Saving values of debug session from watch window to a file


I have to trace some events I want to trace to monitor the operation of a multi-threaded application. For this purpose I defined an array of structs. Each element is one trace record.

enum Event { start, stop, pause };
struct A
    Event e;
    int x, y, z;

  A a[100];

There is also a function the writes the event to the array. The array a can be displayed in the watch window of Visual Studio, although not all struct members are displayed:

-       a               0x008ff4bc {{e=0xcccccccc x=0xcccccccc y=0xcccccccc ...}, {e=0xcccccccc x=0xcccccccc y=0xcccccccc ...}, ...}    A[0x00000064]
+       [0x00000000]    {e=0xcccccccc x=0xcccccccc y=0xcccccccc ...}    A
+       [0x00000001]    {e=0xcccccccc x=0xcccccccc y=0xcccccccc ...}    A
+       [0x00000002]    {e=0xcccccccc x=0xcccccccc y=0xcccccccc ...}    A

Since the array is rather large and the limitation of the watch I want to export the entire array content to a file. This could be done by adding a file export function to the code that is being debugged. But this is no handy, since the debugger is just in a breakpoint and it's not always possible to tell the application to run the export function.

How can I export the array with the values of all members? Is there an option to use the VS command window or probably immediate window to create a text file with the data?

asked on Stack Overflow Jan 23, 2020 by harper • edited Jan 24, 2020 by harper

1 Answer


Does it have to be a one-click export? You can select all, copy and paste into your output file. You can do it from Watch window, but the output is a bit more clear from either Immediate or Command windows.

You can beautify the format by creating a custom visualizer in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2019\Community\Common7\Packages\Debugger\Visualizers (use your version of the VS).

Here is how it may look, for example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<AutoVisualizer xmlns="">
  <Type Name="A">
answered on Stack Overflow Jan 23, 2020 by Vlad Feinstein

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