How to: Use the Call Stack Window
This article applies to Visual Studio 2015. If you're looking for the latest Visual Studio documentation, use the version selector at the top left. We recommend upgrading to Visual Studio 2019. Download it here
By using the Call Stack window, you can view the function or procedure calls that are currently on the stack.
The Call Stack window displays the name of each function and the programming language that it is written in. The function or procedure name may be accompanied by optional information, such as module name, line number, and parameter names, types, and values. The display of this optional information can be turned on or off.
A yellow arrow identifies the stack frame where the execution pointer is currently located. By default, this is the frame whose information appears in the source, Disassembly, Locals, Watch, and Autos windows. If you want to change the context to another frame on the stack, you can do that in the Call Stack window.
When debugging symbols are not available for part of a call stack, the Call Stack window might not be able to display correct information for that part of the call stack. The following notation appears:
[Frames below may be incorrect and/or missing, no symbols loaded for name.dll]
In managed code, by default. the Call Stack window hides information for non-user code. The following notation appears instead of the hidden information:
Non-user code is any code that is not "My Code You can choose to display the call stack information for non-user code by using the shortcut menu.
By using the shortcut menu, you can choose whether to see calls between threads.
The dialog boxes and menu commands you see might differ from those described in Help, depending on your active settings or edition. To change your settings, select Import and Export Settings on the Tools menu. For more information, see Customizing Development Settings in Visual Studio.
To display the Call Stack window in break mode or in run mode
- On the Debug menu, select Windows and then click Call Stack.
To change the optional information displayed
- Right-click the Call Stack window and set or clear Show <the information that you want>.
To display non-user code frames in the Call Stack window
- Right-click the Call Stack window and select Show External Code.
To switch to another stack frame
In the Call Stack window, right-click the frame whose code and data that you want to view.
Select Switch to Frame.
A green arrow with a curly tail appears next to the frame you selected. The execution pointer remains in the original frame, which is still marked with the yellow arrow. If you select Step or Continue from the Debug menu, execution will continue in the original frame, not the frame you selected.
To display calls to or from another thread
- Right-click the Call Stack window and select Include Calls To/From Other Threads.
To view the source code for a function on the call stack
- In the Call Stack window, right-click the function whose source code you want to see and select Go To Source Code.
To visually trace the call stack
In the Call Stack window, open the shortcut menu. Choose Show Call Stack on Code Map. (Keyboard: CTRL + SHIFT + `)
To view the disassembly code for a function on the call stack
- In the Call Stack window, right-click the function whose disassembly code you want to see and select Go To Disassembly.
To run to a specific function from the Call Stack window
- In the Call Stack window, select the function, right-click and choose Run to Cursor.
To set a breakpoint on the exit point of a function call
To load symbols for a module
- In the Call Stack window, right-click the frame that shows the module whose symbols you want to reload and select Load Symbols.
In the Call Stack window, you can load debugging symbols for code that does not currently have symbols loaded. These symbols can be .NET Framework or system symbols downloaded from the Microsoft public symbol servers or symbols in a symbol path on the computer that you are debugging.
To load symbols
In the Call Stack window, right-click the frame for which symbols are not loaded. The frame will be dimmed.
Point to Load Symbols From and then click Microsoft Symbol Servers or Symbol Path.
To set the symbol path
In the Call Stack window, choose Symbol Settings from the shortcut menu.
The Options dialog box opens and the Symbols page is displayed.
Click Symbol Settings.
In the Options dialog box, click the Folder icon.
In the Symbol file (.pdb) locations box, a cursor appears.
Type a directory pathname to the symbol location on the computer that you are debugging. For local debugging, this is your local computer. For remote debugging, it is the remote computer.
Click OK to close the Options dialog box.