Comprehensive Guide on Installing Python in Visual Studio Code (VS Code)

A Comprehensive Guide on Installing Python in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a free, open-source, and streamlined code editor that is backed by Microsoft. It is best known for its efficiency, adaptability, and the capability to support a wide range of programming languages. Python, on the other hand, is a widely praised language recognized for its simplicity and readability. Naturally, integrating Python into VS Code is often regarded as one of the preliminary and most vital steps in setting up a powerful programming environment.

Why should we Install Python in Visual Studio Code?

Right off the bat, it’s important to understand why combining Python with VS Code is a highly productive approach. VS Code provides excellent Python language support, armed with features like syntax highlighting, intellisense, linting, debugging, and simplified code navigation. Moreover, with Python in VS Code, you can make use of productive coding environments like Jupyter Notebooks.

Prerequisites for Installing Python in VS Code

Before we dive into the installation procedure, it is critical to ensure that you have VS Code installed on your machine. If you haven’t, head to the official Visual Studio Code website and download the appropriate version based on your Operating System.

Step 1. Install Python

The first step is to ensure Python is installed on your device. If Python is not already installed, download it from the official Python website. You can select the version that suits your project requirements. The website automatically suggests the latest version for your operating system.

Step 2. Install the Python Extension in VS Code

Once Visual Studio Code and Python are installed, the next step is to install the Python extension in VS Code. This extension enables improved Python language services, including autocomplete, Linting, code formatting, debugging, and more.

Follow these steps to install the Python extension:

  1. Open Visual Studio Code.
  2. Click on the Extensions view icon on the sidebar or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+X.
  3. In the Extensions view, type Python in the search box, and it should list the Python extension by Microsoft. Click on Install.

Now you have the Python extension installed.

Step 3. Choose Python Interpreter

With the extension installed, the next step is to choose the Python interpreter. The Python extension allows you to select the Python interpreter to be used with VS Code for each workspace.

To select the Python interpreter, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the View menu and select Command Palette or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+P.
  2. In the command palette, type Python: Select Interpreter and select it.
  3. You will see a list of available Python interpreters that VS Code can find automatically, including virtual environments. Select your desired interpreter.

You have now successfully chosen a Python interpreter.

Step 4. Test the Setup

With all the steps completed, let’s test the setup by creating and running a simple Python script.

  1. Create a new file with the .py extension.
  2. In the file, type the following code: print("Hello, Python in VS Code!").
  3. Save the file.
  4. Right-click within the file and choose Run Python File in Terminal.

If everything is set up correctly, you will see the message Hello, Python in VS Code! in the terminal.

In Conclusion

Installing Python in Visual Studio Code is a simple process that results in a powerful and flexible development environment. The marriage of Python’s simplicity with VS Code’s efficiency paves the way for creating effective, powerful, and complex data-intensive applications. Start your journey towards mastery over both these tools today!

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