Getting rid of the slow help engine in Visual Studio

It’s been a few years already since the last time I’ve installed VS’ help (MSDN) on my machines. The thing is huge, slow to come up, and it didn’t use to be that good. I just got used to using a SlickRun magicword to quickly search google, which searches not only MSDN, but also other resources (often much better than MSDN) such as CodeProject, blogs, etc. Since I’m connected almost 100% of the time, why use the slow local MSDN library?

Also, every once in a while a reach for the F2 key in order to start a "rename" refactoring in Visual Studio, and and up pressing F1 by mistake, and then there go 2 minutes of my life, waiting for the help window to come up (even though, again, I don’t even have MSDN installed).

Talking to Mike today, I remembered I used to have a little VS macro that’d search on Google the text I have selected in VS. I thought it’d be good to just re-map the F1 key to that macro. It solves to problems: allows me to quickly perform a Google search from VS, and it doesn’t get me stuck waiting for the VS help window to come up if I’ve hit the F1 key by mistake.  🙂

You can find an example of such macro here. In order to change the keybinding, go to Tools-Options-Keyboard, search for the "GoogleSearch" macro, and bind the F1 key to it.

F1

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