One of the many changes in the upgrade to Visual Studio 2008 is how Ctrl+Tab switches between open documents in the IDE.  Ctrl+Tab used to show the previously viewed document.  But in VS 2008, the IDE Navigator window appears as shown below, and you must press Enter to show the previous document.  An additional Enter key doesn’t sound like a big inconvenience, but if you do this hundreds of times each day like most developers, you will quickly find the extra step irritating.  This article describes how to disable the Ctrl+Tab navigator window in Visual Studio 2008.

IDE Navigator

What you might not know is that Ctrl+F6 now works the way Ctrl+Tab used to.  And since the navigator window can be useful at times, you may want to simply switch the functionality between Ctrl+Tab and Ctrl+F6 as follows:

  1. In Visual Studio, click the “Tools > Options” menu item.
  2. Select the “Environment > Keyboard” options.
  3. Switch the keyboard assignments as follows:
Macro Shortcut Key
Window.NextDocumentWindow Ctrl+Tab
Window.NextDocumentWindowNav Ctrl+F6
Window.PreviousDocumentWindow Ctrl+Shift+Tab
Window.PreviousDocumentWindowNav Ctrl+Shift+F6

Another Ctrl+Tab Tip

Here’s something else you may not know.  Of course Ctrl+Tab shows the previous document.  Press Ctrl+Tab repeatedly and you will cycle between the last two documents you viewed.  But if you press and hold the Ctrl key, then press the Tab key multiple times, you will show the documents you previously viewed in the reverse order that you viewed them.

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