7 Tips on How to Use Visual Studio Code Extensions

Did you know that over 70% of developers use Visual Studio Code as their primary code editor? This is largely due to its extensive extension ecosystem, which can vastly enhance your coding experience.

Whether you’re aiming to streamline your workflow or boost productivity, these seven tips will help you make the best use of Visual Studio Code extensions.

Let’s dive in!

Install from the Marketplace

To install Visual Studio Code extensions from the Marketplace, open the Extensions view by clicking the square icon in the Activity Bar on the side of the window.

Once the Extensions view is open, you’ll see a search bar at the top. Type the name of the extension you’re looking for into the search bar and press Enter. A list of matching extensions will appear.

Click on the extension you want to install. You’ll see an Install button in the extension’s detailed view; click it. The extension will begin downloading and installing automatically.

After installation, you might need to reload your VS Code window to activate the extension.

Follow these steps to enhance your coding environment with useful tools.

Enable/Disable Extensions

After installing your desired extensions, you’ll often want to enable or disable them based on your current project needs. To do this, open the Extensions view by clicking the Extensions icon in the Activity Bar on the side of the window. Here, you’ll see a list of all your installed extensions.

To enable an extension, click the ‘Enable’ button next to it. If you need to disable one, click the ‘Disable’ button instead.

This helps keep your workspace efficient and uncluttered, particularly when switching between different types of projects. You can also enable or disable extensions for specific workspaces, providing further customization.

Managing your extensions this way guarantees that you only use the tools necessary for your current tasks.

Custom Settings

Tailoring your Visual Studio Code environment with custom settings can drastically improve your productivity and coding experience. Start by navigating the settings page, where you can adjust themes, font sizes, and keybindings to fit your preferences. You can access these settings by clicking the gear icon at the bottom left, then selecting ‘Settings.’

To help you get started, here’s a quick reference table for some essential settings:

ThemeChange the look and feel of the editor
Font SizeAdjust text size for better readability
KeybindingsCustomize shortcuts for efficiency
Auto SaveAutomatically save files periodically

With these customizations, you’ll find your coding environment more comfortable and tailored to your needs.

Extension Packs

Extension packs in Visual Studio Code streamline the process of installing multiple related extensions with just one click. These packs are designed to save you time by bundling together extensions that enhance specific functionalities or workflows.

By way of illustration, if you’re working with Python, an extension pack might include extensions for linting, debugging, and code formatting.

To install an extension pack, open the Extensions view by clicking the Extensions icon in the Activity Bar. Use the search bar to find the pack you need and hit the Install button. This method guarantees you get all the essential tools without searching for each one individually.

Extension packs simplify setup and guarantee you have a cohesive set of tools for your projects.

Check for Updates

Regularly updating your Visual Studio Code extensions guarantees you’re utilizing the newest abilities and security enhancements.

To check for updates, open the Extensions view by clicking the Extensions icon on the Activity Bar. You’ll see a list of installed extensions. If updates are available, you’ll notice a small, circular arrow icon next to each outdated extension. Click this icon to update the specific extension.

Alternatively, you can update all extensions at once by clicking the ‘Update All Extensions’ button at the top of the Extensions view.

Keeping your extensions current ascertains ideal performance and compatibility with the latest Visual Studio Code version. Regular updates also fix bugs and introduce new features, enhancing your coding experience.

Use Command Palette

To streamline your workflow and access various capabilities quickly, the Command Palette in Visual Studio Code is an invaluable tool. You can open it by pressing Ctrl+Shift+P or Cmd+Shift+P on Mac. The Command Palette allows you to execute commands without needing to traverse menus. It’s particularly useful for actions like opening files, managing extensions, and running tasks.

> Open FileQuickly open any file
> Install ExtensionsAdd new extensions
> Git: CloneClone a repository
> Run TaskExecute a predefined task

Explore Keybindings

Keybindings in Visual Studio Code let you customize and streamline your development workflow by assigning shortcuts to your most-used commands. To get started, open the Keyboard Shortcuts editor by pressing Ctrl+K Ctrl+S. You can search for specific commands and see their current keybindings. If you want to change a shortcut, click on the command and press the new key combination.

  • Customize frequently used commands to augment productivity.
  • Use preset keybinding extensions to match other editors you know.
  • Export your keybindings to share with your team.
  • Reset to default if you ever need to start over.
  • Use keybinding cheatsheets to remember your shortcuts.

These steps can substantially enhance your coding efficiency.


By mastering Visual Studio Code extensions, you can convert your coding environment into a productivity powerhouse. Install them from the Marketplace, enable or disable as needed, and customize settings to your liking.

Use extension packs for related tools and keep everything updated. The Command Palette and Keybindings editor are your best friends for quick access and customization.

With these tips, you’ll wield the power of a coding wizard, making your development process more efficient and streamlined.