Selecting the Automation Methodology

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External Tools

Third-party tool developers have added numerous tools over the years to allow you to launch external tools or programs from the operating system and from programs that you use often. Visual Studio .NET provides this functionality through the External Tools dialog box, which you can access from the Tools menu. Using the External Tools dialog box, you can add programs or tools to the Tools menu.

You can add items to the Tools menu that allow you to launch external tools from within Visual Studio. Figure 10-1 shows the External Tools dialog box. The tools that are already available for launching are shown in the dialog box's list box.

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Figure 10-1: External Tools dialog box

To add an external tool to the Tools menu, follow these steps:

  1. On the Tools menu, click the External Tools option.

  2. In the External Tools dialog box, click the Add button and enter a name in the Title box. This name will be displayed on the Tools menu to access your new external tool.

  3. In the Command box, enter the path to the file that you want to launch. You can also browse to locate the file or program (click the button with the ellipses to the right of the Command box to browse). You can launch such file types as .exe, .bat, .com, .cmd, and .pif.

  4. Click OK to close the dialog box and add the new tool to the Tools menu.


The Output window option is only available for use with .com and .bat file types.

Once the new tool has been added to the Tools menu, you can launch it by clicking the Tools menu and then selecting the menu item for the new tool. Figure 10-2 shows the tool that I added (NotePad).

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Figure 10-2: Launching an external tool

The menu items beginning with Create GUID and ending with NotePad are all external tools that can be launched by clicking the respective menu. They can all be edited or deleted from the External Tools dialog box.

In addition to the options that I described, you can also set up the following options for external tools:

  • Pass variables to external tools upon launch.

  • Add accelerator keys.

  • Set up predefined arguments.

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Writing Add-Ins for Visual Studio  .NET
Writing Add-Ins for Visual Studio .NET
ISBN: 1590590260
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 172
Authors: Les Smith © 2008-2017.
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