Finding what you need in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 documentation, which has over 200,000 topics, can be a daunting task. The Doc Detective is here to help, utilizing his investigative skills to probe the depths of the documentation.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Just ask-if it’s in there, I’ll find it for you; if it isn’t, I’ll let you know that as well (and tell you where else you might go to find it).

Have a question for the Doc? Send your questions for future columns to me at

Dear Doc Detective,

I have been programming for over twenty years, but I am just starting with Visual Studio. All I want to do is display some data on a form, but I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of topics related to data. I did a search and it returned 500 topics. Isn’t there something that simply tells me what I need to do?

-Dazed in Dayton

Dear Dazed,

Using a broad search term such as “data” can definitely be overwhelming, and if you are looking for basic information it’s hard to come up with the right search term. You really need a map to navigate the sheer number of topics available.

Fortunately there is a new type of topic, referred to as a “roadmap” topic, which can guide you through the maze. Check out the aptly named “Creating Data Applications by Using Visual Studio” topic. It provides a basic overview of how data works in Visual Studio, plus links to each of the relevant tasks you will need to accomplish. It may not be simple, but it does tell you what to do.

-Doc D

Dear Doc Detective,

I cannot tell you how many times I day I accidentally hit Ctrl+C instead of Ctrl+V when trying to paste code in the editor. Why doesn’t this work like Word?

In Word, if you accidentally hit Ctrl+C when nothing is selected, nothing happens. It does not wipe out your clipboard contents, so you can still hit Ctrl+V and paste its contents.

I hunted around for the option to turn this off the other day, but did not find it. Is there a way that you can turn this behavior off, and if so, where?

-Fuming in Fullerton

Dear Fuming,

There is indeed a way to turn this behavior off, and I’m at a loss to explain why it’s on by default. Just go to Tools, Options, check the Show All Settings box, expand the Text Editor node and select All Languages. Under Settings, clear the Apply Cut or Copy commands when there is no selection option, and you’re good to go.

This is covered in the topic “How to: Set General Editor Options”, which is pretty hard to find if you don’t know that this option is a general editor setting.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder why this option even exists. Is there ever really a case where someone would want to cut or copy a blank line?

-Doc Detective

Dear Doc Detective,

I am in the process of developing an intranet application for my company, hosted on a network share. I recently rolled out a test version to a few users, and they are reporting a security exception stating that the application requires full trust.

I looked around a bit and found some information on how to use code access security policy to grant full trust, but it’s a bit confusing and looks like way too much work. Surely there is an easier way to do this.

-Trusted in Trenton

Dear Trusted,

You’re right, it is a lot of work-or I should say was a lot of work. Starting with the .NET Framework version 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1), applications and their library assemblies can be run as full-trust assemblies from a network share.

You can learn all about it in the topic “Running Intranet Applications in Full Trust”. It makes things a lot easier-trust me.

-The Doc

Dear Doc Detective,

I have an MDI Parent form that contains several Child forms. I want to use the MouseDown event of the Parent to display a menu panel when the user clicks outside of the child forms.

The mouse events are not firing for the Parent form-is this a bug, or am I missing something?

-Mouseless in Mountain View

Dear Mouseless,

This is expected behavior for an MDI Parent-it doesn’t capture mouse events.

It’s not clear what you mean by “menu panel”. Standard behavior would be to display a context menu when the user right clicks. This can be done on an MDI parent by adding a ContextMenuStrip control and assigning it to the ContextMenuStrip property of the MDI parent form, as described in the topic “How to: Associate a ContextMenuStrip with a Control”.

If you really need to capture mouse events on an MDI parent, you could fake it by adding a RectangleShape control to the form and sizing it to fill the client area. You could then capture the mouse events for the RectangleShape when the user clicks in the client area. See the topic “Introduction to the Line and Shape Controls (Visual Studio)” for more help.

A bit of a hack, but it works.

-Doctor D

Doc’s Doc Tip of the Day

Have you ever wished you could add your own content to the Visual Studio docs, or add comments or corrections? Now you can, thanks to the Community Content section found at the bottom of most MSDN online topics.

The Community Content feature for Microsoft documentation provides the ability to add and edit content notes, similar to a wiki. Examples include code samples, tips, undocumented scenarios, links to additional resources, etc. Anyone is welcome to contribute or edit content.

You can learn more about sharing your knowledge by adding to Community Content in the “Community Content FAQ” topic.

Found a topic in Help that doesn’t help? Tell the Visual Studio documentation team about it by clicking on the “Send feedback” link in local Help topics, or the “Click to rate and give feedback” link in online Help.