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Thomas Ardal
Thomas Ardal

Posted on • Originally published at

List of the Best Free Visual Studio Extensions

Visual Studio is a great development environment. But with a few extensions, it will be even better. There's a lot of free extensions out there, that will improve the experience of writing code and even help you reduce bugs too. We have collected a list of the best free extensions for Visual Studio.


Almost 400 analyzers, refactorings and code fixes for C#, powered by the new Roslyn compiler bundled with Visual Studio 2017. What's not to like? Roslynator is probably the closest you will get to ReSharper for free.

SideWaffle Template Pack

Let's face it. The number of Visual Studio project templates available out of the box are pretty limited. SideWaffle fixes this with a lot of new project and item templates.

Power Commands for Visual Studio

Power Commands adds a good amount of functionality to Visual Studio. The focus of this extension is primarily around navigating the IDE and combining multiple clicks into one. You won't be able to live without all these small improvements once installed.

File Nesting

You know how web.release.config files nest nicely beneath web.config? The File Nesting extension adds this behavior for all types of files. The perfect way to clean up the solution explorer.

Ever wanted to browse your logs, without having to leave Visual Studio? Well now you can, using our very own Visual Studio extension.

Visual Studio Spell Checker

Spell checking your website is important to pretty much every website developer. Why not let Visual Studio do it while you type, using this free spell checker.

File Icons

Showing correct file icons in the solution explorer doesn't sound that important. You will quickly realize, after installing this extension, that it means the world when navigating project files.

Image Optimizer

Another great extension from Mads Kristensen is Image Optimizer. I previously used online tools to optimize images. Now I right click an image inside Visual Studio and heavily reduce image size using a single click.

Productivity Power Tools

Much like Power Commands, Productivity Tools adds a lot of small improvements to the IDE. Productivity Tools is really "just" an umbrella for a lot of smaller extensions, that can be installed separately.


Web.config transformations changed the way we configured websites. I remember creating custom configuration tools back in the day. With SlowCheetah you will be able to transform any xml file based on the active configuration.

Web Essentials

Another popular umbrella extension is Web Essentials. We already touched on some of the extensions installed by Web Essentials, but we still believe that this is worth a mention. So many web developer improvements go into Visual Studio, when installing WE.


Code cleanup, restructuring as well as a range of other helpful tools is what you will receive after installing CodeMaid. The nice thing about CodeMaid is, that it works on multiple file types and not only C#.


Devart is the company behind a lot of components and libraries for .NET. While most of their products must be purchased, they have an impressive list of Express versions free of charge. To mention a few, there's Code Compare, T4 (templates) Editor and Review Assistant (for code reviews).


VSColorOutput is another extension that you never thought you'd need, but cannot live without once installed. The Output window in Visual Studio shows a lot of useful information, but the window is pretty useless without color highlighting. Search no more.


You're probably already using some kind of icon font like FontAwesome, Bootstrap Glyphicons or Material icons. With Glyphfriend, selecting the right icon becomes a piece of cake, using an enriched dropdown as shown below:

Do you believe we've missed something? Let us know through the comments below.

Also make sure to visit Ultimate List of .NET Blogs and Great .NET Conferences to Attend.

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