Viewing Unit Test Output in Visual Studio


I’ve been using Visual Studio 2008 to write unit tests. I had a couple failing in very strange ways, and I wanted to add some debugging statements to watch the state of the code. I usually find this more useful than running a debugger. (If that seems weak, then I’ll just say that K & R agrees with me!) I can print whatever state I want and I don’t have to deal with breakpoints. Furthermore, once those debugging messages are in there, I can leave them there so they help out next time.

The problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to see Console output for unit tests. I kept trying to open various Output windows: Build output, Debug output, Refactor output. No Test output! Googling didn’t turn up anything. Today I was hitting the same problem, so I thought I’d try Googling one more time. I must have hit the magic search term combination, because this time all my top results were relevant.

It turns out to see a test’s output, you just double-click on the test summary line, and all the output is down at the bottom of that window. You get Console.Out messages and (more importantly) {Trace,Debug}.WriteLine(). Wonderful!

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