Python is a general-purpose programming language. It’s easy to learn and use also has libraries that allow you to build software, apps, and websites. This article shows you how to get started with Python development in Visual Studio Code.
Things to do before you can run Python in VS Code
Verify The Python Installation
Before installing Python, we should check if we have Python already installed. If you’re on Windows, open a command prompt window, and type
Then press Enter.
Download And Install Python
If you don’t have Python installed, follow these steps:
- Go to python.org/downloads. Click on the download button to begin downloading the latest Python version.
- When given the option, choose to run the installer. After the installer starts, be sure to enable Add Python to PATH. Then run the download and select Install Now. There’s no need to further customize the installation.
Installing Python Extension
While you could run Python programs using the default installation of Visual Studio Code, the Python Extension will make it much easier. This extension will save a lot of time when you have to run the program multiple times. Follow these steps to install the extension:
- From the side bar select Extensions. This will open an extensions panel.
- Search for “Python” in the search box and click on Install button.
- After installation, reload/ restart Visual Studio Code.
Creating Python Program
With Python installed in your machine, you’re ready to write basic Python code in Visual Studio Code for testing. Follow the below steps:
- Create a folder to store your Python programs. Click Open folder.
- Create a folder in the preferred directory. I’m going to call it “Test.”
- You’ll see a project explorer view for your project, which shows programs or directories for your project. Now, we can create a Python program in this folder by pressing the New File button next to your folder heading. I will call it “hello.py”, as it will print out the words “Hello World.” Note that I put .py, which is the extension for python files.
- Save the file.
You can run the python program in the terminal through the default code, or by using shortcuts supported by the Python Extension.
- Select New Terminal from the “Terminal” section or use the shortcut CTRL ~ to run this program. It will open a terminal panel below the code editor area.
- To launch your python file in the terminal, type python followed by the name of the python file. For this example, type
Then hit Enter.
It will run the python file. As you can see, I successfully ran the program.
Python Extension Shortcut
The problem with the above method is that we’ll have to type the code every time we want to run the code. This is where Python Extension is useful. The extension will add a “Run” button in the upper-right corner.
Click on the Run button and it will run the python file directly within the integrated terminal in Visual Studio Code.
You’re ready to write and run python programs in Visual Studio Code! Installing Python Extension streamlines the running process – try to explore some of the other benefits provided by the extension.