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💻My Web Development VS Code Settings, theme, Extensions, tips and tricks

lampewebdev profile image Michael "lampe" Lazarski Updated on ・6 min read

Visual Studio Code (3 Part Series)

1) 💻My Web Development VS Code Settings, theme, Extensions, tips and tricks 2) 💻The guide to Visual Studio Code shortcuts, higher productivity and 30 of my favourite shortcuts you need to learn 3) 💻 I released my own Visual Studio Code Extension Pack and here is how you can too!

I have been using a lot of editors and IDE's since I began programming.
Eclipse, Netbeans, Notepade++, Brackets Editor, Sublime Text 2, Sublime Text 3, Webstorm, Atom Editor and probably some more I forgot.

Currently, I'm using Visual Studio Code. According to google trends, it is also the most searched editor. There are some excellent reasons for that.

  • vs code feels fast. It is tough to get vs code to slow down. Usually, it is not the fault of vs code but a poorly implemented extension.

  • File search is super fast. It feels instant. Like there is no wait time.

  • It is lightweight but also has most of the things you need pre-installed. Search files, debugging, basic git GUI.

  • Nice theme support and customization support. You can pretty much change everything in vs code.

  • Excellent extensions! Think of an extension you need? Yeah vs code has that!

Okay, enough of praising. An editor is as good as the user that knows that editor! I assume you have installed vs code.

Theme, File icons, and Font-family

You will look at vs code for several hours every day.

Theme

I don't have the glow enabled and I did not add the custom CSS.

File icons

Simple icons is a minimalistic clean icon theme that has strong colors and clear icons so you can find the file you need even faster.

Font

It looks clean to me and has ligatures support.
My config (we will learn later how to set this config):

    "editor.fontFamily": "Hasklig, Consolas, 'Courier New', monospace",
    "editor.fontLigatures": true,
    "editor.fontSize": 15,

Extensions

This should be built-in into every editor! Have you ever had code where you didn't know where your { started and it then } ended?
Then this extension is what you need! It will give every { or ( a different color, so it is easier to look at the code.

This adds diffrent colors to every indent tab or space you do.
This also helps you to navigate your code faster.

.env Files are common these days and are used in a lot of projects. vs code out of the box does not have syntax highlighting support for these file type. This extension adds support for that.

Also, a must-have for every developer that has performance and speed in mind. It shows you how much in kb it would cost you to import this npm module or anything you can import.

This, for me, is a killer feature! Do you connect to your development environment over SSH? Do you use a docker container? Or do you use WSL? This extension makes it extremely easy to use all of them. The best part, even over SSH the search and opening of a file are not slower! This is like magic! I love this extension!

This replaces Intellisense. It is like Intellisense with AI-backed in. The tab-completion shows you the most used functions or parameters that other people use, so you have the most used on the right on top. This makes you more efficient!

This adds direct eslint support into vs code, and it helps you to fix your eslint problems. Also a must-have.

Settings

I'm not using the UI version of the settings interface. I rather like to use the JSON version. To open that press CTRL+SHIFT+P and then type open settings JSON. This will open the settings.json file, and you can edit it like any other JSON file.

Making the cursor stylish

    "editor.cursorBlinking": "smooth",
    "editor.cursorSmoothCaretAnimation": true,
    "editor.cursorStyle": "block",

The first line will make the cursor blink a little bit mor smooth with a fade-in-out animation.
The second line will animate the movement of the course, so it feels a little bit more natural.
The thrid line will change the appearance of the cursor to a block so you can find it more comfortable.
Now your cursor looks way better!

Making the font more readable

    "editor.fontFamily": "Hasklig, Consolas, 'Courier New', monospace",
    "editor.fontLigatures": true,
    "editor.fontSize": 15,

As described before I'm using the Hasklig font. Also, I like to have Ligatures; it makes the code more readable. I don't have perfect eyesight. So I like the font to be a little bit bigger.

Copy and Paste code

    "editor.formatOnPaste": true,

We all copy and paste some code from the internet. So this setting will also format it on paste.

Make the vertical guidelines visible

    "editor.renderIndentGuides": true,

If you have a long function with a lot of indentation, this will help you to navigate your code easier.

Disable telemetery

    "telemetry.enableTelemetry": false,

Even when I use vscode-insiders, I don't need to send my data to Microsoft. So I disable that

See tabs that have been modified

    "workbench.editor.highlightModifiedTabs": true,

Unsaved files have that big dot where the x if you did not save. This will also add a line on the top of the tab.

Tipps and Tricks

Using WSL

WSL or windows subsystem for Linux is a fantastic way to run Linux on Windows and have access to the Linux development experience that for me is way better than the one on windows.
I don't want to install git under windows and also not things like nodejs. There is a pretty nice way to integrate the git version of your wsl Linux into vs code. You need to download WSLGIT and then put the exe file in a nice place and add the following line to your vs code settings:

    "git.path": "D:\\dev\\wslgit.exe",

Also vs code has an integrated terminal. You can open that terminal with ctrl+\`. We also want to have a bash in vs code so we can add the following line:

    "terminal.integrated.shell.windows": "C:\\WINDOWS\\System32\\wsl.exe",

This tells vs code to use the default wsl linux shell. In my case, it is Ubuntu, which comes with bash.

Use the command pallet

I often see people clicking around to find settings or other features in vs code. Usually, it is easier just to type what you want. For this vs code has the command pallet. Just press CTRL+SHIFT+P. This will open the command pallet, and you can just type what you want!
If you don't want to press SHIFT, then you can just press CTRL+P and type a >, if this is faster for you. CTRL+P is also useful to find a file you need.

Reopen your latest closed file

Just press CTL+SHIFT+T. This will reopen the latest closed window. You can press this is multiple times to open multiple windows. This also works in your browser if you closed a tab that you don't want to ;)

Delete a complete word

This is not vs code specific, but sometimes I can hear people pressing the backspace key as fast as they can to delete a word. Please just press CTRL+BACKSPACE. This will delete the whole word.

Delete a complete line

Sometimes you want to delete the complete line. Just press CTRL+X. This will delete the currently selected line completely.

The end

Do you use vs code? What is your must-have extension?
Did I miss some crucial settings? Is some shortcut missing? Please comment down below!

Thanks for reading!

Say Hallo! Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn | Medium | Twitch | YouTube

Visual Studio Code (3 Part Series)

1) 💻My Web Development VS Code Settings, theme, Extensions, tips and tricks 2) 💻The guide to Visual Studio Code shortcuts, higher productivity and 30 of my favourite shortcuts you need to learn 3) 💻 I released my own Visual Studio Code Extension Pack and here is how you can too!

Posted on by:

lampewebdev profile

Michael "lampe" Lazarski

@lampewebdev

I'm a full-stack web developer. I love to help people.

Discussion

markdown guide
 

Great guide!

here is another tip: to delete a line on VS Code you can also use ctrl+shift+k

ctrl + x cuts the line, this might be a problem if you have text in your clipboad that you want to paste later, which happens to me often enough to make a change to a 3-key shortcut

 

There are so many more shortcuts. Maybe I should write just a post about how to use vs code with keyboard shortcuts 🤔

 
 

yeah, vim mode is in vs code by default!

My problem is I never got used to it :)

 

Great tips! My top extension would be AutoSync. Makes a backup gist of your settings & extensions on GitHub, so it's easy to download to a fresh install of VS Code!

 

Yeah, I used that too.

The interface and the UX of that extension is just a pain for me 🤣.

I would love to see something nicer and easier to use.

 

It's already got user friendly interface with last updates, check it!) You won't be disappointed. Creating a new backup on clean installation can be done in two clicks

 

Yes, I have tried too many of editors like you did! some of it needs a decade to load and the other's isn't completely free or comes with limited features.

The vscode has everything plus super fast including unlimited free addons from worldwide web developers.

I removed all old editors and installed vscode and it really the best of them all.

 

Yeah exactly.

At first, I was skeptical because it comes from Microsoft but they are changing and I really like that Microsoft open sources more and more apps.

 

This is an interesting insight into how people view Microsoft. I started my career out with Classic ASP then transitioned to .NET then in 2012 I went to Node.js, Angular and eventually React.

Coming from .NET I used VS Code the first day it was offered in Beta and never left. Even though it progressed in performance and extensibility over the years I’ve always thought it was better then Sublime and Atom IDE for JavaScript, CSS and HTML development.

Microsoft in my mind has done one thing better then all of its competitors over the past 20 years which is build amazing tools for software development especially in the IDE space. All versions and iterations of Visual Studio over the years have been leaps and bounds over any of its competitors starting from its first release of Visual Studio 97 also known as Visual InterDev which I started out with up until now with VS Code.

Besides that they fail at almost everything else unfortunately which could be a blog post in itself in its attempts at success in every business sector which led to historical failures over the years.

Great article by the way. I had a bad experience working with WSL on my windows laptop which I needed to work on IBM carbon component library so I just decided to use my Mac instead which is my preference anyway. I’m starting to see a lot of articles and posts out there around WSL so it’s definitely growing in popularity.

The thing is a few years ago I was an Arch Linux User and at work, I'm still a Linux user. Installing packages and software and dependencies were just so much better in Linux and if you picked the right hardware you had no problems installing Linux at all.

Bash or ZSH or whatever terminal you are using was just so much better.

Also, performance over Windows the same laptop was like night and day!

Windows was just slow and sluggish.

I never used ASP.net or Visual Studio.

I still prefer open-source then closed source software.

WSL2 will be amazing! It is a fast Linux VM that has almost zero overhead and the tooling for it gets better and better!

and Thank you :)

 

I find GitLens to be an excellent extension. Very useful to see the git history per line of code.

 

Yeah at work I have also installed GitLens but it is not a must for me. I find it helpful when you work in teams and you want to see who to ask if you don't understand something.

For my pet projects I usually just use the terminal for git commands :)

 

Yeah, for pet projects where you're the only one writing code it might be overkill :)

 

I've got to have Code Spell Checker, and Auto-Close & Auto-Rename.
Plus I've been using Fira Code iScript as my font. And I'm loving it It's on GitHub at Fira Code iScript

 
 

Hey man, just came across this article few days ago, great tips. Just finished installing everything. One quick thing, sorry if I missed it, is it a good idea to plug your IDE directly into a git project? How can you do so with VS Code?
Thanks

 

Hey, nice to hear that.

I don't fully understand what you mean with plug your IDE directly into git?

I use the command line but still, I see the changed files and new files in vscode.

A lot of people are using Git Lens its an extension for vscode that integrates git even more into the IDE.

In the end do what is best for you and what feels the best for you :)

 

Yeah sorry for the vagueness, wasn't quite sure how to put it.

Basically just something that shows what files/lines are changed directly in your editor, then some basic git commands too. I think that does clear it up a bit. I'll check out Lens and see if it does what I need.

Thanks for the help :)

But this is already in vscode without any extension :)

 

That's great. My VS Code takes around 5 mins to settle and load extension. Even the intellisence doesn't work that great. I like VS code though. I use VS code for Python and JS apps development. Can you suggest something over here ?

 

5 Minutes?
How many extensions do you have? xD

You can load extensions by workspace.

Or do you need all of them every time?

 

VSCode has finally graduated into the bigtime. It is now a buggy FUBAR app that will not rename or delete files.

 

Have you tried renaming / deleting files after disabling all your extensions? I doubt VSCode would have released such a major bug in their IDE, it's more likely an issue to do with a poorly written plugin.

 

No I haven't disabled all of the extensions I have loaded. I suppose that's a consideration.

 
 

Never had this problem. Even with shaky ssh connection it works good 😊👍

 

I found issues using WSL as the primary shell in Code because it overrides the way commands are executed from tasks and often it'll think it's executing the Windows version but get a Linux version (or vice versa). Because of this I've pretty much ditched running anything in Code on Windows and do it entirely via Remote + WSL.

 

Yeah, I don't have any dev tools installed on windows directly I only use WSL or remote!

I also don't want to go back to windows for development. At least in the current state.

 

Wow! I’ve been waiting for an article like this- I am still learning all the cool things VS Code can do. Can’t wait to implement some of these!!

 

Nice to hear! Thank you!

Are there any topics about vs code you would like to hear more about?

 

I'd love to know about different ways you might go about getting really efficient when working between several open windows - for example, working in VS Code alongside Postman, Chrome, debugging window, etc. It can get to be a lot! Someone must have a better system of making that easier! Lol!

That's a good question!

ALT+TAB and ALT+SHIFT+TAB.

To switch around the windows.

But maybe someone also has a better method.

People on OSX use different desktops but that's for me the same as using ALT+TAB.

Instead of postman I use REST Client

 

Nice write up, there are some nice tips here.

One thing I love about VS Code is the built-in git integration, specifically the file diff interface. Sure, I could do this on the command line, but having a UI for it makes it so much easier!

 

yeah the diff tool is actually pretty nice :)

I don't use often git diff but when I do I use the vscode ui for that

 

I'd like to add that ctrl+X is actually the keyboard shortcut for Cut. You can then use crtl+V to paste the line you just cut somewhere else.

 

Yeah, but in vs code if you don't have anything selected it will cut the complete line!

 
 

I also mainly use Visual Studio code. And when something doesn’t work out for me, or any questions arise regarding web development in general, then I look for answers on such blogs - softwarereviewjournal.com. By the way, I highly recommend reading it, this information will be useful for both beginners and experienced web developers.

 

Thanks, I missed the new Intellisense :)

 

Yeah, they announced it once as far as I know :D

I think someday it will be the default one.

 

great, I'd also mention the REST Client extension :)

yeah, this also a great one!

I used it while developing API endpoints in nodejs :)

 

hello dear Michael
i am happy to read your text - i like it very much. Can you give us more hints to run VSCode or VSCodium on mx-linux:

cf : I use VSCode daily and it is widely used, i am shocked it is not in stable repo. Please add VSCode to the package list.

forum.mxlinux.org/viewtopic.php?f=...
we look forward to hear form you -regards tarifa

 

Great post! I’m definitely going to try these out later 👌👌

 

Thank you!
Tell me what you liked the most and what you didn't liked?

 

The cursor style is subtle but great!

I'll be trying Synthwave theme though I've been using and enjoying Night Owl for a while now.

Disabling telemetry is smart. Didn't know this was an option and I always like sending my data 👍

I'll have to check out Remote Development sometime but I don't do much remote file editing with any of my projects.

Also mentioning ESLint I use WesBos' config and I can't give it enough praise.

Usually I add eslint to the project and then go with the style of the project. 😊👍

 

Super! I've added a lot from your list! Thanks you. :)

 

Your welcome :)

Nice to hear to that it was useful for you :)

 

Thanks for sharing.
I have just started coding on my own and hope to get more help from you.
Just started with HTML/CSS
Will welcome any help from u.

 
 

Thanks!
For me it's just more clear where the cursor is.
So I don't have to search for it on a big screen :D

 
 
 

Super useful article. Definitely implement these tips into my Dev environment.

 

Nice to hear!

Have a fantastic day

 

Nice article. Some really beautiful settings, thanks.

 

thank you for your nice comment :)

 

Nice article! Don't forget git graph!

 

I'm old school when it comes to git. I use it in the terminal 🤣

 
 
 

yeah that works too

For me its just faster to pres CTRL+SHIFT+P :D

 

Great tips. Thanks.

I am using Fira Code font (github.com/tonsky/FiraCode). It is better to view math symbols and operators.

 

Fira is very popular.

But I had it to long :D

I needed something new!

 
 

Was not using "Import Cost" before.... I loved it. Great post

 
 

The editor configuration is very useful! Great tips!