I often find myself in a meeting or presentation, Visual Studio open, showing some code. What is the question I can almost guarantee that someone will ask? Can you please make the code bigger.

Now I have a trick that I find really useful that saves a lot of hassle and works really well. It comes in the form of a Visual Studio extension called Productivity Power Tools 2013. Specifically, the built in presentation feature.

Productivity Power Tools 2013 is a Visual Studio extension I use for numerous reasons. One being this awesome present mode feature, but others include coloured tabs, and squiggles for Error visualisations.

So how does the present mode work? Pretty straight forward. There are three tasks: PresentOn PresentOff and PresentEdit. These tasks can be found in the Quick Launch bar, in the top right of Visual Studio. You can focus the cursor in the Quick Launch bar but using the Ctrl + Q keyboard shortcut.

Visual Studio’s Quick Launch feature.

You type Present and it will show you the three options, with descriptions for you to choose from.

Present search results in Quick Launch

So what do each of the options do? Well if it is currently off, you can use PresentOn to turn on presentation mode. When on, using PresentOff turns it off again. PresentEdit allows you to quickly open the settings xml file for presenter mode, and change the fonts and sizes of text used in visual studio, when you turn presentation mode on.

Your presenter mode settings configuration

The EnvironmentFont* settings change the font size for things like the menu and labels, while TextEditorFont* affects the editor text. You can emphasise your code or the IDE, depending on what you are trying to demo.

Here you can see I have made the text editor bigger, and the environment smaller.

Extreme font sizing for effect.

For most of what I present, I find putting the Environment up just a little, and the font to about 16 works well for most demonstrations, at whatever resolution projectors seem to put my machine into.

My default presentation mode font settings.

If you have more hi-res monitors such as televisions or lcd screens, you might want to dial up the font a bit bigger. The default fonts work fine for me, but you can change these to whatever makes sense for you as well.

When your all done with your presentation, you can easily use PresentOff to get back to a reasonable working surface without having to change your fonts back manually, and this avoids the constant scroll-zoom every time you open a file during a demo.

Update: 2015-05-29

I just found out about Code Presenter Pro for presenting code in PowerPoint. This is available as a PowerPoint Addin and makes your code look much clearing and more usable from inside your slides. Worth a look.