Create live templates using Resharper

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

From time to time I find myself writing the same code – a task I find boring, tedious and error prone(I’m not talking about code duplication – which should be eliminated as the evil it is) as the lazy developer that I am I prefer to let a tool perform these tasks for me.

Today I found myself writing unit tests on a new machine – since all unit tests start the same way I’ve decided to create a Live Template to speed up my work.

  1. Write a test method – usually without return value or parameters
  2. Decorate the method with the appropriate attribute – [Test] in NUnit
  3. Write the actual test code

Since I prefer to get to step #3 as soon as I can I usually create a Live Template to handle steps 1 & 2:

Step 1 – Open template explorer

It’s right there under the “Resharper” menu:


Now choose the Live Template tab and press New Template button


A new page will appear in Visual Studio.

Step 2 – fill shortcut, description & availability

Give your nee template a shortcut, description and decide where it would be applicable.

In this case I’ve decided to go with ntest for shortcut for a template that would only be available in C# where a type member is allowed.


Step 3 – write your template

Writing a template is as simple as writing the actual code – no prior knowledge is needed. Use the dollar sign ($) to declare variables.

I my case I want to make sure I follow the same naming convention for every test so I declare three variables by putting them between two dollar sign – no additional work required.

To finish it off I add $END$ to let Rehsarper know where I want my cursor to be after I’ve finished giving the variables valid values.


I’ve also marked Reformat and Shorten qualified references to make sure that the resulting code is clean & tidy.

Step 4 – Save

And you’re ready to go – the new template was added to the machines templates and you can use Template Explorer to put it under category and share it with your team.


Now all I need to do is write ntest press tab and presto – I get the “test skeleton” and I can jump between the variables I’m declared using tab.


Once I’m done giving the test a proper name the cursor waits inside the test method so I write the actual test.


As simple as that!


Live template are a powerful tool. In this post I’ve only scratched the surface of their functionality.

If you’re interested in learning more I suggest you head to Resharper documentation.

As for me I’m going to add few more of those and get back to writing code.


Happy coding…

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