How to Create a Workspace in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a popular open-source code editor developed by Microsoft. It provides developers with a lightweight and customizable environment for building applications.

One of the key concepts in VS Code is the idea of a “workspace”. A workspace allows you to open one or more folders in VS Code and configure settings, extensions, debug configurations etc. specifically for that set of folders.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about creating and customizing workspaces in VS Code:

What is a Workspace in VS Code?

A workspace in VS Code refers to the folder or set of folders that are currently opened in the editor. By default, any folder you open in VS Code is a workspace.

Some key things to know about workspaces:

  • A workspace allows you to customize VS Code specifically for a project, including settings, installed extensions etc. These customizations apply only when the workspace is opened.
  • A workspace can consist of a single folder for a simple project, or multiple folders for larger projects and applications.
  • Workspace related files like settings and debug configurations are stored in a .vscode folder in the workspace’s root folder.

So in summary, a workspace gives you a way to customize and configure VS Code for a particular project, by scoping settings and extensions to just that workspace.

Creating a Single Folder Workspace

Creating a single folder workspace is straightforward – you just open the folder containing your project:

  1. Open VS Code
  2. Go to File > Open Folder (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+K Ctrl+O)
  3. Select the folder you want to open

That folder is now your VS Code workspace!

By default, any files you create or edit will be stored in this folder. You can customize VS Code just for this workspace using workspace settings.

Creating a Multi-Root Workspace

VS Code also allows you to group multiple folders into a single workspace. This is referred to as a multi-root workspace.

Here is how to create one:

  1. Open VS Code
  2. Go to File > Add Folder to Workspace
  3. Select the first folder you want to add
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to add more folders

Once you add the second folder, VS Code will automatically create a multi-root workspace for you containing both folders.

The folders do not need to be related – you can group entirely different projects into one workspace if needed.

Saving a Workspace

By default, any workspaces you create are temporary – they will be deleted when you close VS Code.

To persist a workspace:

  1. Go to File > Save Workspace As
  2. Choose a file location
  3. Give the workspace a name and save it as a .code-workspace file

Now you can open this workspace again just by double clicking the .code-workspace file.

Customizing a Workspace

One of the main benefits of having a workspace is being able to customize VS Code specifically for that project. Here are some customizations you can do:

Workspace Settings

Workspace settings allow you to override your global user settings just for that workspace. For example, you could change the default font size or disable automatic formatting.

To configure them:

  1. Go to File > Preferences > Settings
  2. Click on the Workspace tab
  3. Make any changes
  4. Save the settings.json file

These settings will apply only when this workspace is opened.

Debug Configurations

You can create separate debug configurations and launch setups for each workspace:

  1. Go to the Debug view
  2. Click the gear icon
  3. Choose Open launch.json
  4. Configure debug targets and launch setups

Now you can easily debug your application code directly from VS Code, with custom launch configs for that workspace.

Extensions

You can install extensions that are relevant only for a particular workspace. For example, you could install:

  • Python extension for a Python project
  • Docker extension for containerized apps
  • ESLint for JavaScript applications

Extensions will load automatically when you open the workspace.

Multi-root Tips

For multi-root workspaces:

  • You can scope settings and extensions to individual root folders
  • Debug targets from multiple projects will appear together
  • You can run terminal sessions scoped to each folder

This allows you to work easily with multiple codebases in one window.

Conclusion

Workspaces in VS Code provide an easy way to customize the editor for your project’s needs. You can create single folder or multi-root workspaces, persist them to disk, and configure relevant settings, extensions, debug targets etc. specifically for that workspace.

As you work on more projects with VS Code, using workspaces will make you far more organized and productive.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I have over 5 years of experience using VS Code for web and mobile app development, so I’m happy to help explain anything further.