10 Best Visual Studio Extensions For Efficient Coding In 2023

Explore the top Visual Studio Extensions along with features and comparison to find out the best extension for visual studio:

Visual Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) from Microsoft that is used for the development of web and Windows-based applications built for the .NET Framework.

In addition to the features and functionality that are available with the IDE, developers and many companies keep building features and utilities that extend or add new functionality to these IDEs.

Visual Studio Extensions Review

Top Visual Studio Extensions

In this tutorial, we will see the most popular extensions available for Visual Studio and the distinctive features they offer.

extensions available for Visual Studio

Fact Check: For the Visual Studio IDE, along with existing features, there’s a huge list of available paid and free extensions that enhance the experience of working with the IDE. Some of these, like Visual Assist and Resharper, help in enhancing the code quality and ease in refactoring and therefore help to ship the applications faster.
Pro Tip: Since there are a plethora of available extensions, choosing the right one would depend on the use case and the applications that the developers are working on. The paid variants are worth the price if you need that kind of support and are using the application exhaustively.

Most of the significant features in Visual Studio IDE are sufficient for basic to intermediate development with no extra tools. In addition, a lot of free extensions can level up the usage of the IDEs and the code editor by adding useful utilities and functionalities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) How do I add an add-on to Visual Studio?

Answer: Add-ons are available as extensions for both Visual Studio as well as Visual Studio Code. They are hosted on the marketplace from Microsoft.

To install an extension in Visual Studio,

  • Type “extensions” in the Search/Help box.
  • Once the Manage Extensions dialog opens, you can see the currently installed extensions. Search or browse for other available extensions.

available extensions

Q #2) What are the best extensions for Visual Studio?

Answer: Extensions help to enhance the experience of using IDEs like Visual Studio. There are a lot of such extensions available, some of which are paid, but many are freely available.

The most popular extensions for Visual Studio are Visual Assist and Resharper. Both are licensed tools or software but have a lot of rich features that ease development effort and help in building more robust and performant applications.

Out of the free extensions available, the few that are most heavily used include Spell Checker and Code Maid.

Q #3) Are Visual Studio extensions free?

Answer: These extensions are available as both free and paid software. Paid software comes with a licensing fee (varies depending on the selected plan and on the number of licenses).

A lot of free and useful extensions are available as well that are built by the developer community itself. Free extensions include Spell Checker, Prettier, and VSColor Output.

Q #4) Is Visual Studio the same as Visual Studio Code?

Answer: No. Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code are different editors built for and suited to different purposes. Refer to the below table to understand their differences.

Visual Studio CodeVisual Studio
Visual Studio Code is a lightweight source-code editor that’s available across different platforms like Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It comes with default support for JS, TypeScript, and NodeJS languages but has extensions available for supporting other programming languages as well.Visual Studio is a complete IDE offering many features in addition to what the VS Code offers. With this you can develop, debug, test, and deploy your entire application.
Available as a free-to-download tool across different platforms.Has a Community version that’s free to download for noncommercial uses.
The paid versions come in Professional and Enterprise variables with prices starting at $1,199 per year.

Q #5) How do you code extensions in Visual Studio?

Answer: With the help of an active developer community, a lot of extensions are made available to solve a real-world use case and make it available for the rest of the world.

A startup guide provided by Microsoft helps users understand the Visual Studio Extensions better and how to go about building an extension yourself.

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List of Top Visual Studio Extensions

The following are the best extensions for Visual Studio:

  1. SonarLint
  2. Visual Assist
  3. Resharper
  4. Prettier
  5. Visual Studio Spell Checker
  6. Code Maid
  7. VS Color Output
  8. Visual Studio IntelliCode
  9. SQLite and SQL Server Compact Toolbox
  10. SlowCheetah
  11. OzoCode

Comparison of the Best Extensions for Visual Studio

SonarLintFree and Open Source extension that performs on-the-fly analysis to detect common mistakes, tricky bugs, and security issues.
Its large ruleset (4,800+) spans all attributes of code - reliability, maintainability, readability, security, quality and more.
Free extension
Visual AssistEnterprise refactoring tool with support for UE4 engine
Greatly enhance the Visual Studio capabilities
Supports code navigation, code generation, as well as enhanced refactoring.
Free trial available
Paid variant starts at $129 for individual license.
ResharperAdds a lot of features to VS IDE
Makes code refactoring a breeze.
Offers free trial
Paid versions start at $299
Code MaidFree and effective tool for cleaning up files, whitespaces, etc., to make the code look readable and follow code-formatting guidelines.Free extension
SQLite and SQL Compact ToolboxUseful plugin for visualizing, querying, and developing scripts for SQL-based databases.Free extension

Visual Studio extensions and plugins review:

#1) SonarLint


SonarLint is a free and open-source extension best for developers of all levels looking to write clean code within their Visual Studio IDE. SonarLint detects common mistakes, tricky bugs, and security issues from the moment you start writing code.


  • Like a spell checker, SonarLint squiggles coding issues and performs on-the-fly analysis to detect common mistakes, tricky bugs, and security issues. Highlights issues in your code, educates you on why they are harmful and provides contextual insights explaining how they should be fixed.
  • 4,800+ rules covering a wide range of issues.
  • Includes support for detecting and preventing Cloud “secrets” in Visual Studio and many rules to help you write better regular expressions.
  • ‘Quick fixes’ intelligently suggest solutions adapted to your specific code to automatically repair issues in real-time.
  • Easy issue customization allows you to mute rules on-the-fly, mark issues as false positive, or exclude files from analysis.


  • SonarLint is a free IDE plugin available to install from your IDE marketplace.
  • Seamlessly integrates in your Visual Studio IDE with no complicated setup or configuration required.
  • The large ruleset spans all attributes of code – reliability, maintainability, readability, security, quality and more.
  • Fast and high-precision analysis ensures lower noise and fewer false positives and false negatives so you can always deliver consistent, reliable results.
  • Helps you grow in your development journey.
  • Customizable to your project’s needs and standards.
  • Supports Visual Studio 2022 & 2019.

#2) Visual Assist

Best for teams looking for a professional refactoring tool and those working on game development using UE4 engines.

Visual Assist

Visual Assist bridges gaps in the coding experience, enhancing Visual Studio’s capabilities and making it an even better IDE.


  • UE4 specific tooling: Support for Unreal engine, helping build high-performance C++ applications.
  • Navigation.
  • Refactoring functions help to improve code readability and make it more extensible with no impact on the behavior.
  • Code generation.
  • Debugging assistance.
  • Coding assistance.
  • Visual Assist code snippets.
  • Correct mistakes in the code and comments as you type.


  • Helps to navigate to the different areas of code easily.
  • Enhanced file search with a shortcut: Search with regex and patterns to exclude a string from a file name, and so on.
  • Shortcut available for navigating to anything related to a particular symbol or a variable or class.
  • Add Visual Assist hashtags to comments and navigate across comments.
  • Code inspection feature helps in diagnosing and fixing programming errors like checkstyle and any other static analysis issues.
  • Helpful code completion results in considerable time saved.


  • It can sometimes lead to confusion when standard IDE features are overridden.

Pricing: Comes in Standard and Personal Editions

  • Offers free trial
  • Standard: $279 per developer
    • Licensed to organization
    • Includes support for C/C++ and C#
  • Individual: $129 per individual
    • Can be used only by individuals who purchased the license
    • Includes support for C/C++ and C#

#3) Resharper

Best for teams working on Microsoft Visual Studio and looking for a professional refactoring solution as well as a helper tool for creating high-quality applications.


Resharper is a very popular extension for Microsoft Visual Studio developed by Jetbrains. It can automate many things related to compiler errors, runtime errors, redundancies and provide intelligent solutions for fixing the issues.


  • Helps in code-quality analysis and supports languages like C#, VB.NET, ASP.NET, Javascript, Typescript, etc.
  • Eliminates static errors and code smells.
  • Includes code-editing helpers like enhanced Intellisense and code transformations.
  • Helps to comply with code style and defined formatting.


  • Helps in quicker application development and hence faster delivery, or high-quality applications.
  • Greatly aids in code refactoring.


  • Cost is one of the most concerning areas.
  • It becomes too slow and simply leads to stuck windows.


  • Offers a free 30-day trial.
  • Resharper and Resharper C++ come at a cost of annual and monthly billing options.
    • $299 per year/license
    • Second-year: $239
    • Third-year onward: $179
    • Monthly billing of $29.90 per license

Website: Resharper

#4) Prettier

Best for teams looking for basic code formatting and a freely available tool.


Prettier is an opinionated code formatter that helps in enforcing a consistent code style and formatting.


  • Provides nice and easy ways to format code properly.
  • Includes a .prettierrc file with a configuration that the tool to format the code files would use.


  • Freely available tool.
  • Easy config file to customize and modify the settings as appropriate.


  • For Visual Studio, it’s available for and supports only Javascript and Typescript code.


  • Available as a free extension.

Website: Prettier

#5) Visual Studio Spell Checker

Best for spell-checking code comments and plain text strings to have better quality and more readable code files.

Visual Studio Spell Checker

Spell Checker is a free extension supported by VS 2017 and later. It helps in checking and correcting the spelling in comments and plain text as they are typed.

It can also do a spell check for an existing entire code file or solution.


  • Supports several spell check options:
    • Specifying custom dictionaries or existing dictionary languages to be used for spell checking.
    • Ignore words with digits.
    • Exclude or include specific files using regex or wildcard patterns.
    • Specify configuration at file or project level.
  • Can help replace all occurrences of a misspelling in one go.
  • Ignore spell check for certain words that you want to remain as is.


  • Customized settings allow you to include or exclude required files.
  • Enhances code readability and helps to make code files look standardized.


  • Being a free tool, it doesn’t offer a lot of fancy menus and configurations.


  • Available as a free extension.

Website: Studio Spell Checker

#6) Code Maid

Best for teams looking for a free tool to do basic cleanup tasks like formatting comments, clean up random whitespace, and so on in existing code files.

Code Maid

Code Maid is a free Visual Studio extension that simplifies code files for all the languages like C#, XML, JSON, JS, Typescript, and others that are supported by the IDE.


  • Performs code-cleaning tasks such as white spaces standardization using the existing capabilities of the Visual Studio IDE.
  • Sorts import statements and remove unused imports.
  • Reorganizes code file layouts to match standard static analysis tools like StyleCop.


  • It is a free tool supporting basic formatting and code-cleaning tasks.
  • Helps as a utility tool for routine tasks, such as organizing imports, sorting sections of code alphabetically, formatting comments, and so on


  • Being free, it doesn’t have a very fancy UI or configuration options available.


  • Available as a free and open-source extension on the Visual Studio marketplace.

Website: Code Maid Website

#7) VS Color Output

Best for teams or developers heavily working and relying on output and execution logs that need a way to clearly distinguish between different types and sections of logs.

VS Color Output

VSColor Output is a free plugin that is used to configure the text color of the output emitted when the application is executed or being debugged.


  • Supports .NET 4.5.2 and above.
  • Hooks into the classifier chain of Visual Studio, which enables it to monitor all the lines of logs that are sent to the output window. A set of rules is then applied to this chain, helping color code as configured.
  • The configuration file named vscoloroutput.json can also be accessed through a menu on the IDE UI.
  • Can specify log patterns using regex to match a color.
  • Settings can be applied at a project or solution level (i.e. different projects can have different color-coding settings)
  • Options to stop the build as soon as the first error is encountered.


  • Helpful in analyzing lengthy and complex logs by distinguished color coding.
  • Configurable settings make it easily customizable.


  • Available as a free extension.

Website: VS Color Output

#8) Visual Studio IntelliCode

Best for auto-completing code snippets by an intelligent recommender as a drop-down as you are editing your code files.

Visual Studio IntelliCode

Intellicode is installed by default in VS 2019 version 16.3 and above. (For older versions, it can be installed as a free plugin.)


  • Uses machine learning to predict code completions.
  • Code completions are context-aware and, hence extremely accurate.
  • It also helps in argument completion while using or calling functions or creating class objects, helping to choose the right arguments quickly.
  • It helps define a configuration file from the codebase for defining coding style and formats that could be applied to any new code files in the same project or while editing existing files.


  • Since it’s an out-of-the-box feature, it does not have to be installed separately.
  • Greatly enhances code completion and helps in refactoring.


  • It’s free
    • Comes out of the box in VS 2019 and above.
    • For older versions of VS, it can be installed from the marketplace as a free plugin.

Website: Visual Studio Intellicode

#9) SQLite and SQL Server Compact Toolbox

Best for teams working on a lot of data-intensive queries that need to frequently connect to databases for query execution or schema checking.

SQLite and SQL Server Compact Toolbox

This extension helps add a lot of features, from connecting databases to query different tables and getting output in desired formats.


  • Explore database objects: lists schemas, tables, and other database elements like indexes, constraints, columns, etc.
  • Create or write database scripts.
  • Parse SQL scripts with syntax highlighting.
  • Helps generate database documentation: supported in Community as well as Pro editions.


  • View properties of database objects, just like any other code file in Visual Studio.
  • Makes writing queries in Visual Studio a lot easier and more intuitive as compared to other database UI tools.
  • Edit table data in the grid and save the data, basically helping set and update data if you want to test with a particular value.


  • It’s free

Website: SQLite and SQL Server Compact Toolbox

#10) SlowCheetah

Best for teams having multiple environment configurations and that have to manage different app config settings files for all those environments.


This extension helps you in the automatic transformation of the app config (or any other configuration or settings file) against the build configurations by pressing F5 in Visual Studio.


  • Quickly create multiple variants of config files against different build environments.
  • Supports other file types such as XML, .settings, etc.
  • Preview the changed configuration before finalizing.


  • Most projects have a multi-environment setup; this plugin makes managing multiple configurations easy.
  • Helpful in executing tests across multiple deployed versions of the project by providing different config file inputs for different test environments.


  • It’s available as a free extension.

Website: SlowCheetah

#11) OzoCode

Best for teams looking for a professional debugging solution for C#.


This extension helps you in the automatic transformation of the app config (or any other configuration or settings file) against the build configurations by pressing F5 in Visual Studio.


  • Dramatically enhances your Visual Studio debugging experience for quicker root cause detection in .NET applications.
  • Supports the capability to debug LINQ queries and gives a highly visual representation of what’s happening inside the queries.
  • Powerful visualization through color-coding.
  • Export an instant unit test at the breakpoint to reproduce a similar scenario via a test.


  • LINQ debugging is generally a pain, but with Ozocode it becomes less complex and easily identifies query issues.
  • Tracepoints and conditional breakpoints smooth the debugging process.


  • Expensive licensing.
  • The only supported language is C#.


  • Offers free trial
  • Paid versions
    • Personal license: $99.95/year
    • Team license: $175/seat/year
    • Enterprise: $295/seat/year

Website: OzoCode


Here, we learned about a lot of extensions or add-ons being used for Microsoft Visual Studio IDE.

Further Reading =>> Using GitHub extension for Microsoft Visual Studio

A plethora of plugins are available, but here are a few of the most recommended ones:

  • Visual Assist: Paid plugin, but makes refactoring work like a breeze. It is also one of the very few tools with support for gaming engines like UE4.
  • SQL Tools: Useful utility to connect to SQL databases as well as query and explore different database objects.
  • Code Maid: Utility to clean up files, ensuring no extra whitespaces, and making code files adhere to code formatting guidelines.
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