How to Format Code with Extensions in VSCode

Format Code with Extensions in VSCode
Format Code with Extensions in VSCode

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Format Code with Extensions in VSCode

In the world of coding, efficiency, and readability are paramount. Being able to format your code seamlessly can save you countless hours of debugging and make your codebase much more maintainable. Learn here how to Format Code with Extensions in VSCode.

Visual Studio Code (VSCode), one of the most popular code editors, offers built-in formatting options, but its true power lies in its extensibility through a wide range of extensions. In this article, we’ll explore the art of how to format code with extensions in VSCode, providing you with the tools to enhance your coding experience.

Why Code Formatting Matters

Before diving into the world of extensions, let’s understand why code formatting matters. Well-formatted code is easier to read and understand, both for yourself and for your collaborators.

It reduces the chances of introducing bugs and makes debugging a smoother process. Additionally, consistent formatting is crucial when working in a team, ensuring that everyone follows the same coding style. That’s why it’s important to learn how to Format Code with Extensions in VSCode.

Extensions vs. VSCode Built-In Formatter

When it comes to Format Code with Extensions in VSCode (Visual Studio Code), developers have a crucial decision to make: should they rely on the built-in formatter in VSCode or opt for a dedicated VS Code extension like Prettier? Both options offer code formatting capabilities, but they come with distinct features and considerations.

There are two ways to Format Code with Extensions in VSCode editor for beginners:

  1. Using VSCode built-in code formatting shortcuts
  2. Dedicated VS Code formatting extensions

Now, let’s talk about the above-mentioned two ways to format code in the VSCode editor in detail.

Basic Code Formatting Shortcuts

Efficiency is paramount for developers, and Visual Studio Code (VSCode) offers a plethora of keyboard shortcuts to streamline your coding workflow. When it comes to code formatting, these shortcuts can save you precious time and ensure your code adheres to your chosen style.

Here are some essential code formatting shortcuts in VSCode that every developer should know:

  1. Format Document: Shift + Alt + F
    • This shortcut will format the entire document based on your configured formatting settings.
  2. Format Selection: Ctrl + K followed by Ctrl + F
    • Highlight a portion of your code and use this shortcut to format only the selected text.
  3. Toggle Word Wrap: Alt + Z
    • While not a code formatter per se, toggling word wrap can help make your code more readable when lines are too long.

Language-Specific Shortcuts

  1. JavaScript/TypeScript Specific: Shift + Alt + F
    • When working with JavaScript or TypeScript, this shortcut formats your code according to the configured ESLint rules.
  2. HTML Format Document: Shift + Alt + F
    • When editing HTML files, this shortcut formats the entire document, ensuring clean and well-structured markup.
  3. JSON Format Document: Shift + Alt + F
    • When dealing with JSON files, this shortcut ensures your JSON objects are properly indented and formatted.

Custom Shortcuts

  1. Create Your Own Shortcut: File > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts
    • VSCode allows you to create custom keyboard shortcuts for specific formatting needs or extensions. Define your preferred key combination in the user or workspace settings.

Getting Started with VSCode Extensions

Installing Extensions

The first step in formatting code with extensions is to install them. Open VSCode and navigate to the Extensions tab. Here, you can search for and install various extensions that cater to your specific programming language or needs. Some popular extensions for code formatting include Prettier, ESLint, and Beautify.

Configuring Extensions

Once you’ve installed your desired extensions, it’s essential to configure them to align with your coding style preferences. Each extension typically comes with a set of customizable settings that allow you to fine-tune how your code should be formatted. Understanding and tweaking these settings is key to achieving your desired code formatting results.

Popular Code Formatting Extensions

1. Prettier

Prettier is a widely used code formatter that supports various programming languages. The Prettier extension for Visual Studio Code (VSCode) is a powerful tool that can significantly improve your code formatting workflow.

Prettier is renowned for its ability to enforce strict and consistent code formatting rules across various programming languages, making your codebase more readable and maintainable.

How to Get Started with the Prettier VSCode Extension

Getting started with the Prettier VSCode extension is a straightforward process:

  1. Install the Extension: Search for “Prettier – Code formatter” in the VSCode Extensions Marketplace and click “Install.”
  2. Configuration File: Create an .prettierrc or .prettierrc.json file in your project’s root directory to define your code formatting rules. You can also use a global configuration file.
  3. Customize Settings: Customize Prettier settings as needed. VSCode provides a user interface for adjusting Prettier preferences, accessible via the settings gear icon.
  4. Format Your Code: Prettier will automatically format your code according to your defined rules. You can also manually trigger formatting using the Shift + Alt + F shortcut (by default) or by right-clicking and selecting “Format Document.”

Video Tutorial

2. ESLint

For JavaScript and TypeScript developers, ESLint is a must-have extension. ESLint not only checks your code for errors but also provides formatting rules. You can define your code style in the ESLint configuration file and have VSCode apply it as you write code.

Getting Started with the ESLint VSCode Extension

Here’s how to get started with the ESLint VSCode extension to Format Code with Extensions in VSCode:

  1. Install the Extension: Search for “ESLint” in the VSCode Extensions Marketplace and click “Install.”
  2. Project Setup: Ensure that ESLint is installed in your project. If not, you can install it using npm or yarn, and create an ESLint configuration file (e.g., .eslintrc.js or .eslintrc.json) in your project root directory.
  3. VSCode Integration: Once the extension is installed, it will automatically detect your ESLint configuration. You can customize settings by opening your VSCode settings (settings.json) and adding ESLint-related configurations.
  4. Coding with ESLint: As you write code, ESLint will analyze your JavaScript or TypeScript files in real-time, providing feedback and suggestions directly in the editor.
  5. Code Fixing: When ESLint detects issues, you can apply automatic code fixes by clicking the light bulb icon that appears next to the issue or by using the Shift + Alt + F keyboard shortcut (by default).

Video Tutorial

3. Beautify

Beautify is a versatile extension that supports multiple programming languages. It offers customizable formatting options and allows you to format your code with a single click or keyboard shortcut.

Getting Started with the Beautify VSCode Extension

To start using the Beautify VSCode extension, Format Code with Extensions in VSCode follow these steps:

  1. Install the Extension: Search for “Beautify” in the VSCode Extensions Marketplace and click “Install.”
  2. Project Setup: Ensure that the programming language you’re working with is supported by Beautify. Most common languages, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JSON, and XML, are supported out of the box.
  3. Customization (Optional): If you want to customize Beautify’s formatting rules, you can create a .jsbeautifyrc file in your project directory or configure settings in your VSCode settings file (settings.json).
  4. Formatting Your Code: Beautify will automatically format your code as you type or when you save the file. You can also manually trigger formatting using the appropriate keyboard shortcuts or right-click context menu options.

Video Tutorial

Tips for Effective Code Formatting

  1. Consistency is Key: Stick to a consistent code style throughout your project. Extensions help enforce this consistency.
  2. Regularly Save Your Work: Extensions like Prettier often format your code upon saving the file. Make it a habit to save your work frequently to maintain clean formatting.
  3. Learn Extension Shortcuts: Most formatting extensions have keyboard shortcuts to trigger code formatting. Learning these shortcuts can significantly speed up your workflow.
  4. Review Formatting Rules: Take the time to review the formatting rules provided by your chosen extension. Understanding how the rules work can help you make informed customization decisions.
  5. Collaborate and Communicate: If you’re working in a team, ensure that everyone agrees on the code formatting rules and extensions used. Communication is key to maintaining a consistent coding style.


In the ever-evolving world of coding, efficient code formatting is a skill that can’t be overlooked. Visual Studio Code, with its extensive range of extensions, empowers developers to Format Code with Extensions in VSCode with precision and ease.

By selecting the right extensions, configuring them to your liking, and following best practices, you can streamline your coding workflow and produce clean, readable code.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are the advantages of using code formatting extensions in VSCode?
    Code formatting extensions in VSCode enhance code readability, reduce errors, and ensure consistent coding styles, making collaboration easier.
  2. Can I use multiple code formatting extensions simultaneously in VSCode?
    Yes, you can use multiple code formatting extensions together, but it’s essential to configure them harmoniously to avoid conflicts.
  3. Do code formatting extensions support all programming languages?
    The availability of extensions varies by programming language, but many popular languages have dedicated formatting extensions.
  4. How often should I format my code?
    It’s a good practice to format your code regularly, ideally upon saving the file, to maintain consistent formatting throughout your project.
  5. Are there extensions for code formatting in VSCode that are particularly suitable for beginners?
    Yes, extensions like Prettier and Beautify are beginner-friendly and come with default settings that work well out of the box.

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