The Custom Document Well extension is only available for Visual Studio 2017. Is there a way to install it for Visual Studio 2019? Specifically, I only care about the vertical tabs feature.

As of the time of writing this question, the current version of Visual Studio 19 is 16.0.0 and the current version of the Custom Document Well extension is 15.06.


4 Answers 4


Update #2

Vertical tabs are out of preview and are now officially part of Visual Studio 2019 v16.4!

Update #1

The new "Vertical Document Tabs" feature is part of Visual Studio 2019 version 16.4 Preview 2. There is also a dedicated blog post.

Original answer

  1. Download CustomDocWell.vsix
  2. Unzip the file, e.g. rename it to CustomDocWell.vsix.zip and extract the contents
  3. Download the workaround extension.vsixmanifest (non-raw page)
    • The only change is that the upper bound of the InstallationTarget version has been removed
  4. Replace the original extension.vsixmanifest with the workaround file
  5. Download the workaround manifest.json (non-raw page)
    • The only change is the sha256 for extension.vsixmanifest has been recalculated
  6. Replace the original manifest.json with the workaround file
  7. Zip the contents into a new CustomDocWell.zip
    • Important: Make sure the root of the zip file is at the level of extension.vsixmanifest and manifest.json, as well as the other files and folders. The root of the zip file should not be a folder named CustomDocWell.
  8. Rename to CustomDocWell.vsix
  9. Run the VSIX file

If you don't get any errors you'll still get a warning when you open Visual Studio 2019:

Deprecation warning

The extension will still work; the Learn more link explains more.

The settings are under Tools > Options > Productivity Power Tools > Custom Document Well.


If you get an error it's likely that the sha256 of extension.vsixmanifest is incorrect. You can try calculating it on your own (PowerShell has Get-FileHash) and putting it in manifest.json.

  • 4
    All this time, it was working but artificially blocked... WOW!
    – Yepeekai
    Apr 4, 2019 at 19:55
  • 2
    Not a deal breaker but: For color coded Regex, it works for the file name only, if you try to include folder structure in the expression, it is not detected ex: .*\\Framework\\.*\.cs
    – Yepeekai
    Apr 4, 2019 at 20:17
  • 6
    Read the release notes before installing visual studio updates. This workaround no longer works in Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.1.0 Preview 1.0. Apr 11, 2019 at 20:35
  • 10
    In 16.1 you can re-enable synchronous loading and still use this extension. devblogs.microsoft.com/visualstudio/…
    – Ryan_S
    May 22, 2019 at 15:02
  • 7
    You can download a ready to use Custom Document Well installer for VS 2019 with these changes from my site: tabsstudio.com/documentation/… Jul 27, 2019 at 13:28

For this workaround to work with VS 16.1, just click "Allow synchronous autoload" in the warning banner and restart VS. It will allow the use of the deprecated sync APIs... until the feature comes build in !

For those who have hidden the banner, check this option: Options/Environment/Extensions/Allow synchronous autoload of extensions


In addition to Andrew Keeto's answer: After step 4, in extension.vsixmanifest in the section Add:

<InstallationTarget Version="[15.0,)" Id="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Pro" />
<InstallationTarget Version="[15.0,)" Id="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Enterprise" />

Or update the max version:

<Installation InstalledByMsi="false">
    <InstallationTarget Version="[15.0,17.0)" Id="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Community" />
    <InstallationTarget Version="[15.0,17.0)" Id="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Pro" />
    <InstallationTarget Version="[15.0,17.0)" Id="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Enterprise" />
    <Prerequisite Id="Microsoft.VisualStudio.Component.CoreEditor" Version="[15.0,17.0)" DisplayName="Visual Studio core editor" />

I've recalculate the SHA265 for the manifest.json at https://emn178.github.io/online-tools/sha256_checksum.html and replaced it with the sha265 code for extension.vsixmanifest

  • I didn't need to make these changes in order for it to work on the Enterprise edition. I suspect the Id attribute is just a lower bound. Apr 12, 2019 at 20:36
  • @hvk You only need the first installation target line. Anything higher is automatically included.
    – Yann Duran
    Jul 20, 2019 at 13:53
  • For me, it didn't work without there changes, but did work with these changes. So, if you are stuck, try this out.
    – hvk
    Aug 29, 2019 at 9:21

This answer is a copy of @Sergey-Vlasov 's comment. Go to his website and follow the instructions.

You can download a ready to use Custom Document Well installer for VS 2019 with these changes from my site: https://tabsstudio.com/documentation/installing-custom-document-well-for-visual-studio-2019.html – Sergey Vlasov Jul 27 at 13:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .