Labs > Visual Studio Extension: Customize Visual Studio Window Title

This lightweight extension will change the window title of Visual Studio to include a folder tree with a configurable min depth and max depth distance from the solution/project file, or using special tags.

It can also be configured so that the renaming rules apply only when at least two instances of Visual Studio are running with the same window title.

With default settings, SolutionFolder – Microsoft Visual Studio (Administrator) will be rewritten as SolutionFolderParent\SolutionFolder – Microsoft Visual Studio (Administrator)*.

The following special tags are available:

  • [documentName] Active document or window name;
  • [projectName] Active project name;
  • [solutionName] Active solution name;
  • [parentX] Parent folder at the specified depth X (e.g. 1 for document/solution file parent folder);
  • [parentPath] Current solution path or, if no solution open, document path, with depth range as set in settings;
  • [ideName] Name of the IDE (e.g. Microsoft Visual Studio);
  • [configurationName] Current configuration name (e.g. Release);
  • [platformName] Current platform name (e.g. x86);
  • [vsMajorVersion] Major version of Visual Studio (e.g. 9, 10, 11, 12, 14…);
  • [vsMajorVersionYear] Major version of Visual Studio, in year form (e.g. 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015…);
  • [gitBranchName] Current Git branch name. Make sure Git’s executable directory is added to the Windows PATH variable;
  • [workspaceName] Current Team Foundation Server (TFS) workspace name.

‘ *’ will be added at the end automatically to identify that the title is being improved.

This is particularly useful when branching a solution/project: it becomes possible to easily identify which branch you are working on, in the case where both would have the same solution/project name.

Feature requests are welcome here. Official repository here. More screenshots are available in this review by Sergey Vlasov.

You can download the VSIX package directly from the Visual Studio Gallery.

35 comments for post “Visual Studio Extension: Customize Visual Studio Window Title”

  1. Yannik
    5 June 2012 | 03:50 PM

    many thanks, exactly what I was looking for!!

  2. Matt
    1 December 2012 | 06:04 PM

    First off. Thanks and great job!

    Not sure if you’re aware (or care :)), but when no project is loaded, granted should rarely happen, the title bar fills with “- * – * – * – *”. Text find/replace issue?


    Defaults for all the rest.

  3. Matt
    18 January 2013 | 10:01 AM

    Just an update. The new version appears to fix starting with no solution running, but if you open a solution and then close it, the problem starts again. This is under 2010 with SP1; same settings as before. It never removes the solution path and then starts repeating “Microsoft Visual Studio (Administrator) * – ” over and over. This was as of the version available 1/10/2013.

    Again, thanks for the great extension. I can’t tell you how often it has helped me save time and be able to work more comfortably with multiple revisions.

  4. argrithmag
    30 January 2013 | 06:23 PM

    thanks for the plugin. Could you do the same directory change in the recent projects? having multiple version of the same project means i have to hover over each one to see the proper directory….


  5. John
    4 February 2013 | 04:40 PM

    Can you give an option to not show the * after the title? My mind keeps telling me there are unsaved changes when I see that out of the corner of my eye :-)

    Great plugin, thanks!

  6. Inger Marie B. Jakobsen
    14 March 2013 | 09:28 AM

    This extension seems like just what I am looking for, but I really never did use an extension with options before. So I am a bit at a loss. Where and how do I set up the extension to show me the full path?

    I need to see the full path to be able to differentiate, because I have Projects\Main\ and Projects\Release\.

  7. 14 March 2013 | 09:34 AM

    Hi Inger Marie, you can adjust the options in “Tools” > “Options” > “Rename VS Window Title”. There you probably just need to play with the options labeled “Closest parent folder depth” and “Farthest parent folder depth”.


  8. Inger Marie B. Jakobsen
    19 March 2013 | 08:33 AM

    Thanks a lot. It works! This add-on is a great help for me

  9. Bill S
    18 April 2013 | 05:02 PM

    This is a great extension. Love being able to set properties to get it to look just right for me.


  10. Maks Y
    12 June 2013 | 07:35 PM

    Must have extension if you work with multiple source code branches. Thanks

  11. Peter DeSimone
    10 July 2013 | 08:45 PM

    After install VS 2012 Update 3, this extension is disabled. How can I re-enable it? The Enable button is disabled.

  12. 10 July 2013 | 11:23 PM

    Hi Peter,

    I do not have this problem. Maybe try to restart Visual Studio or your computer.


  13. Xavier
    21 August 2013 | 03:59 PM

    When you have a query open (Team Explorer) it shows the ID of the query instead of the name…

  14. Toggle
    17 January 2014 | 05:16 PM

    I’m running VS 2013 (12.0.21005.1) with .NET Framework 4.5.50938 the activity log says “CreateInstance failed for package…” The extension won’t load. The error message is: Could not load file or assembly ‘Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.10.0, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.
    Any thoughts? Thanks!

  15. 21 January 2014 | 07:11 AM

    I replied to you by email.

  16. Gabi
    7 February 2014 | 08:42 AM

    I just updated to version 2.6.0. I use VS 2010 10.0.40219.1 and after this update Rename VS Window Title extension stopped working. If I enable debug mode I’m getting this exception:

    RenameVSWindowTitle: UpdateWindowTitle exception: System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly ‘Microsoft.VisualStudio.TeamFoundation.VersionControl, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a’ or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

    What can I do?


  17. Thomas
    24 March 2014 | 08:18 AM

    I’m running VS2012 but cannot laod your package. The Activitiy Log says:
    CreateInstance failed for package [ErwinMayerLabs.RenameVSWindowTitle.RenameVSWindowTitle, RenameVSWindowTitle, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=ceec2b7720c0179d]

    You mention above that you replied to a similar error message to a user named Toggle on Jan. 21, 2014, by email. Do you have a solution for this?
    Thank you!

  18. 24 March 2014 | 08:26 AM

    Hi Thomas,

    I do not have such problem with a similar set-up (same VS version + .NET 4.5.51641).
    Can you try on another machine maybe? Uninstalling and reinstalling the extension?
    Are you running Visual Studio Express edition (it is not compatible with it)?

  19. Thomas
    24 March 2014 | 09:32 AM

    Uninstalling the extension and installing it again using a CMD box as administrator with the command
    “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\VSIXInstaller.exe” /quiet /admin D:\Downloads\RenameVSWindowTitle.vsix
    did the job; the problem did not reappear even after rebooting the computer.
    We are using the professional edition of VS 2012.

  20. Matt
    8 April 2014 | 07:19 PM

    This is very useful! I encourage everyone to donate, as well.

    Like John above, the asterisk puts me a little on edge, thinking I haven’t saved. Is there a way to eliminate that, or is it a by-product of modifying the title?

    Also, Erwin, you commented on StackOverflow about how setting the title with the win32 api won’t work correctly. So how are you doing it? With the DTE model or?


  21. 9 April 2014 | 10:48 AM

    Hi Matt, thank you for your donation! This is very much appreciated.

    Actually it is already possible to configure the asterisk in the Options: just change the parameter “Appended string” to whatever you like (but it should be at least one distinct character).

    To set the title, I am using the following piece of code, which you can also see in the Codeplex repository:

    System.Windows.Application.Current.MainWindow.Title = "Hello world;

  22. Matt
    9 April 2014 | 05:44 PM

    Cool, thanks Erwin. I changed my appended string to “:-)”

  23. Igor
    30 April 2015 | 09:29 AM

    Great addin!!! Thanks.
    Is it posible to add special tag for VS version (e.g. 2012, 2013, 2015CTP)? All modern VS vesions looks very similar and this is important (for me) to distinguish.

  24. 30 April 2015 | 09:42 AM

    Hi Igor, it should be possible, but isn’t it sufficient to have a different icon for each version of Visual Studio?

  25. Igor
    30 April 2015 | 11:55 AM

    Hi Erwin,
    do you mean that 1) VS have different styles for icons or 2) that different VS versions don’t stack together on taskbar or 3) you wonder why I need to distinguish :)?

    1) Icons of 2015CTP and 2013 looks me identical, 2012 also have pretty similar icon as far as I remember (I don’t have one currently).
    2) I am very unorganized and have tons of visual studio’s open so I see 2 stacks with similar icons in taskbar.
    3) 2015CTP has nice new features that I like to use with some projects but I still need 2013 for other project, sometimes I accidentally open project in a wrong version (or I just want to be sure before 10 minutes long build). My current solution is to press Alt+H,A to get the about window and if I could see it in title will save me additional 20 seconds a day :)
    Thanks for plugin again.

  26. 30 April 2015 | 08:10 PM

    Hi Igor, your wish has come true. I have just released a new version with support of the following tags:
    – [vsMajorVersion] Major version of Visual Studio (e.g. 9, 10, 11, 12, 14…);
    – [vsMajorVersionYear] Major version of Visual Studio, in year form (e.g. 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015…);
    Enjoy. You now have 20 more seconds per day to make the world better :).

  27. Igor
    1 May 2015 | 11:22 AM

    Cool, thank you :)

  28. Ronald
    4 May 2015 | 07:30 AM

    Hi Erwin,

    Great plugin that makes my life a lot easier, but v2.8.1 crashes on startup with my vs2012 installation.

    From the ActivityLog.xml file:
    76 ERROR CreateInstance failed for package [ErwinMayerLabs.RenameVSWindowTitle.RenameVSWindowTitle, RenameVSWindowTitle, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=ceec2b7720c0179d] {5126C493-138A-46D7-A04D-AD772F6BE159} 80070002 VisualStudio 2015/05/04 06:24:12.602
    77 ERROR End package load [ErwinMayerLabs.RenameVSWindowTitle.RenameVSWindowTitle, RenameVSWindowTitle, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=ceec2b7720c0179d] {5126C493-138A-46D7-A04D-AD772F6BE159} 80004005 – E_FAIL VisualStudio 2015/05/04 06:24:12.602

  29. Ronald
    4 May 2015 | 07:39 AM

    My post was just a little too quick :)

    Fixed it by reinstalling as admin, as suggested by Thomas on march 24, 2014. Can you get the installer to ask for admin rights perhaps?

  30. 4 May 2015 | 07:48 AM

    Hi Ronald, did you install the extension by downloading the VSIX as a file instead of from the extension manager within Visual Studio? It seems to be the same problem as the one described here:
    Not sure if there is anything simple I could do as I have no control over the VSIX installer (and admin rights are not theoretically required).

  31. hepek
    7 May 2015 | 03:25 PM

    hi Erwin,

    this is a great extension, thank you.
    I have a folder structure like this:
    DEV branch: C:\OnePlace\DEV\WebSite (folder contains .sln file)
    STAGE branch: C:\OnePlace\STAGE\WebSite (folder contains .sln file)

    I would like to display title like this: “OnePlace DEV”, or “OnePlace STAGE”. basically I need to include parent.parent folder, in this case DEV or STAGE

    is that possible? thank you

  32. Graham
    8 May 2015 | 12:17 PM

    hi Erwin

    Looks like the [workspaceName] tag may no longer be working in 2.8.2 (in VS 2012)

    I just installed 2.8.2 and it is no longer working for me!


  33. 8 May 2015 | 01:34 PM

    Hi Graham, thanks for your feedback. I have sent you an email.

  34. Bash
    24 July 2015 | 02:10 PM

    Not working for me (VS 2013), the same issue as Graham!

  35. 30 September 2015 | 08:28 AM

    Hi Bash, have you tried version 3.0?

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