Favorite Visual Studio Code extensions

Find some of my favorite Visual Studio Code extensions here, including screenshots and explanations why I think these are worth downloading.

Tobias Zimmergren
Tobias Zimmergren
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Table of Contents

I previously wrote about Favorite Visual Studio Code Extensions for Azure. This post was well-received but focused mainly on Azure-related extensions.

In this post, I want to line up all the favorite extensions I use for enhancing my productivity working with Visual Studio Code. There is, of course, an (almost) endless list of extensions available. However, these are the ones I recommend.

These extensions are not for a specific programming language. Instead, this post focuses on productivity in general, whether you are working with code, documentation, or just using it as an editor for everything.

Bracket Colorization - Find that matching bracket

I used an extension named Bracket Pair Colorizer a lot in the past. However, Visual Studio Code now comes with a built-in capability to do the same, and it appears to be a lot faster than the original. However, with a limited feature set in comparison.

Option 1. Enable the built-in VS Code bracket pair colorization

In your VS Code editor settings, ensure that you enable the bracketPairColorization setting.

Colorize the brackets of your code to make it easier to navigate.

This is enough for my needs most of the time, but if you want full-fledged colorization, you should look at the Bracket Pair Colorizer extension.

Option 2. Use the Bracket Pair Colorizer 2 extension

I relied on this heavily in the past, and it does make a difference. Download the Bracket Pair Colorizer extension, and you're set.

You can also configure the brackets', and it will look different depending on what theme you use for VS Code. Here is an example of the differentiation of colors in action to allow an easier way for the eye to discover the logic.

Read more:

Auto Rename Tag - Helps you rename the paired tag

I like the simplicity of this one. We often find ourselves in the editor and need to change from one tag to another. Unfortunately, the paired tag doesn't get modified most of the time.

The Auto Rename Tag extension helps you automatically modify the closing or starting tag.

Automatically rename the matching tag when you modify one of the tags in your code.

In my example, I am modifying an h3 tag to h5, which automatically ensures that the closing tag (or starting tag) is also updated. It's silly how simple this is, but it's precious for my productivity when editing markup.

Read more:

Prettier - Formats your code to make it prettier

There is a reason the Prettier extension has more than 19,000,000 downloads as I'm typing this.

The Prettier extension for Visual Studio Code.

Currently, these are the only languages supported by this extension:

  • JavaScript, TypeScript, Flow, JSX, JSON, CSS, SCSS, Less, HTML, Vue, Angular, Handlebars, Ember, Glimmer, GraphQL, Markdown, YAML

When you have changed your default Formatter in VS Code, you can start formatting your documents:

I'm listing my favorite parts of this extension, but the list goes on. I implore you to check it out.

  • Follow industry conventions for code, making it more readable for the next person to look at it.
  • We can easily create an environment where everyone conforms to the same code standards across your team(s).
  • Write consistent code with a consistent style. Whether flying solo or working in a team, consistency is key to any code and content maintenance.
  • Make code reviews more fun - for yourself and your colleagues. When the code is readable by everyone in a format your team agrees on, it becomes easier to work through code reviews effectively, individually or as a team.

Read more:

  • Prettier (Visual Studio Code Marketplace)

CodeSnap - Beautiful code snippets as images

Have you ever seen tweets and other social media shares of code snippets that look great? There are plenty of ways to create them, and one that I like in particular is CodeSnap.

Using this extension is easy; and it generates and saves images based on the selected code blocks, and they are ready to be shared with your network.

A CodeSnap code sample was created from inside Visual Studio Code.

Because it follows your Visual Studio Code theme, it produces code snippets that align with your editor experience. You can customize how the snippet should look by customizing the theme you are using!

Testing the CodeSnap extension using a dark theme, which results in a picture that corresponds to your theme.

Read more:

indent-rainbow - visualize the indented lines

Okay, another super simple idea that helps with navigating the files you are modifying.

A Visual Studio Code instance with the indent-rainbow extension installed shows how the indentation across the code blocks.

Read more:

Git Graph - Visualize your git history in VS Code

I have always enjoyed visualizing things, and the git log is no exception. I have used many different tools for working with Git, but these days I'm using either Windows Terminal (command line git), Visual Studio, or Visual Studio Code.

With Visual Studio Code and the Git Graph extension, we get this beautiful visualization of our Git history.

The Git Graph extension for Visual Studio Code helps with visualizing the git history in your repository.

Read more:

vscode-icons - Light up your directory tree

Another simple yet very effective extension is vscode-icons. Bring some life into your directory tree, and put familiar icons on the navigation structure.

You can see the vscode-icons extension enabled in the screenshot below, visualizing the folders and file types better than the native built-in configuration. This extension can help make it easier to navigate your projects.

Visual Studio Code extension 'vscode-icons' installed and showing the navigation structure with proper icons.

Markdownlint - Write your markdown correctly.

Many of us are working with many Markdown files. When you edit them using Visual Studio Code, the markdownlint extension helps you properly format the files according to standard practices.

Markdownlint extension helps to uncover formatting issues with markdown files.

The list of extensions goes on, but I will end it here to keep it digestible. These are some of my favorite extensions, and I wanted to share them as I've had questions over the years about several of the extensions I'm using.

Don't forget about the Favorite Visual Studio Code Extensions for Azure, which discusses Microsoft Azure-related extensions. It's a very beneficial post if you are in this space.

Thanks for tuning in!

Visual Studio Code

Tobias Zimmergren Twitter

Hey, I'm Tobias! I write about my experiences in designing, architecting, securing, and operating distributed cloud services. Nice to meet you ๐Ÿ‘‹

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