Line Editing with VS 2010
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by Scott Guthrie
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Box Selection

Box selection is a feature that has been in Visual Studio for a while (although not many people knew about it).  It allows you to select a rectangular region of text within the code editor by holding down the Alt key while selecting the text region with the mouse.  With VS 2008 you could then copy or delete the selected text.

VS 2010 now enables several more capabilities with box selection including:

Text Insertion: Typing with box selection now allows you to insert new text into every selected line

Paste/Replace: You can now paste the contents of one box selection into another and have the content flow correctly

Zero-Length Boxes: You can now make a vertical selection zero characters wide to create a multi-line insert point for new or copied text

These capabilities can be very useful in a variety of scenarios.  Some example scenarios: change access modifiers (private->public), adding comments to multiple lines, setting fields, or grouping multiple statements together.


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