Get started with Visual Studio 2017

Customizing Visual Studio


You can configure Visual Studio’s user interface, code formatting preferences, and other settings through the options menu. Click Tools → Options to get started. When you’re done editing your preferences, press OK to apply them.

Here’s where to find some common settings in the Options window.

Option Description Location
Color theme Changes Visual Studio’s overall color theme Environment → General
Fonts and colors Changes the fonts and colors used for text throughout Visual Studio Environment → Fonts and Colors
Code style preferences Changes how Visual Studio automatically formats your code for various languages Text Editor → language → Code Style
Keyboard shortcuts Changes mappings for keyboard commands (See the default shortcuts for common commands) Environment → Keyboard
Default projects location Changes the default location where Visual Studio creates and locates your projects Projects and Solutions → General
Scroll map Enhances the scrollbar to provide a zoomed-out map of the displayed code All Languages → Scroll Bars

Changing the color theme

Installing additional languages and tools

When you installed Visual Studio, you probably had the option to install different workloads. A workload is a bundle of tools within Visual Studio that helps you be productive with certain languages or platforms. For example, the Desktop development with C++ workload includes Visual Studio features that let you run and debug C++ console applications and see suggestions for your C++ code.

You can add or remove workloads after your initial installation of Visual Studio to add support for additional languages and tools. To do so, run the Visual Studio Installer again using the Windows Start menu, then click Modify.

Modifying workloads

For comprehensive descriptions of each workload, visit the Visual Studio 2017 workloads page.


Besides the features that come with Visual Studio out of the box, Visual Studio also contains an ecosystem of extensions that let you add extra functionality to Visual Studio.

You can download and manage extensions by going to Tools → Extensions and Updates. Click the Online tab on the left to view a list of the extensions available on the Visual Studio Marketplace. To install an extension, select the extension, then click Download.

Adding an extension

Visual Studio needs to restart to install extensions, so close all open Visual Studio windows and reopen Visual Studio after installation.

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