Have you ever thought to yourself that it would be great if the PowerGUI Script Editor would allow you to…
How about if it would allow you to…
…view white space characters (tabs and spaces); or
…move the cursor through the whitespace outside of a document while you edit the same column in multiple lines in your script; or
…zoom in or out using Ctrl+Add or Ctrl+Subtract so that you can adjust the font as necessary during presentations?
Some of these features were requested by members of our community, and others are features that I have wished for at one point or another. As of today you can get all of these features in the PowerGUI Script Editor by simply downloading and installing the Script Editor Essentials Add-on!
How do I do that you ask? Simply visit the Script Editor Essentials Add-on page and follow the installation instructions. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to set up. Once you have it set up, you can start using the new features right away. For example, to enable the new features that affect your open documents, take a look at the new menu items in the Edit | Advanced menu:
That menu allows you to enable the view white space, word wrap, or virtual white space features. If you enable view white space, you’ll see tabs appear as arrows and spaces appear as dots, like in this screenshot:
You can also turn on word wrap, which is great when working with documents that contain long lines of PowerShell script (unless you like scrolling back and forth horizontally when reading script lines). It even shows a small arrow at the end of any lines that are wrapped, making it easier to distinguish between lines that wrap and lines that don’t:
All of these features can be turned on at the same time, allowing you to customize your experience for your needs, and the configuration is saved so that it persists between sessions. Here’s another screenshot showing the virtual white space feature, which allows you to place the cursor anywhere on any line (normally you cannot place the cursor beyond the end of a line):
This feature can come in quite handy when you are modifying script on multiple lines in a similar column position, and when those lines aren’t necessarily adjacent to one another (I’ve had this experience which made me wish for this feature myself).
Do you ever show PowerShell to others, either via the web using desktop sharing or LiveMeeting or perhaps during presentations? Being able to zoom in and zoom out on the fly can be useful if you do, so you may like these new menu items:
They will increase or decrease the font size in the open documents as well as in the embedded PowerShell console by 1. You can do this without this Add-on today by using Ctrl while moving your mouse wheel, but it is can be very difficult to control depending on your mouse sensitivity and it increases or decreases the font size by 10% instead of by a fixed value, plus it sets all fonts to the same font, which may not give you the results you are looking for (if you use the Blue Console Add-on, it applies a different font to the embedded console window). The keyboard shortcuts for these menu items are very useful to learn if you ever show PowerShell to anyone while using the PowerGUI Script Editor.
And last, but not least, I have wanted to have multi-select support in the File Open dialog for a long time. That support is now available, and while I was adding it I also flushed out the list of file extensions to include all PowerShell file extensions plus other extensions commonly used with PowerShell. Here’s what that looks like once this Add-on is installed (you can click on the image to see it full size):
I would really appreciate any feedback that you would like to share on this (or any other) Script Editor Add-on. I’ve called this Script Editor Essentials because it contains a variety of general editor features that I think are essential for anyone using the PowerGUI Script Editor without being tied to a specific need. That doesn’t mean it contains everything that is essential though, and there are a lot of other Script Editor Add-ons available that you should take a look at to see the other options available to you to enhance your script editing experience. What features would you consider essential to you as you work with PowerShell files in the Script Editor that are not yet available in the core product or as an Add-on? Let me know in the comments or on the PowerGUI Forums so that we can make sure we’re meeting your needs.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this Add-on, as well as all other Add-ons, are created using PowerShell modules. There’s even an Add-on Authoring Toolkit that makes it easier to create Script Editor Add-ons, along with a tutorial showing you how you can create your own Add-ons! Creating an Add-on can be pretty easy to do, so don’t be afraid to give it a try and use the PowerGUI Forums to ask questions as needed.
Hopefully this will be a useful and welcome addition to your PowerGUI experience. Enjoy!
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