For example, C++ developers often need to look at the output to find the origin of an error that involves several template instantiations:
In practice, the most important line in this log includes a reference to a file in the current solution. With VSColorOutput it is easy to highlight lines with references to files in the solution and downplay lines with references to standard include files:
You can classify output lines for your needs using .NET regular expressions. To open the RegExClassification Collection Editor dialog go to Tools – Options – VSColorOutput:
For example, to color build results red when build fails, you can use the following regex “Build: \d+ succeeded( or up-to-date)?, (?!0)\d+ failed” with the classification type LogError and position this member before the “(=====|—–),BuildHead” member as the first member match wins:
Note that after modifying classification rules you need to regenerate output (e.g. rebuild) to see the changes. You can customize colors for each output line type going to Tools – Options – Environment – Fonts and Colors:
VSColorOutput colors trace messages in the Output window during debugging as well. Actually, this was author’s original idea for the extension:
VSColorOutput also supports Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview:
You can download the free VSColorOutput extension for Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 11 from Visual Studio Gallery. You can get source code for the extension from Codeplex.