Listen Up, Visual Studio has a new feature you need to hear about!

Dante Gagne

Our accessibility journey in Visual Studio has taught us that developers love to customize their experiences to help them be productive. Some developers have been telling us that they want to use sound to help them understand what’s happening in their code. A short, simple sound when the caret arrives on a line with an error can quickly help some developers understand where their attention needs to be. Visual Studio Code introduced a handful of these audio cues, and many developers love them. We’re happy to bring them to Visual Studio.

Get Started

With Visual Studio 17.3 preview 2, Visual Studio has added a few new audio cues. This feature is in preview and is in Tools\Options under Preview Features. When you check “Enable Audio Cues for the Editor”, Visual Studio will register the audio cues the next time the editor is created. (This normally happens when you first launch Visual Studio or open a new solution/folder).

The Tools\Options dialog in Visual Studio showing the Preview Features page. Several preview features are displayed, including "Enable Audio Cues for the Editor" which is checked.

By default, Visual Studio now has three new sounds. You’ll hear a sound when the caret arrives on a line with a breakpoint, error, or warning. We intentionally don’t play sounds unless you’re navigating around. When we first tested the audio cues, we felt that playing the sounds as soon as an error was introduced during typing was rather annoying. We chose the same sounds as Visual Studio Code, so folks coming to Visual Studio should already be familiar with these sounds.

If you arrive on a line with more than one of these, you’ll only hear the sound with the highest priority. Errors are the highest priority, followed by warnings and finally breakpoints.

Customize your experience

If you’d like to customize these sounds, you can search in Windows 10 or 11 for “Change System Sounds”. Windows will display the Sound control panel. You can scroll down in the Program Events box for the “Microsoft Visual Studio” events. The new events are “Line has Breakpoint”, “Line has Error”, and “Line has Warning”. The Sound control panel lets you customize each of these sounds to any .wav file you like or disable a specific sound by setting the Sounds field to (None).

The Sound Control Panel dialog in Windows. The Microsoft Visual Studio events are scrolled into view and the "Line has Breakpoint" is selected. Below it, the Sounds field shows that "breakpoint.wav" is assigned to that event.

Tell us what you think

We’re excited to hear how this is changing folks and their workflows. We’re also looking for other places where more audio cues would be useful. If you’ve got suggestions, we invite you to join the conversation on Developer Community.