Visual Studio Code is becoming a standard text editor for developers.
Software Ethics and Visual Studio Code
The Microsoft releases of Visual Studio Code are proprietary software. They have telemetry enabled by default. If you prefer to avoid proprietary software, consider using the packages that are provided by the vscodium project instead.
Both Visual Studio Code and a number of extensions use telemetry. Always review the documentation for an extension before you install it, and look for notes about telemetry.
Installing Visual Studio Code
Installing Code on macOS
To install Visual Studio Code on macOS with Homebrew, enter this command in a terminal window:
brew cask install visual-studio-code
If you manually install Visual Studio Code, rather than using Homebrew, you will need to add the code executable to your PATH. To do this, start Visual Studio Code, open the command palette, and choose Shell Command: Install ‘code’ command in PATH.
Installing Visual Studio Code to a USB Drive
To run Visual Studio Code directly from a USB device, without installing it on the computer, use portable mode.
The EDITOR Environment Variable
Remember to set the EDITOR environment variable in your shell profile, so that this editor is automatically invoked by command-line tools like your version control system.
To make Visual Studio Code your default editor, use this line:
export EDITOR="code -w"
Visual Studio Code enables telemetry by default, and connects to remote services for various features, such as natural language search in settings. The FAQ explains how Code complies with the GDPR.
To disable telemetry and crash reporting, set these options in Preferences > Settings:
"telemetry.enableTelemetry": false, "telemetry.enableCrashReporter": false
To see settings for online services, search for @tag:usesOnlineServices in Preferences > Settings.
Microsoft also add telemetry to some of their extensions to Visual Studio Code. This means that you must check the description of each extension to know whether it will send data to Microsoft, even if you have disabled telemetry for Visual Studio Code itself.
Third-party extensions may also send telemetry data. Check the specific settings that each extension uses, because settings may not be correctly tagged.
Enabling Bracket Pair Colorizing
This feature was added in version 1.6.0. It supersedes plugins for the same purpose.
This feature automatically sets colors for matching brackets.
To enable it, add this setting:
Enabling Formatting on Save
Visual Studio Code automatically recognises if a formatter is available for the type of file that you are currently editing. The Format Document command runs the appropriate formatter on the current file.
To automatically format files on save, enable this setting:
Adding Extensions for Programming Languages
code --install-extension timonwong.shellcheck
You will need to install Shellcheck into the environment to use all of the features of this extension.
This feature was added in version 1.6.0.
Inlay hints add additional inline information to source code. This feature is subject to change.
Read the blog post for more details:
Setting up Collaborative Editing with Live Share
Use the Live Share service for collaborative editing between copies of Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code.
This service is proprietary, but free of charge. It requires you to use an official build of Visual Studio Code.
Extensions for Writing
Extensions for Software Development
- Git Lens to enhance the Git support in the user interface
- The Docker extension
- Prettier - Integration for the Prettier code formatter
- VSCodeVim to emulate Vim
- YAML Support