Visual Studio Syntax Highlighting for C# Files

Environment: Visual Studio and C#

Here are the instructions necessary to have Visual Studio syntax-highlight your C# files.

  1. Locate the following key in your registry (using regedit or any other registry editor):

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\DevStudio\6.0\Text Editor\Tabs/Language Settings\C/C++\FileExtensions

    This value will contain a value like the following:


    Simply add the .cs extension to the end as in this example:


  2. Download the usertype.dat file (at the bottom of this document) and copy it to the same directory as msdev.exe (Visual Studio editor) (By default this will be c:\program files\microsoft visual studio\common\msdev98\bin). This file contains all the C# keywords


Download (zipped) usertype.dat file (containing C# keywords) - 1 Kb

About the Author

Tom Archer - MSFT

I am a Program Manager and Content Strategist for the Microsoft MSDN Online team managing the Windows Vista and Visual C++ developer centers. Before being employed at Microsoft, I was awarded MVP status for the Visual C++ product. A 20+ year veteran of programming with various languages - C++, C, Assembler, RPG III/400, PL/I, etc. - I've also written many technical books (Inside C#, Extending MFC Applications with the .NET Framework, Visual C++.NET Bible, etc.) and 100+ online articles.


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  • Solution for Visual Studio .net

    Posted by Legacy on 03/08/2003 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Subsist

    It took me a while to find an equivalent in VS .net. I wanted to do highlighting and autoformatting for .java files.

    I stumbled across one:
    They give the following .reg file to perform syntax highlighting on .uc files.

    Modifying the .reg file they provide will force .java files to be highlighted as C syntax:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.0\Languages\File Extensions\.java]

    Just stop VS .net, name the above file java.reg or something and double click on it, then start VS .net.

    Use the usertype.dat fix to add java keywords for highlighting. Now you will be able to autoformat and syntax highlight .java files. The only drawback is that C files will also be highlighted with java keywords, but that's a small price to pay.

  • Same approach works for Java

    Posted by Legacy on 01/08/2002 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Preston L. Bannister

    You can of course use the same approach to get
    syntax coloring for your Java source files.

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