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Plug-ins – KeyWatcher diagnostic/demo window

March 17th, 2011

The KeyWatcher plug-in is a DXCore tool window plug-in that is useful for demonstrations. It shows the images of keyboard keys pressed inside the Visual Studio code editor. This is what it looks like:

CodeRush KeyWatcher plug-in preview

Once you installed the plug-in, the tool window is available via the DevExpress | Tool Windows | Keys menu item. By default, it doesn’t intercept the keystrokes – it must be activated manually. To activate it, use the context menu available via right-clicking on the window, and click the Disabled item, so it is not marked:

CodeRush KeyWatcher - Disabled menu item

There are two other options available in the context menu:

  • Clear – clears the output inside the tool window
  • Inter-key Spacing – if marked, the extra space is added between key images, e.g.:

CodeRush KeyWatcher with Inter-key spacing off

Note that multiple keystrokes of the same key are shown as a single image with a multiplier of the times key was pressed. Besides the key pressed, the window shows CodeRush code templates expanded, for example:

CodeRush KeyWatcher with code templates

The plug-in, containing the tool window has an action to toggle the visibility of the window named “KeyWatcherShowHide“. This action allows you to bind a specific key to this action to activate the tool window by shortcut.

The plug-in is KeyWatcher DXCore plug-in (11,373 bytes). Let me know how it works for you.

Products: DXCore
Versions: 10.2 and up
VS IDEs: any
Updated: Mar/17/2011
ID: D071

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  1. Bj?rn Eriksson
    April 9th, 2011 at 03:19 | #1

    Wow ­čś» , this is too great to be true – almost!
    Helped me out a lot making an instruction for a fellow developer.
    But, would it be possible to create a standalone version – to use for common video instructions? Showing what keys are pressed inside any running application?

  2. April 11th, 2011 at 01:05 | #2

    @ Bj?rn Eriksson
    Yes, this is possible, but DXCore won’t help much here, unfortunately. It is better to start a new project for this kind of task.

  3. September 29th, 2011 at 07:05 | #3

    Don’t forget that you must “unblock” the dll after you copy it to your plugin’s directory.

    (from: http://code.google.com/p/dxcorecommunityplugins/wiki/InstallInstructions)

    1. Extract the plugin DLL from the zip file you downloaded and save it in your community plugins folder.

    2. Right-click the plugin DLL, select “Properties,” and on the “General” tab, click the “Unblock” button. This is required to enable DXCore to properly execute the code in the plugin.

    3. Restart Visual Studio. The new plugin should be available.

  4. September 29th, 2011 at 07:14 | #4

    @ Jon von Gillern
    Thank you very much for the tip!