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Enable Support for UE4

Visual Assist includes features specific to development with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), including support for UE4 keywords, preprocessor macros, and solution setup.

Enable support for UE4 in the options dialog of Visual Assist.

Enabling support changes only the UI of Visual Assist. It does not affect the set of known symbols in a solution. As with non-UE4 solutions, known symbols are determined by #include directives and project include paths. The first time you open a UE4 solution, whether or not support in the UI is enabled, Visual Assist parses a multitude of UE4 engine headers. Thereafter, the symbols are available to all solutions that include them. If you cease all development with UE4, rebuild your symbol database to reclaim disk space and discard knowledge of all UE4 symbols.

Open File in Solution

The Open File in Solution (Shift+Alt+O) dialog can limit the domain of files listed/searched to those in the current solution. But because UE4 solutions typically include UE4 engine source, the domain of files in the dialog for a UE4 solution is typically always large. Exclude UE engine files from the dialog, thereby limiting files to those for gameplay, with a -\UE_4 filter.

Enhanced Syntax Coloring

Visual Assist does not apply its enhanced syntax coloring to U* macro invocations, e.g. UCLASS, but only to invocations that occur on a single line.

Invocations that span multiple lines are colored as if UE4 specifiers were user or system symbols.

With or without Visual Assist, Visual Studio applies coloring to UE4 specifiers that are also language keywords.

System Symbols in Italics

Visual Assist considers symbols that do not change, or that rarely change, to be system symbols. The symbols can be displayed in italics within the text editor, thereby differentiating references to them from symbols that have been overridden. System symbols are typically declared in shared system headers found via directory paths in project settings.

Visual Assist considers symbols declared in UE4 engine source, irrespective of where UE4 engine source is installed, to be system symbols. Therefore, enable italics to be confident you are referencing UE4 engine symbols when you expect to.

Enable italics in the options dialog of Visual Assist.

Smart Suggestions

Drop-downs of UE4 specifiers open when you type or modify U* macros, e.g. UFUNCTION. Separate sets of specifiers appear after a meta keyword within a macro invocation.

Enable the smart suggestions in the options dialog of Visual Assist.

Visual Assist obtains its suggested specifiers from several sources. Override the suggested set for a macro by creating a like-named VA Snippet. For example, replace specifiers for UINTERFACE to a lowercase-only set by defining a VA Snippet titled UINTERFACE.

Meta specifiers may be replaced by creating VA Snippets titled:


Values in a VA Snippet replace an entire set of suggested specifiers. Therefore, create a snippet to reduce or replace suggestions, not augment the default set.

VA Snippets

Suggestions lists that appear when typing invocations of U* macros do not include VA Snippets. For example, typing 'cl' does not suggest VA Snippets that expand to a class declaration.

Unreal Editor and Network Shares

UE4 source files can be opened in Visual Studio from with the Unreal Editor. Unfortunately, the editor's method of opening does not allow Visual Studio extensions, including Visual Assist, to edit the opened files if they are mounted on a network share. Visual Assist displays an error in such an instance.

If you see the error, make note of the file path and open the source file from within Visual Studio, e.g. via Open File in Solution (Shift+Alt+O). 

Registry Settings

Value Name Meaning
AllowSnippetsInUnrealMarkup Expand VA Snippets when editing U* macros with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4)
AlwaysDisplayUnrealSymbolsInItalics Prevent italics on solution symbols with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4)