I'm a student, and I do a lot of code on a small (12.5", 1366x768) laptop screen that I carry from class to class. Most programming environments are designed with the idea that someone has large screen size available, because most programmers do in fact have access to large screens. However, large screens are difficult to carry to class all day, and my previous laptop (15", 1920x1200) often got left in the dorm just because it was so friggin heavy.

I'm pretty much locked in to Visual Studio at this point; no program I've ever used is as productive for the kind of code I work with (after installing Whole Tomato's Visual Assist and Jared Par's VsVim, of course :) )

(I've seen other questions about small screens but they all pretty much go with "leave Visual Studio" -- which is hard given some of the kinds of development I've been doing....

  • Can't you just connect your laptop to a large monitor? You won't be coding in class right?
    – BlackJack
    Aug 12, 2011 at 23:37
  • 2
    @BlackJack: Actually I do do a lot of coding in class... (I have a lot of worthless classes :/)When I'm in the dorm room I do connect to an external display though. Aug 12, 2011 at 23:38
  • 3
    @Billy: Make sure you pay however much attention you need to to graduate!
    – compman
    Aug 13, 2011 at 1:36
  • @compman: I will be. And not one iota of attention more. :) Aug 13, 2011 at 3:34
  • @compman: right ...Priority One: Graduation; Priority Two: get as much coding done before we die as is humanly possible.
    – IAbstract
    Aug 13, 2011 at 11:41

4 Answers 4


All that stuff on the View menu? Set them to collapse. Do this by clicking the push-pin/thumb tack and let the windows collapse back to the sidelines. This gives you a lot more screen space for the important stuff, and if you need it, mouse over the tab and it slides out. The visual cue that the tab will auto-expand/collapse, or stay out all the time is the push-pin (circled in red on samples): vertical, they stay out all the time; horizontal, they come out when you need them.

Sample will all stuff expanded:

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Same sample will all stuff collapsed:

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Property Tab expanded:

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Learn the shortcuts to various commands and use the full screen mode (View -> Full Screen).

You can also use the "Command Window" to access other menu items (even if they don't have a shortcut), you can find it in the View menu -> Other windows -> Command Window

  • Shortcuts! I can do almost everything I need from the 'Command Window' given a variety aliases. I think much of the annoyance of a small screen is trying to click all the tiny menus/options... get rid of those and you could up your font and focus on what matters.
    – mpeterson
    Aug 13, 2011 at 1:17

Try 4 simple steps:

  1. Use Hide Main Menu extension.
  2. Remove all toolbars. Use short-cuts instead. I find myself that I actually never use the toolbars.
  3. Set Auto-Hide for all panels except the Source Code window.
  4. Use scroll wheel to zoom the text.

Plenty of space! Right click on the toolbar area and uncheck the toolbars, put all the side and bottom panels on autohide or just have one side panel and setup tabs by dragging windows into the panel you want to use. Learn shortcut keys. Auto-hide your Windows taskbar.

Also Google for fonts like Dina that are both small and readable.

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