Friday 2 April 2010

Setting up Visual Studio 2010 for presentations

Lately I have been giving a couple of talks and they are mainly code demonstrations. So you really need to make sure you have your Visual Studio set up correctly to handle the different way you write code when you are presenting as compared to normal development.

Some essential things.

  • Increase the size of your font
    • This is possibly the single biggest thing (pardon the pun) that you can do to increase the takeup and attendee satisfaction is to increase the size of your font to a decent size that works well on projector screens. Thanks to Scott Hanselman who suggested in his blog post that you should use Lucida Console 14 to 18pt and bolded. Believe me it works and allows your audience to actually read your code.
    • You can also use the command line devenv /fs 16 to increase all the font sizes in the menus to 16 for example. You can reset it back using devenv /fs 8 . But you don’t need to do this if you aren’t showing off any menu options.
  • Adjust your IDE color
    • I know i know, your IDE color is your own. But I am fan of the plain standard white background with the standard keyword colors. Its just a bit easier. However if you do find a color scheme that works on a large screen to a diverse audience please do let me know
  • Use snippets
    • Snippets are your best friend. Use them. You don’t have to use them for everything but if you are doing a decent amount of code its helps you if you make it a mistake. And remember the keystrokes CTRL+K followed by CTRL+X to bring up the snippets menu.
    • There are a number of snippet designer tools such as Snippet Designer which allows you to to create your snippets in the IDE. Make sure to add descriptions to your snippets so you can see what they do without have to read the name.
    • I also create folders for my demo snippets and in the title I number them so I can find them easily. In the last set of demos, I had them labeled with numbers that corresponded to the section I was demonstrating in.

Now some additional tools for Visual Studio 2010. There is an excellent free tool called Custom Intellisense Presenter which allows to show the intellisense popup in a higher more visible which for your audience is very handy as they can read and hopefully understand while you are coding. Also with the snippets it will display your description which will help you when you are coding.

There are also custom zoom tools which can be found here and also the very handy windows key + (+) key to zoom in if you don’t find anything that works for you.

And finally make sure your code compiles :)

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