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.
Step 1: Install the tools required
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.
On Mac or Linux, use the same command to verify Python installation in the console.
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.
Install Python extension in VS Code
While you could run Python programs using the default installation of Visual Studio Code, the Python Extension makes it much easier. This extension saves a lot of time when you have to run the program multiple times. Follow these steps to install it:
- Launch VS Code. From the sidebar, select Extensions. This will open an extensions panel.
- Search for “Python” in the search box and click on Install.
- After installation, reload/ restart Visual Studio Code.
Step 2: Create a Python program
With Python installed in your machine, you’re ready to write basic Python code in Visual Studio Code for testing. If you already have a Python program ready to be run, skip to Step 3. Otherwise, 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.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.
Step 3: Run the Python program in VS Code
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 tab 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 the example we created in Step 2, type:
Then hit Enter.
It will run the python file. As you see, I successfully ran the program.
Python Extension Shortcut
The problem with the above method is that we’ll have to retype the code each time we want to run it. This is where Python Extension is useful. The extension will add a Run button in the top-right.
Clicking on the Run button it will run the python file directly within the integrated terminal in Visual Studio Code.
You’re now 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.