How to Disable Previewing the Solution Explorer’s Selected File in Visual Studio

If you are like me, you despise the automatic “preview” feature that comes enabled by default in Visual Studio 2013. 

It seems like a good idea:  select a file in the Solution Explorer and it is automatically opened in a special preview tab.  Unless it is already open in a tab, in which case that tab is selected.  Or if you edit the file, then the preview tab becomes a normal tab.  Select a different file and a new preview tab replaces the current one – unless the new file is already open.  Then it will select the existing tab, and keep the previous file open.

Confused?  Me too.

The net result of all these different scenarios is that I lose track of which files are open, all to save the horror of a second click.  Fortunately, Visual Studio provides a way to disable this option.  Even better you can disable all previews.  Because while I sometimes find the “Find in Files” preview useful, I am not a fan of unintentionally changing my context, which happens more frequently than I find it useful.

To disable previews go to Tools > Options, then Environment > Tabs and Windows and uncheck the “Allow new files to be opened in the preview tab” option.  If you prefer to keep some previews, you can select which of the previews to disable by unchecking only that specific option.

Tools-Options-Environment-Tabs and Windows