💻VSCode Productivity Tips

Published on
5 min read
  • avatar
    Kien Dang

This is a hand picked summary of what I use from Burke Holland's website and his course on frontend masters to improve my productivity with VSCode.

Useful Shortcuts

Opt/Alt + Shift + Up/Down ArrowDuplicate Code
Opt/Alt + Up/DownMove a line up or down
CMD/Ctrl + Shift + KDelete a line entirely
Multiple line cursors
CMD/Ctrl + Shift + Lall instances of a word becomes highlighted and can be manipulated
CMD/Ctrl + Dselects instances one at a time, CMD/Ctrl + K to skip an instance as you go through them
Extracting Methods
CMD/Ctrl + .Help dive deeper into the methods

Find and Replace

  • By clicking on the regex you can use the | (pipe) symbol to denote an additional word or field for multiple different strings using regular expression
  • Once found, you can press Opt/Alt + Enter which will bring your cursor to every found instance in the document and then use your arrow keys to move over to the front of the found instance
  • Replace all instances using F2 - it renames all instances and references to that word

Navigating in VS Code

CMD/Ctrl + Shift + PBrings you to the command palette*, removing the > brings you to the file switcher
CMD/Ctrl + PPVS Code will allow you switch to the last file you were at (toggling between the two like alt+tab on windows)
CMD/Ctrl + 0Brings you to the sidebar, you can move up or down using arrow (Windows: Enter to open fileMac: CMD + down)
CMD/Ctrl + 1Brings you to the editor (toggle between the two by pressing 0 and 1)
Ctrl/CMD + Shift + HFinds relative path of a file - (need to install RelativePath)

There are other things you can do with the command palette:

  • Using the symbol browser (@) to jump to any HTML code
  • "@:" will segment things off
  • "#" searches across files


One of the things that made me enjoy programming was how nice you can customize the colours of the editors. As a programmer you'll be living in VSCode for the most part, so you might as well make it yours and get comfy.

Font Ligatures

Makes the font easier to read by combining certain symbols like how we would combine them by writing it out by hand. This is up to personal preference, I didn't like it at first, but it definitely has grown on me. I use Fira Code with font ligatures enabled.

"editor.fontFamily": "Fira Code",
"editor.fontLigatures": true,

Material Icons

Adds icons to your folder, provides better cognition around what is in your project

"material-icon-theme.saturation": 0.75,
"material-icon-theme.folders.color": "#C5C5C9",
"material-icon-theme.folders.theme": "classic",

This saturates the colours ever so slightly, giving it a nicer look. I took this setting from Valley VSCode, there's a nice screenshot of how the folders look there.


  • Why?
    • By having the toolbar to the right side, our cognition is not affected since we tend to read from left to right. The code editor does not bounce around when we toggle the bar.
    • We want to hide our toolbar for more code editor space, making it on the right side would be ideal for toggling it.

Remove Open Editor

To change Explorer > Open Editors: Visible from 9 to 0

  • Why?
    • Do not use it as often, reduntant because you have tabs open
    • Allows more space for your files and your projects to be seen

Debugging Tips

Type Checking

  • Type //@ts-check at the top of your code to use the type checking feature on JavaScript
    • Does not scale though, be careful using this so you can do
    • javascript.implicitProjectConfig.checkJs
      • This allows VScode to check your project using the TypeScript compiler (insert it in settings)

Log points

  • Adding log points by right clicking the red dot on the left side of the number of line and then add a log message (alternative to console.log but you don't have to close your app to write console log) - check the debug console
    • You must put it in brackets because it string interpolation

TypeScript Debugging

  • How to start:

    • CMD/Ctrl + B to build or watch the file

    • Exclude .js files by right clicking the folder and adding a settings

      files.exclude: {
      	**/*.js: true,
      	**/*.js.map: true,
      "**/{*.js, *.js.map}: true (glob expression)
  1. Extensions:
  • Image Preview - Shows image preview on gutter
  • Autorename tag - renames opening and closing tag together at the time
  • Bracket pair colorizer - Allows bracket colours that correspond to each other
  • ES7 React Snippets - Fast way of generating boiler plate code for React
  • Highlight Matching Tag - Matches the opening and closing tags of HTML code
  • Indent Rainbow - Shows indentation colours for easier tracking of brackets
  • Path Autocomplete - Completes the path of your files you are trying to add
  • Version Lens - Shows version information when opening a project or package
  • DotENV - Adds syntax highlighting to .env files
  • GitLense - Blame annotation, tells you the name of the person, commit message
  • Better Comments - Create a nicer way to categorize your comments in code
  • Auto Import - Automatically parses and finds your imports
  • RelativePath - Allows you to find a files relative path for importing components

Saving all your VSCode settings

I use Settings Sync which is an extension that saves my VSCode settings on Github so I can easily sync when working on different machines. It saves everything including your downloaded extensions.

By no means is this post a substitute for Frontend Masters Visual Studio Code Can Do That course, I still recommend watching it as Burke has other topics regarding SQL, and Docker settings.