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

Mohmed Ishak
I'm Mohmed Ishak and I love to write short and concise tech articles when I'm free.
Updated on ・2 min read

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
  },
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[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.
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Discussion (79)

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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 :)

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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.

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jyotishman profile image
Jyotishman Saikia

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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you, Mitsuriou!

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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.

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genius_rick profile image
IT-iddiot

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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Nice.

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

You're welcome!

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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?

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author • 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.

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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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Cool. 😊

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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.

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

🤣👍

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kirancraft profile image
KiranCreativeCraft

Use ctrl+j to quickly toggle terminal

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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.

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you, I'll check them out.

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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 ?

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author • 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
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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.

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Glad you liked them, Chris!

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yogesnsamy profile image
yogesnsamy

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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

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

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yogesnsamy profile image
yogesnsamy

Oh how cool is this 😀 Hai!

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thanks for the support.

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__devking__ profile image
Dev King

Didn't know that we can add colors to comments! Thanks for this 😃

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

You're welcome, dude!

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justummar profile image
Justummar

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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

I just got to know this feature from you.

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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.
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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Cool.

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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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

😊

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rop89 profile image
Rita(they/them)

Great tips! Was completely unaware of the comments one 👍

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you so much.

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fahimahmed525 profile image
Md.Sanaullah(fahim)

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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you.

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tuxstyle profile image
Chris C

Which theme are you using? I like those popping colors.

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Monokai theme (available by default) + Bracket Pair Colorizer 2 extension for striking brackets.

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endershadow8 profile image
EnderShadow8

In fact, just go ahead and customise your entire colour scheme. #2 is a bit underwhelming tbh.

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

My bad.

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johnjacobkenny profile image
Kenny John Jacob 📘

Great points, I am sure beginners will appreciate them 🙂

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you.

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rangercoder99 profile image
RangerCoder99

Thank you, I knew some of them but I learned something new and usefull from reading this!

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

You're welcome.

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adegbengaagoro profile image
Agoro, Adegbenga. B

I think my favorite tip at this point in time is No. 5. Needed a new theme, seen some really nice stuff already. Thanks

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

You're welcome.

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charlibydesign profile image
Charli by Design

Great tips. I do find the tip for opening files in a new tab interesting as my VS Code has always opened files in a new tab and I never set it to do so. It’s just always done it. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

It's because you're the chosen one.

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skygil profile image
Skye Gilbreth

Great article! The first point is one of the most annoying things to me with VS. Thanks!

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Yeah, it annoys the heck out of every dev.

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badare_okiemute_kelvin profile image
OKIEMUTE BADARE

Nice tips

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you.

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prabhukadode profile image
Prabhu

Great ...

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you.

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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 :)

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Yes, it had been an unsolved mystery for years.

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computergeek profile image
Tech Guy

Found it helpful, thankyou

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

You're welcome, Tech Guy!

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inajaralopes profile image
InajaraLopes

Valeu! Muito boa essas dicas!

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

😊

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dim0147 profile image
Bon

To Select Language Mode for current open file, press "Ctrl + k" then release and press "m"

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Nice.

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david405 profile image
David Asamonye

Wow, I love these!

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you.

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ipapoutsidis profile image
Ilias Papoutsidis

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

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

Thank you very much.

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minhazhalim profile image
Minhaz Halim (Zim)

Thats really helpful,, thanks!!

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ishakmohmed profile image
Mohmed Ishak Author

You're welcome.

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