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How I Increased My Productivity With Visual Studio Code

Michael Hoffmann (Mokkapps) - Senior Frontend Developer (Freelancer)
May 31, 2018
4 min read
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Productivity
Development
Tools
How I Increased My Productivity With Visual Studio Code Image

In this post, I will describe how I increased my productivity by learning to use Visual Studio Code more efficiently.

But in general, always consider this advice as it is essential:

Learn your IDE/Editor so that you can use it in the most efficient way!

Why Is This Important

Looking back at myself as a programmer at the beginning of my professional software developer career, I would give myself the advice mentioned above. In my first days as a developer, I did most of my code interactions with the mouse and did not optimize my IDE or text editor.

Today I think I can navigate my code more efficiently and have more time for more important things.

My Productivity Tips

Learn The Most Important Keyboard Shortcuts

In my opinion, this is the most crucial step you can take as a developer. Take the time and learn the most often used shortcuts you need throughout the day.

Here are some of my most used OS X shortcuts:

If you are a Windows or Linux user, please check the appropriate shortcuts: Windows Shortcuts, Linux Shortcuts.

  • CMD + P: Opens the command palette, and you can search for any file. Example: Enter cdcts to search for customer-details.component.ts, which is the fastest way to jump to a specific file. You should use this approach instead of navigating in the Explorer by mouse. Quick Open
  • CMD + D: Finds and selects the next match for the currently selected word. Multicursor word
  • CMD + arrow down/up: Move cursor to end/beginning of the current file
  • CMD + arrow right/left: Move cursor to end/beginning of current line
  • Option + arrow right/left: Move cursor by word
  • Option + Shift + arrow right/left: Make selection by word
  • Option + arrow up/down: Move current line up or down
  • Option + Shift + arrow up/down: Duplicate current line one line above or below
  • CMD + Shift + K: Delete current line
  • CMD + B: Toggle Sidebar visibility
  • CMD + Shift + F: Search across files
  • CMD + .: Provides quick fixes. For example, I use this mostly to automatically rearrange my imports by the given linting rules.
  • CMD + Option + arrow left/right:
  • Multi-cursor: Multi-cursor are very helpful to edit code on multiple lines. Multi-cursor

See Basic Editing for other basic shortcuts and details.

Command Palette

With CMD + Shift + P, you can open the Command Palette, a powerful tool in Visual Studio Code.

Start typing any command you want to execute, and you will find it (if it is available). Additionally, you can see the corresponding shortcut next to the command. This is also an elegant way to learn the keyboard shortcuts for your most-used commands.

Command Palette

Emmet

I was blown away as I recognized that VS Code supports Emmet by default and how powerful it is. Emmet is a markup expansion tool that makes writing HTML much more effortless. It is easy to learn and has a simple syntax. Checkout the Emmet Cheat Sheet to learn more about the Emmet syntax.

And here you can see Emmet in action:

Use Workspaces

One thing I started to use recently is multi-root workspaces in VS Code. They can be beneficial when you are working on several related projects simultaneously. For example, I have created a workspace for all my private projects.

Using workspaces, I do not have to handle multiple VS Code editor windows but always work with one window, including my current workspace.

Use Plugins

Subsequent are some of my most used VS Code plugins:

What I did not mention here are all the framework-specific plugins. So, of course, I recommend installing available plugins for the framework/technology/programming language you are using. They can also save you a ton of time.

Conclusion

These are just some productivity tips that I can give you. Of course, VS Code provides many more features that can assist you in all matters (see links below). For example, VS Code releases each month a major update with many new features and improvements. Please read the release notes of these releases as they often contain new features which further can increase your productivity.

And please take the time to learn your IDE/editor (if you haven't done it yet). This will make you a better programmer.