I think all of us noticed the colors in the left margin of the editor of Visual Studio, but do you know what these colors mean? To be honest… I know that these colors are already there for more than five years. And I know that they have something to do with tracking changes in my code. But I never asked myself what they actually mean. This is quite strange because for at least five days a week, a couple of hours per day, I’m coding in the Visual Studio editor. I’ve seen wittingly or unwittingly these colored markers many and many times.

trackingchangescolorsvisualstudioTill today… I became conscious about it and decided finally to find out the details. Here are the scenarios:

Marker Different from file saved on disk? Different from file that was opened?
Nothing No No
Yellow Yes Yes
Green No Yes
Orange Yes No

The listed table covers all scenarios, but isn’t that clear. I saw somebody explaining it this way. I think it makes more sense:

Make a change = Yellow
Save the change = Green
Undo the change = Orange
Make the change again = Yellow

It’s good to know what it means. But if you like me, and you hit CTRL+S as often as your heart beat, I can imagine that it all is so green that it becomes useless. Then it’s good to know that you can disable this functionality, or that you can enable it when it is for some reason switched off. Go to: Tools > Options > Text  Editor > General and check or uncheck the option Track Changes.