Reference Manager for Visual Studio 2005 RC

If you are working with references (assembly or project references) in VS probably sometimes you have to do some annoying tasks:


Case 1) Where am I using this reference (i.e.: System.Data) in this solution?


Solution: I have to traverse all the projects in the solution and depending on the kind of project expand the references item or even worst open the properties dialog to see the references!!


Case 2) Remove a reference from multiple projects.


Solution: I have to go project by project removing the reference!!


Case 3) Add a reference to multiple projects


Solution: Project by project call to Add Reference dialog!!


Case 4) we have installed a new version of some assembly so we need to replace all references


Solution: You have to apply 1, 2 and 3!!!



So that I decided to make my life easier and I developed a tool called "Reference Manager"


You will have this tool available on the solution context menu. I tried to solve the above use cases. So now the solution for each case is easier.



Case 1) Open Reference Manager, write your reference filter (regular expression) and you will have what are the projects that use these references.



Case 2) Filter by your reference (the reference manager select all the projects that contains this reference), press Remove (the reference manager will remove

the reference for each selected project)



Case 3) Select the projects that you want and press Add Reference, the references will be added to each project.



Case 4) Filter by your references, press Remove after that add your references to the selection.



It works with C#, VB.Net, C++ and WebSites projects.  Even if you have solution folders it should works.


I included the reference manager in the new version of coolcommands.




-  Unzip (ie: c:\coolcommands )

- Open VS 2005 command prompt

- run c:\coolcommands\install.bat




  Visual Studio 2005 RC


  • Wow Gaston this is great! I've thought about writing something similar before, but I just never got around to it. Any thoughts of back porting it to VS2003?

  • Thanks for your comments,

    Really I haven't plans to porting it to VS2003 right now.



  • One problem with reference in VS is that it is not readily apparent which are normal references and which are project references. The only way to determine which is which is to look a the path property of the reference.

    Reference Manager will be the first thing I install after I get VS 2005 Final. If it does not already do so, I hope that Reference Manager will provide a visual indication (different icon or color) to distinguish project and regular references.

  • The Reference manager provide a different icon for project references.

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