Introducing Glyphfriend

During the Microsoft MVP Summit in November of this year, Mads Kristensen held a session on Visual Studio Extensibility and walked through the process of creating extensions for Visual Studio that can do all sorts of things and make the lives of developers easier. Extensions can range from extremely powerful such at Mads’ Web Essentials or Resharper to extremely basic like handling text highlighting or white-space.

I was inspired by Mads’ session so I spent a weekend tinkering with Visual Studio 2015 and decided to write an extension for it called Glyphfriend.

What is Glyphfriend?

Glyphfriend is an open-source Visual Studio 2015 extension to enhance the existing IntelliSense to display preview glyphs for many of the common glyph-based font libraries like Font Awesome, Foundation, IonIcons and more. I figured that there are so many Glyph libraries out there that developers use that I would take some of the most common ones and integrate them into Visual Studio’s IntelliSense.

Glyphfriend currently targets the following libraries :

You may notice that the ever popular Glyphicons library (that is built-in to the Twitter Bootstrap) has been left off that list.

This is due to a conflict with the built-in Intellsense in Visual Studio 2015 that can cause these items to be overridden by Bootstrap. The issue is still being discussed and hopefully a resolution will be put together soon.

Getting Started

Simply download the Glyphfriend extension and install it on Visual Studio 2015, which is available here. After doing this, you’ll just need to include the appropriate CSS files for the library that you want to activate IntelliSense for within your project (via direct inclusion or a NuGet package).

After you have added your libraries, Glyphfriend will handle detecting any classes that are present within them and pair them up with existing glyphs within the extension when you begin typing :


After installing Glyphfriend within Visual Studio, it will automatically detect any supported libraries and provide IntelliSense for them

Missing Something?

Glyphfriend is completely open-source and you can find the repository here on GitHub.

Many of the Glyph libraries that were chosen were just some of the most commonly used ones that I had come across, but I am sure there are plenty of those that may have been left out. If you find that one of your favorites is missing you can do one of the following :

  • Create an Issue / Request within the Issues area of the GitHub repository


  • Fork the Glyphfriend project on GitHub
  • Clone the repository on your local machine
  • Install the Visual Studio 2015 SDK (required in order to extend Visual Studio 2015)
  • Open the solution within Visual Studio 2015 and make your changes
  • Submit a pull request when you have completed your changes

I’ll try to address any major issues as they arise (and update this release accordingly), but pull requests are openly accepted and encouraged.