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For large XML files it seems like the Visual Studio text editor will not attempt to do syntax highlighting, so everything is black and white.

Is there a way to force it to parse for highlighting?

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Just how large are we talking about here? –  Karan Nov 23 '12 at 21:32
    
@Karan I'm sorry, it's 14MB. –  Louis Dec 16 '12 at 2:37
    
Actually, I just noticed the Output window shows a warning: 'file.xml' is too large to open with XML editor. The maximum file size is '10' MB. Please update the registry key 'HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0_Config\XmlEditor\MaxFileSizeSupported‌​ByLanguageService' to change the maximum size. Changed that fixed it =! –  Louis Dec 16 '12 at 2:41
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It turns out the maximum file size for the XML editor is 10 MB. After changing the limit in the following key, syntax highlighting is back with no noticeable performance issues:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0_Config\XmlEditor\MaxFileSizeSupported‌​ByLanguageService

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