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Category: Tools and Productivity

Do you like wasting time on repetitive tasks? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Me neither. I always try to find tools and techniques that can help me work smarter and more efficiently. Fewer clicks, more smiles! :)

In this category, I write about applications that can help increase your productivity. I also share tips for saving time in applications you might already be using. Some of my favorite free tools for text editing are Notepad++ and Visual Studio Code. I’m also a huge fan of the Redgate products, especially SQL Prompt. This is a licensed tool, but the one tool I would pay out of pocket for to use at work!

Keyboard shortcuts for moving text lines and windows (T-SQL Tuesday #123)

Keyboard shortcuts for moving text lines and windows (T-SQL Tuesday #123)

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Jess Pomfret (@jpomfret). She wants to hear about life hacks to make your life easier! In this post, I share two of my most-used keyboard shortcuts. One for moving text lines up and down without copying and pasting, and one for moving windows around without dragging and dropping. I use these all the time :)

Moving text lines up and down

Previously, I was moving text lines up and down in a couple of different ways. Have you ever marked all the text on a line, copied it, then pasted it again? Yeah, I did that all the time. And then I discovered there’s an easier way! Yay :)

There are a couple of different flavors to this keyboard shortcut.

In Office applications like PowerPoint and OneNote, you use Shift+Alt+Up and Shift+Alt+Down:

Recording of my two monitors. The left monitor shows the keystrokes.

In other applications like SQL Server Management Studio, Azure Data Studio, and Visual Studio Code, you simply use Alt+Up and Alt+Down.

Moving windows around or between screens

Similarly, I was previously dragging windows around multiple monitors using my mouse. Then I discovered you can use Win+Arrows to move windows around. And then I discovered that you can use Win+Shift+Arrows to immediately move windows to the same position on other monitors. Are you showing a full-screen application while presenting? Just win-shift-arrow it to the extended screen and you look like a total pro. Whaaat! :D

Recording of my two monitors. The left monitor shows the keystrokes.

Keyboard all the things!

There you go. Two of my favorite, useful, and timesaving keyboard shortcuts! I use these so much that I don’t think about them anymore – until someone goes “whoa whoa whoa wait what magic did you just do!?” :D

What are your favorite keyboard shortcuts?

Organizing Visual Studio Projects in Solution Folders

Organizing Visual Studio Projects in Solution FoldersDo you have large Visual Studio solutions with many projects? Are you looking for an easy way to hide some projects while working on others? Maybe you are a fellow speaker looking for a way to group and organize your demo files? Solution Folders may be what you are looking for!

What are Visual Studio Solution Folders?

In Visual Studio, you can add virtual folders to group and organize your projects and files. Folders can be nested, collapsed, expanded, and even hidden in the Solution Explorer. Please keep in mind that these folders are entirely virtual. That means that you will still have to physically organize your projects the way you prefer in your file system.

Create Solution Folders

Visual Studio - Add Solution Folder
Right-click on the solution → Add → New Solution Folder (or with the solution selected, click the Project menu → Add New Solution Folder)

Hide Solution Folders

Visual Studio - Hide Solution Folder
Right-click on the folder → Hide Folder (or with the folder selected, click the Project menu → Hide Folder)

Show Solution Folders

Visual Studio - Unhide Solution Folders
Right-click on the solution → Unhide Folders (or with the solution selected, click the Project menu → Unhide Folders)

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Online Tools for Data Professionals (T-SQL Tuesday #101)

T-SQL Tuesday #101: Online Tools for Data Professionals

T-SQL Tuesday #101 is hosted by Jens Vestergaard (@vestergaardj), and the topic is The Essential SQL Server Tools in my stack. There are several tools that I use every single day, such as Notepad++, Redgate SQL Prompt, and BimlExpress. In fact, there are so many amazing tools out there for data professionals that I created an entire session focusing on Tools and Tips For Data Warehouse Developers! Since I have already covered my favorite tools in other blog posts, I want to take a slightly different approach this time and share some of my favorite online tools.

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Notepad++ Word Count

This post is part 5 of 5 in the series Notepad++ Tips and Tricks
Logo for blog post "Word Count in Notepad++"

In Notepad++, you can quickly find information about your text. For example, what is the document length and total word count? You can do this by using a built-in feature or by using the TextFX plugin. They count words differently, though, so be aware! Make sure you use the one that is right for you 🙂

Word Count in Notepad++

If you have no plugins installed, you can use the built-in Summary feature. If you are using the TextFX plugin you can use the Word Count feature:

  • Click ViewSummary
  • Double-click on Length / Lines on the Status Bar (shortcut to Summary)
  • Use TextFXTextFX ToolsWord Count

Differences between Notepad++ and TextFX

The Notepad++ Summary only shows the total word count, not the selected word count. If you have text selected, it shows you how many characters you have selected, but not how many words are in your selection.

The TextFX Word Count shows the total and selected word count. It only works when you have text selected. It shows you how many words and characters are in your selection.

More importantly, Notepad++ and TextFX counts words differently. Notepad++ counts hyphenated words as two words, while TextFX counts hyphenated words as one word.

Fun fact: TextFX and Microsoft Word counts words the same way.

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Redgate SQL Prompt 7.1 Results Grid Features

Redgate SQL PromptRedgate recently released SQL Prompt 7.1. I try to be an efficient developer (read: I’m a lazy and often impatient developer), so I’m a huge fan of any feature that can save me some clicks here and some time there. In this version, SQL Prompt comes with new Results Grid Features. And let me tell you… I rarely hear so many business users and business analysts ask me: How did you do that!?

Well, let me show you :)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYxaDGF9jGw

(Like this video? Check out the other 14 Super SQL Tips!)

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Notepad++ Multi-Editing Text

This post is part 4 of 5 in the series Notepad++ Tips and Tricks
Logo for blog post "Multi-Editing in Notepad++"

You can use Notepad++ to quickly insert, edit, or delete text in multiple locations in one file – at the same time! All you have to do is enable Multi-Editing, and then hold CTRL while you click or select text. This is a fast and easy way to edit parts of your document in just a few seconds.

Animation showing Multi-Editing in Notepad++
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Redgate SQL Prompt 6.5 Tab History

Redgate SQL PromptHello, my name is Cathrine, and I am a tab hoarder :) I always have lots of tabs open in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) connected to different environments. I have written about how Redgate SQL Prompt Tab Coloring makes it easy to find the right tab(s) based on the tab color, but that is not the only tab feature that saves me a lot of time.

Redgate SQL Prompt Tab History is amazing! It allows you to view and reopen closed tabs, even those unnamed and unsaved tabs with ad-hoc queries that you thought you would never need again. It also allows you to quickly navigate and search through closed and open tabs.

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Notepad++ Column Editing

This post is part 3 of 5 in the series Notepad++ Tips and Tricks
Logo for blog post "Column Editing in Notepad++"

Spoiler alert! Column editing is super simple in Notepad++ 🤓 All you have to do is press the Alt key while selecting text. You can use either Alt+Mouse Dragging or Alt+Shift+Arrows. This works perfectly on text that is already aligned. But what if your text is not formatted as columns already? You can quickly fix that by using the TextFX plugin.

Animation showing column editing in Notepad++
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