Version Control

Visual Studio Code has integrated Git support for the most common commands. This makes it an excellent choice to manage your code commits while you develop. And don't forget that the command prompt is still your friend.

Note: VS Code will leverage your machine's Git installation, but you need to install Git first before you get these features.

Tip: VS Code will work with any Git repo - local or remote. If you don't already have a private hosted Git provider, Visual Studio Online is a great free option. Click here to sign-up.



The Git icon on the left will always indicate an overview of how many changes you currently have in your repository. Clicking it will show you the detail of your current repository changes: unstaged, staged and unresolved merge changes.

Clicking each item will show you in detail the textual changes within each file. Note that for unstaged changes, the editor on the right still let's you edit the file: feel free to use it!

Tip: Read on for a little more on diffs in Visual Studio Code.

You can also find indicators of the status of your repository in the bottom left corner of VS Code: the current branch, dirty indicators and the number of incoming and outgoing commits of the current branch. You can checkout to any branch in your repository by clicking that status indicator and selecting the Git reference from the list.


Staging and unstaging can be done via contextual actions in the files or by drag-and-drop.

You can type a commit message above the changes and press kbstyle(Ctrl+Enter) (Mac: kbstyle(⌘+Enter)) to commit them. If there are any staged changes, only those will be committed, otherwise all changes will be committed.

We've found this to be a great workflow. For example, in the previous screenshot, only the config.js file will be included in the commit. A consecutive commit action would commit both vinyl-zip.js and tests.js in a separate commit.

More specific commit actions can be found in the ... menu on the top of the Git view.

Branches and Tags

You can create and checkout branches directly within VS code through the Command Palette. Press kb(workbench.action.quickOpen), type git and then press Space. You should see the following:

Git commands

If you type checkout and press Space again, you will see a dropdown containing all of the branches or tags in the current repository.

Git checkout

The git branch command lets you quickly create a new branch. Just provide the name of your new branch and VS Code will create the branch and switch to it.


Given that your repository is connected to some remote and that your checked out branch has an upstream link to a branch in that remote, VS Code offers you useful actions to push, pull and sync that branch (the latter will run a pull command followed by a push command). You can find these actions in the ... menu.

Tip: You should set up a credential helper to avoid getting asked for credentials every time VS Code talks to your Git remotes. If you don't do this, you may want to consider Disabling Autofetch in the ... menu to reduce the number of prompts you get.

Merge Conflicts

Git merge

Merge conflicts are recognized by VS Code; we try to provide useful coloring markers to help you with resolving them. Once resolved, stage the conflicting file so you can commit.

Viewing Diffs

Our Git tooling supports viewing of Diffs within VS Code.

A File Diff in VS Code

Tip: You can diff any two files by first right clicking on a file in the Working Files list and selecting Set file to compare and then right-click on the file to compare with and select Compare with 'file_name_you_chose'. Alternatively from the keyboard hit kb(workbench.action.quickOpen) and select File: Compare Active File With... and you will be presented with a list of recent files.

Git Output Window

You can always peek under the hood to see the commands we are using. This is helpful if something strange is happening or if you simply get curious :)

To open the window follow the View, Toggle Output menu and select Git from the dropdown.

Next Steps

  • Editing Evolved - Lint, IntelliSense, Lightbulbs, Peek and Goto Definition and more
  • Debugging - This is where VS Code really shines
  • Tasks - Running tasks with Gulp, Grunt and Jake. Showing Errors and Warnings
  • Customization - Themes, settings and keyboard bindings

Common Questions

Q: Hey, I initialized my repo but the actions in the ... menu are all grayed out. What gives?

A: To push, pull and sync you need to have a Git origin set up. You can get the required URL from the repo host. Once you have that URL, you simply need to add it to the Git settings by running a couple of command line actions. For example for Visual Studio Online:

> git remote add origin https://<AccountName><RepoName>
> git push -u origin master

Q: My team is using Team Foundation version control (TFVC) instead of Git. What should I do?

A: Use the Team Foundation command line tools.

Q: Why do the Pull, Push and Sync actions never finish?

This usually means there is no credential management configured in Git and you're not getting credential prompts.

To get credential prompts any time VS Code needs to talk to your remotes, upgrade to VS Code 0.5.0. Even better, you should set up a credential helper in order to pull and push from a remote server without having VS Code prompt for your credentials each time.

Q: Using Visual Studio Code, I accidentally initialized a Git repo on a folder with a massive number of files, like my entire hard drive. Now VS Code is too slow to use or hangs. What do I do?

A: First, to get VS Code running again, exit VS Code, then open a command prompt and run

code -n

(That command opens VS Code in a new window.)

Next, assuming you want to remove the unintended repo initialization, look for the .git sub-folder in the large folder where you unintentionally initialized the repo, and then delete it. Note that .git is a hidden folder, so you might need to show hidden folders to see it. For example, at a command prompt in Windows you can run dir .git /ah to see hidden folders named .git in a specific folder. If you are not sure where you created the initial folder, run dir .git /ah /s at the root folder to see hidden .git folders, including sub-folders.