VSColor Output Extension in Visual Studio


The output window in Visual studio is the location where we get information from the build process. Most of the time the programmer will disregard unless there is a build error in the output window. After rebuilding the solution there will be pages and pages of information when you start scrolling the build report in the output window. If any error exists it’s hard to parse the text and find the error statement.

In this blog, you will learn about the extension VSColor Output which colorize the build information in the output window. For example, success, warning, and error will be colored as green, yellow, and olive respectively.

Install VSColor Output Extension:

In visual studio from the menu select Extension ->Manage Extensions ->go online and search for VSColor output.

VSColor Output Extension
Figure 1: VSColor Output Extension

Click on download and install it. After the installation, restart your visual studio.

VSColor Usage:

Rebuild your solution in visual studio, now you see the beautiful colorized build information in the output window as shown in the below figure.

Output window
Figure 2: Output window

From the above figure, you can observe the warning messages are colored in olive and success message is colored in green.

To check the error message in the output window, I modified the code to get a build error.

Build Error
Figure 3: Build Error

Customize Color Rule:

To customize these color rule, from the menu select tools -> options-> VSColorOutput.

Options window
Figure 4: Options window

From the above image, it is obvious by default the Build message is in green, error in red, and warning in olive and you can always override this default setting.

Show build Report:

In the Build Actions, you can find one option called show build report. By default, it set to false, enable it to get a build report in the table view. Rebuild the solution.

Build Actions
Figure 5: Build Actions

Normally you will get a result like “Rebuild All: 2 succeeded, 0 failed, 0 skipped”, now with this information you will also get the consolidate project build report in the table view, as shown in the below figure.

Build Report
Figure 6: Build Report


We learned,

  • How to install the VSColor Output extension in visual studio.
  • The advantage of using the VSColor to categorizing the build information shown in the visual studio output window using color.
  • Customizing the build actions using VSColor.


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