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Getting started with GitHub Copilot in Visual Studio Code

Learn how to install GitHub Copilot in Visual Studio Code, and start seeing suggestions as you write comments and code.

GitHub Copilot is available to GitHub customers with a personal account on GitHub.com. GitHub Copilot is free to use for verified students, teachers, and maintainers of popular open source projects. If you are not a student, teacher, or maintainer of a popular open source project, you can try GitHub Copilot for free with a one-time 60 day trial. After the free trial, you will need a paid subscription for continued use. For more information, see "About billing for GitHub Copilot."

About GitHub Copilot and Visual Studio Code

GitHub Copilot provides autocomplete-style suggestions from an AI pair programmer as you code. For more information, see "About GitHub Copilot".

If you use Visual Studio Code, you can view and incorporate suggestions from GitHub Copilot directly within the editor. This guide demonstrates how to use GitHub Copilot within Visual Studio Code for macOS, Windows, or Linux.

Prerequisites

To use GitHub Copilot in Visual Studio Code, you must have Visual Studio Code installed. For more information, see the Visual Studio Code download page.

Installing the Visual Studio Code extension

To use GitHub Copilot, you must first install the Visual Studio Code extension.

  1. In the Visual Studio Code Marketplace, go to the GitHub Copilot extension page and click Install. Install GitHub Copilot extension Visual Studio Code
  2. A popup will appear, asking to open Visual Studio Code. Click Open Visual Studio Code.
  3. In the "Extension: GitHub Copilot" tab in Visual Studio Code, click Install. Install button in Visual Studio Code
  4. If you have not previously authorized Visual Studio Code in your GitHub account, you will be prompted to sign in to GitHub in Visual Studio Code.
    • If you have previously authorized Visual Studio Code for your account on GitHub, GitHub Copilot will be automatically authorized. Screen shot of Visual Studio Code authorization screen
  5. In your browser, GitHub will request the necessary permissions for GitHub Copilot. To approve these permissions, click Authorize Visual Studio Code.
  6. In Visual Studio Code, in the "Visual Studio Code" dialog box, to confirm the authentication, click Open.

Seeing your first suggestion

Note: If you have duplication detection enabled for GitHub Copilot, you may receive limited suggestions, or no suggestions, when using the code examples provided. As an alternative, you can start by typing your own code to see suggestions from GitHub Copilot. For more information on duplication detection, see "Enabling or disabling duplication detection."

GitHub Copilot provides suggestions for numerous languages and a wide variety of frameworks, but works especially well for Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, Ruby, Go, C# and C++. The following samples are in JavaScript, but other languages will work similarly.

  1. In Visual Studio Code, create a new JavaScript (*.js) file.
  2. In the JavaScript file, type the following function header. GitHub Copilot will automatically suggest an entire function body in grayed text, as shown below. The exact suggestion may vary.
    JavaScript
    function calculateDaysBetweenDates(begin, end) {
    Screenshot of a first suggestion Visual Studio Code
  3. To accept the suggestion, press Tab.

Seeing alternative suggestions

For any given input, GitHub Copilot may offer multiple suggestions. You can select which suggestion to use, or reject all suggestions.

  1. In Visual Studio Code, create a new JavaScript (*.js) file.

  2. In the JavaScript file, type the following function header. GitHub Copilot will show you a suggestion.

    JavaScript
    function calculateDaysBetweenDates(begin, end) {
  3. Optionally, you can see alternative suggestions, if any are available.

    OSSee next suggestionSee previous suggestion
    macOSOption (⌥) or Alt+]Option (⌥) or Alt+[
    WindowsAlt+]Alt+[
    LinuxAlt+]Alt+[
  4. Alternatively, you can hover over the suggestion to see the GitHub Copilot command palette for choosing suggestions.

  5. To accept a suggestion, press Tab. To reject all suggestions, press Esc.

Seeing multiple suggestions in a new tab

You may not want any of the initial suggestions GitHub Copilot offers. You can use a keyboard shortcut to prompt GitHub Copilot to show you multiple suggestions in a new tab.

  1. In Visual Studio Code, create a new JavaScript (*.js) file.
  2. In the JavaScript file, type the following function header. GitHub Copilot will show you a suggestion.
    JavaScript
    function calculateDaysBetweenDates(begin, end) {
  3. To open a new tab with multiple additional options, press Ctrl+Enter.
  4. To accept a suggestion, above the suggestion, click Accept Solution. To reject all suggestions, close the tab.

Generating code suggestions from comments

You can describe something you want to do using natural language within a comment, and GitHub Copilot will suggest the code to accomplish your goal.

  1. In Visual Studio Code, create a new JavaScript (*.js) file.
  2. In the JavaScript file, type the following comment. GitHub Copilot will suggest an implementation of the function.
    JavaScript
    // find all images without alternate text
    // and give them a red border
    function process() {

Using a framework

You can also use GitHub Copilot to generate suggestions for APIs and frameworks. The following example uses GitHub Copilot to create a simple Express server that returns the current time.

  1. In Visual Studio Code, create a new JavaScript (*.js) file.
  2. In the JavaScript file, type the following comment and then press Enter. GitHub Copilot will suggest an implementation of the Express app.
    JavaScript
    // Express server on port 3000
  3. To accept each line, press Tab, then Enter.
  4. Type the following comment and then press Enter. GitHub Copilot will suggest an implementation for the default handler.
    JavaScript
    // Return the current time
  5. To accept each line, press Tab.

Enabling or disabling GitHub Copilot

You can enable or disable GitHub Copilot from within Visual Studio Code. The GitHub Copilot status icon in the bottom panel of the Visual Studio Code window indicates whether GitHub Copilot is enabled or disabled. When enabled, the background color of the icon will match the color of the status bar. When disabled, the background color of the icon will contrast with the color of the status bar.

  1. To enable or disable GitHub Copilot, click the status icon in the bottom panel of the Visual Studio Code window. Screenshot of the status icon in Visual Studio Code

  2. If you are disabling GitHub Copilot, you will be asked whether you want to disable suggestions globally, or for the language of the file you are currently editing.

    • To disable suggestions from GitHub Copilot globally, click Disable Globally.
    • To disable suggestions from GitHub Copilot for the specified language, click Disable for LANGUAGE. Screenshot of option to disable GitHub Copilot globally or for the current language

Further reading