DEV Community

Mohmed Ishak
Mohmed Ishak

Posted on • Updated on

5 Visual Studio Code Hacks That You Will Thank Me For (And They're Not Common Points Like "Install Prettier Extension")

Hello coders! You've always heard the same VS Code hacks over and over again like "install Prettier extension to format your code", "press alt + shift + down key to duplicate code", etc. In this article, I'll share some VS Code hacks which I don't usually see being shared around (except number 5, it's a pretty generic advice). You owe me a like if this article helps you.

[1] Open Files Automatically In A New Tab

Isn't it annoying when you've got file A opened and you want to open file B but when you click file B, file B does open but file A closes? You might double click file B to open in a new tab but does it disappoint you sometimes like it did to me? To overcome this problem, search for "workbench.editor.enablePreview" in your settings and uncheck the option. From now onwards, VS Code will always open files in a new tab.

[2] Change Color of Comments

Mohmed Ishak
Not forcing you, but some colors for comments just hit different. As for me, I prefer this exact green for my comments because it's easier to locate my comments in the codebase. To do this, in your settings.json file, add the following code, or if it already exists, delete it and replace with this code:

  "editor.tokenColorCustomizations": {
    "comments": "#229977" // change to any color you like
  },
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

[3] More Real Estate

Sometimes all you want is a larger view of the files, folders, and code. So you might consider zooming out by pressing ctrl + '-'. To zoom in press ctrl + '+'. Plus, press F11 which would hide the taskbar and header of VS Code, giving you more view of VS Code, hence more focus.

[4] Generate Custom Snippet

A custom snippet (if you don't know) is a template for code where you would type a few letters on your keyboard and the template/boilerplate code would be automatically generated which you can work on. If you still don't get it, it's the same thing as typing "rsf" in a React file which would generate a functional component (provided that you have installed the right extension). To make a custom snippet, just head over to this site https://snippet-generator.app/ and type your snippet. Be sure to fill up the tab trigger which are the keys that would trigger your snippet. Then copy the snippet it gives you. Come back to VS Code, go to File > Preferences > User Snippets > New Global Snippets (it might be different to navigate to this on a Mac, so Google it if you couldn't locate it). Paste the copied code. That's it.

[5] Change Theme in VS Code

Okay this is an obvious one (and yes, it goes against the title), but head over to https://vscodethemes.com/ and grab a new theme today. They've got a large collection of themes which can be previewed through an eagle's view.
Alt Text

Top comments (81)

Collapse
 
mitsuriou profile image
Mitsuriou • Edited

Great tips!

For the point [3], I would mention the option below, too:
"editor.mouseWheelZoom": true

This allows you to zoom only the editor with CTRL+mouse scroll, instead of the full GUI :)

Collapse
 
jyotishman profile image
Jyotishman Saikia

this point is really helpful. I would love to tweet this

Collapse
 
blackr1234 profile image
blackr1234 • Edited

I think, without this option, ctrl+scroll will just scroll up/down but not zooming in/out. Ctrl+"+" will still increase the font size of the whole GUI.

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Thank you, Mitsuriou!

Collapse
 
albas99 profile image
Faisal Albasu

This is great, I've always wanted to change the color of my comments to something more visible and it's always annoying when I want to open a file and it closes the current file I'm in. Thank you for these tips. Definitely worth sharing with the world.

Collapse
 
genius_rick profile image
IT-iddiot

You can install an extension called Better Comments to highlight your comments marketplace.visualstudio.com/items...

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Nice.

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

You're welcome!

Collapse
 
zulvkr profile image
zulvkr

What annoy me the most in code is I can't hide terminal fast and focus switching between terminal and editor quickly. Or may be I missed it..

I'm trying to make a new keyboard shortcut, but haven't figured the correct one.

Any suggestions?

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak • Edited

If you use the integrated terminal in VS Code, press ctrl + '`' (backtick key) to open and minimize (not delete) the terminal real quick. If you use an external terminal, press alt + tab to switch between VS Code and other windows including your external terminal. These shortcuts might be slightly different for Mac OS but definitely would be very similar to what I've mentioned in here.

Collapse
 
zulvkr profile image
zulvkr • Edited

The minimize terminal works! May be i just need to muscle memory a bit. Now i only need the cycle thing

Thread Thread
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Cool. 😊

Thread Thread
 
zulvkr profile image
zulvkr

I get the trick now. It turns out Ctrl + ` will focus on terminal instead of closing when it doesn't have focus on terminal itself. So I have to click it twice to close it.

Such a smart boy.. not. Annoying really.

Thread Thread
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

🤣👍

Collapse
 
kirancraft profile image
KiranCreativeCraft

Use ctrl+j to quickly toggle terminal

Collapse
 
uzair004 profile image
Muhammad Uzair

Part 1 is useful, when opening new file and older closes is quite annoying. But what i don't understand is how uncheck new tab option will work. Isn't it opposite. Like open file in new tab should be checked so vscode open every file in new tab ?

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak • Edited

I think we're referring to different settings. Anyway, open your settings.json file and add this if it doesn't work:

"workbench.editor.enablePreview": false
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode
Collapse
 
chriswood profile image
Chris Wood

ERRMYGERD that stupid tab replacing the last one thing makes me want to throw my computer into the toilet. Thank you these are all useful! I admit I am like the person who said the one they got the most out of was the alt shift down one though heeehe.

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Glad you liked them, Chris!

Collapse
 
stefannastic profile image
Stefan Nastic • Edited

Lately I've been also optimizing dev experience with development containers in VS Code. You can check out a how to here and some of main lessons learned here. My aim was mainly to support an open source project I lead, but I think it can be applied to any sort of projects.

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Thank you, I'll check them out.

Collapse
 
rkn_dev profile image
rkn

Nice tips, funnily enough the one I'll use the most is
"press alt + shift + down key to duplicate code"

... also that snippet site! I've been painfully doing mine by hand lol

Xoxo

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

😊

Collapse
 
reikrom profile image
Rei Krom
  1. If the tab name is in italics it'll get replaced when opening a new tab. If you double click the tab it'll change to non-italics and will persist.
Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Cool.

Collapse
 
cemuka profile image
Info Comment hidden by post author - thread only accessible via permalink
Cem Ugur Karacam • Edited

not common? change font size and change theme? seriously?

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

No, I didn't explain about changing font size. If you read my article carefully (and if you do try that shortcut out on your keyboard), you'll realize that pressing ctrl + '-' zooms out the entire VS Code content including the menu bar and side bar. In contrast, if you change the font size, the size of menu bar and side bar still stay the same. As for the theme part, I did mention it's an obvious point (because it goes against the title).

Collapse
 
cemuka profile image
Cem Ugur Karacam • Edited

"And They're Not Common Points Like "Install Prettier Extension"

So zooming and saying install a theme does not count as a common point right?

Thanks for clickbait content.

Thread Thread
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

You're welcome.

Collapse
 
yogesnsamy profile image
yogesnsamy

All good tips including number five. I wanted to give you a like just after reading number 1!

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Thank you. Fun fact: we're from the same country.

Collapse
 
yogesnsamy profile image
yogesnsamy

Oh how cool is this 😀 Hai!

Thread Thread
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Thanks for the support.

Collapse
 
justummar profile image
Justummar

Point 3, i thought that is why zen mode exists.

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

I just got to know this feature from you.

Collapse
 
badare_okiemute_kelvin profile image
OKIEMUTE BADARE

Nice tips

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Thank you.

Collapse
 
ipapoutsidis profile image
Ilias Papoutsidis

@Mohmed Ishak indeed very useful tips, a special the first one!!!

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Thank you very much.

Collapse
 
fahimahmed525 profile image
Md.Sanaullah(fahim)

Great post, VS code is really awesome 😎
Please keep continue.

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Thank you.

Collapse
 
thomasjyoung profile image
Thomas Young

The 1st point is super useful! Been annoying me for ages, when the current open file, gets replaced with another. Thanks :)

Collapse
 
ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak

Yes, it had been an unsolved mystery for years.

Some comments have been hidden by the post's author - find out more