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Introduction to Visual Studio Code

This lesson introduces Visual Studio Code, a professional, open source and cross platform code editor. You’ll see how to get VS Code for your Operating System and the powerful features that make it a popular editor.

00:00 Hi! I’m Austin Cepalia with realpython.com, and today I’ll be showing you how to use Microsoft Visual Studio Code for Python development. I do have to warn you though, by the time you’re done with this course, you might not want to use anything else.

00:16 Visual Studio Code, or VS Code for short, is an open-source, extensible, lightweight, and cross-platform code editor from Microsoft. That’s right. This is a professional code editor that is open-source and extensible.

00:31 That means that you can download the source code, modify it to fit your needs, and even submit pull requests to help further development of the program. If you had told anyone 10 years ago that Microsoft would make a cross-platform open-source editor, they would have called you crazy.

00:47 But VS Code is part of Microsoft’s push into open-source, and I think it’s safe to say that the developer community has responded quite well. In this series, you’ll learn how to configure VS Code for Python development, start and edit Python programs, run unit tests, debug your program, and finally, work with source code management, like GitHub.

01:11 You can download VS Code from code.visualstudio.com. It’s available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and the editor is updated monthly with new features and bug fixes.

01:23 I’ll be using a Mac for demonstration purposes, but you should be able to follow along regardless of what operating system you’re running. Also, make sure you download Visual Studio Code and not Visual Studio.

01:35 If you’re at this website, you’re in the wrong place. Visual Studio is Microsoft’s much larger IDE that’s really popular with .NET development. Visual Studio Code is like its younger and more flexible little brother, and it works great with Python. In the next video, we’ll take a tour of Visual Studio and write our first Python program.

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Doug Farrell RP Team on July 20, 2019


I’m one of the writers on the RealPython team and I just wanted to say thanks so much for putting this together! Your presentation is really great, and very helpful to me. I’ve been developing with PyCharm (which is great), but have a need to switch over to using VS Code, and this was just what I needed to get started!

Again, thanks so much! Doug

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Austin Cepalia RP Team on July 22, 2019

Thanks for the kind words Doug, I’m glad the course helped you!

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Grouchy Old Fart on Oct. 11, 2023

Hi there,

That intellisense thing doesn’t work on my machine. Is there something I have to turn on?

Python 3.12 VS Code V1.83.0 Windows 10

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