Amazingly Simple (and Fast) XML Formatting Trick

While pre-populating a SharePoint list instance with data, I find myself having to insert a large amount of unformatted data into an XML file in Visual Studio 2008. When formatted, the XML data consist of roughly 12000 lines. After I pasted the data into the file, Visual Studio took several agonizing minutes to format them into nicely human-readable form. Moreover, during this time, my computer’s CPU usage was also pegged at or near the maximum, rendering it practically unusable.

However, I found that if the XML data are already mostly formatted, then Visual Studio leaves them alone. So I tried to load the XML data into a text editor to see whether it could do the job faster. Unfortunately, my text editor isn’t capable of automatically formatting XML, and using regular expressions is too manual of a process.

Finally, I noticed that Internet Explorer loads and formats an XML file almost instantaneously. This suggests the simple trick of opening the XML file in IE, pasting the formatted XML content into a text editor to remove the extraneous hyphens, then pasting the results into Visual Studio. Doing so reduces the amount of time for the process from several minutes to just a few seconds.

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