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Google search VS.NET macro

Here's a handy little Visual Studio .NET macro which searches for the currently highlighted term in Google. The search is launched as a new tab within the IDE when you press


I know what you're thinking: you've seen this macro before. Yeah, but this one goes to eleven. It actually works with any highlighted text in the IDE -- including highlighted text from the Output window:


Here's the macro code (updated 11/26/2007*):

Public Sub SearchGoogleForSelectedText()  
Dim s As String = ActiveWindowSelection().Trim()  
If s.Length > 0 Then  
DTE.ItemOperations.Navigate(""; & _  
End If  
End Sub  
Private Function ActiveWindowSelection() As String  
If DTE.ActiveWindow.ObjectKind = EnvDTE.Constants.vsWindowKindOutput Then  
Return OutputWindowSelection()  
End If  
If DTE.ActiveWindow.ObjectKind = "{57312C73-6202-49E9-B1E1-40EA1A6DC1F6}" Then  
Return HTMLEditorSelection()  
End If  
Return SelectionText(DTE.ActiveWindow.Selection)  
End Function  
Private Function HTMLEditorSelection() As String  
Dim hw As HTMLWindow = ActiveDocument.ActiveWindow.Object  
Dim tw As TextWindow = hw.CurrentTabObject  
Return SelectionText(tw.Selection)  
End Function  
Private Function OutputWindowSelection() As String  
Dim w As Window = DTE.Windows.Item(EnvDTE.Constants.vsWindowKindOutput)  
Dim ow As OutputWindow = w.Object  
Dim owp As OutputWindowPane = ow.OutputWindowPanes.Item(ow.ActivePane.Name)  
Return SelectionText(owp.TextDocument.Selection)  
End Function  
Private Function SelectionText(ByVal sel As EnvDTE.TextSelection) As String  
If sel Is Nothing Then  
Return ""  
End If  
If sel.Text.Length = 0 Then  
End If  
If sel.Text.Length <= 2 Then  
Return ""  
End If  
Return sel.Text  
End Function  
Private Sub SelectWord(ByVal sel As EnvDTE.TextSelection)  
Dim leftPos As Integer  
Dim line As Integer  
Dim pt As EnvDTE.EditPoint = sel.ActivePoint.CreateEditPoint()  
sel.WordLeft(True, 1)  
line = sel.TextRanges.Item(1).StartPoint.Line  
leftPos = sel.TextRanges.Item(1).StartPoint.LineCharOffset  
pt.MoveToLineAndOffset(line, leftPos)  
sel.WordRight(True, 1)  
End Sub  

I tested the macro in VS.NET 2003 and VS.NET 2005 and it works great with no modifications in either environment. Here's how to install it:

  1. go to Tools - Macros - IDE
  2. create a new Module with a name of your choice under "MyMacros". Or use an existing module.
  3. paste the above code into the module
  4. add a reference to the System.Web namespace (for HttpUtility) to the module
  5. close the macro IDE window
  6. go to Tools - Options - Environment - Keyboard
  7. type "google" in the Show Commands Containing textbox. The SearchGoogleForSelectedText macro should show up
  8. click in the Press Shortcut Keys textbox, then press ALT+F1
  9. click the Assign button
  10. click OK

It's really quite handy; ALT+F1 is a totally natural chord and a logical superset of F1.

* Courtesy Bojan Bjelic, the macro now works in .aspx source (html) view.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Overflow and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: