when clause contexts

Visual Studio Code sets various context keys and specific values depending on what elements are visible and active in the VS Code UI. These contexts can be used to selectively enable or disable extension commands and UI elements, such as menus and views.

For example, VS Codes uses when clauses to enable or disable command keybindings, which you can see in the Default Keybindings JSON (Preferences: Open Default Keyboard Shortcuts (JSON)):

{ "key": "f5",  "command": "workbench.action.debug.start",
                   "when": "debuggersAvailable && !inDebugMode" },

Above the built-in Start Debugging command has the keyboard shortcut F5, which is only enabled when there is an appropriate debugger available (context debuggersAvailable is true) and the editor isn't in debug mode (context inDebugMode is false).

Conditional operators

For conditional expressions, you can use the following conditional operators:

Operator Symbol Example
Equality == "editorLangId == typescript"
Inequality != "resourceExtname != .js"
Or || "isLinux||isWindows"
And && "textInputFocus && !editorReadonly"
Matches =~ "resourceScheme =~ /^untitled$|^file$/"
Greater than > >= "gitOpenRepositoryCount >= 1"
Less than < <= "workspaceFolderCount < 2"
In in resourceFilename in supportedFolders (details below)

key-value when clause operator

There is a key-value pair match operator for when clauses. The expression key =~ value treats the right-hand side as a regular expression to match against the left-hand side. For example, to contribute context menu items for all Docker files, one could use:

   "when": "resourceFilename =~ /docker/"

Available contexts

Below are some of the available when clause contexts, which evaluate to Boolean true/false.

The list here isn't exhaustive and you can find other when clause contexts by searching and filtering in the Keyboard Shortcuts editor (Preferences: Open Keyboard Shortcuts) or reviewing the Default Keybindings JSON file (Preferences: Open Default Keyboard Shortcuts (JSON)).

Context name True when
Editor contexts
editorFocus An editor has focus, either the text or a widget.
editorTextFocus The text in an editor has focus (cursor is blinking).
textInputFocus Any editor has focus (regular editor, debug REPL, etc.).
inputFocus Any text input area has focus (editors or text boxes).
editorHasSelection Text is selected in the editor.
editorHasMultipleSelections Multiple regions of text are selected (multiple cursors).
editorReadonly The editor is read only.
editorLangId True when the editor's associated language ID matches. Example: "editorLangId == typescript".
isInDiffEditor The active editor is a difference editor.
isInEmbeddedEditor True when the focus is inside an embedded editor.
Operating system contexts
isLinux True when the OS is Linux
isMac True when the OS is macOS
isWindows True when the OS is Windows
isWeb True when accessing the editor from the Web
List contexts
listFocus A list has focus.
listSupportsMultiselect A list supports multi select.
listHasSelectionOrFocus A list has selection or focus.
listDoubleSelection A list has a selection of 2 elements.
listMultiSelection A list has a selection of multiple elements.
Mode contexts
inSnippetMode The editor is in snippet mode.
inQuickOpen The Quick Open drop-down has focus.
Resource contexts
resourceScheme True when the resource Uri scheme matches. Example: "resourceScheme == file"
resourceFilename True when the Explorer or editor filename matches. Example: "resourceFilename == gulpfile.js"
resourceExtname True when the Explorer or editor filename extension matches. Example: "resourceExtname == .js"
resourceDirname True when the Explorer or editor's resource absolute folder path matches. Example: "resourceDirname == /users/alice/project/src"
resourcePath True when the Explorer or editor's resource absolute path matches. Example: "resourcePath == /users/alice/project/gulpfile.js"
resourceLangId True when the Explorer or editor title language ID matches. Example: "resourceLangId == markdown"
isFileSystemResource True when the Explorer or editor file is a file system resource that can be handled from a file system provider
resourceSet True when an Explorer or editor file is set
resource The full Uri of the Explorer or editor file
Explorer contexts
explorerViewletVisible True if Explorer view is visible.
explorerViewletFocus True if Explorer view has keyboard focus.
filesExplorerFocus True if File Explorer section has keyboard focus.
openEditorsFocus True if OPEN EDITORS section has keyboard focus.
explorerResourceIsFolder True if a folder is selected in the Explorer.
Editor widget contexts
findWidgetVisible Editor Find widget is visible.
suggestWidgetVisible Suggestion widget (IntelliSense) is visible.
suggestWidgetMultipleSuggestions Multiple suggestions are displayed.
renameInputVisible Rename input text box is visible.
referenceSearchVisible Peek References peek window is open.
inReferenceSearchEditor The Peek References peek window editor has focus.
config.editor.stablePeek Keep peek editors open (controlled by editor.stablePeek setting).
quickFixWidgetVisible Quick Fix widget is visible.
parameterHintsVisible Parameter hints are visible (controlled by editor.parameterHints.enabled setting).
parameterHintsMultipleSignatures Multiple parameter hints are displayed.
Debugger contexts
debuggersAvailable An appropriate debugger extension is available
inDebugMode A debug session is running.
debugState Active debugger state. Possible values are inactive, initializing, stopped, running.
debugType True when debug type matches. Example: "debugType == 'node'".
inDebugRepl Focus is in the Debug Console REPL.
Integrated terminal contexts
terminalFocus An integrated terminal has focus.
terminalIsOpen An integrated terminal is opened.
Timeline view contexts
timelineFollowActiveEditor True if the Timeline view is following the active editor.
Timeline view item contexts
timelineItem True when the timeline item's context value matches. Example: "timelineItem =~ /git:file:commit\\b/".
Extension contexts
extension True when the extension's ID matches. Example: "extension == eamodio.gitlens".
extensionStatus True when the extension is installed. Example: "extensionStatus == installed".
extensionHasConfiguration True if the extension has configuration.
Global UI contexts
notificationFocus Notification has keyboard focus.
notificationCenterVisible Notification Center is visible at the bottom right of VS Code.
notificationToastsVisible Notification toast is visible at the bottom right of VS Code.
searchViewletVisible Search view is open.
sideBarVisible Side Bar is displayed.
sideBarFocus Side Bar has focus.
panelFocus Panel has focus.
inZenMode Window is in Zen Mode.
isCenteredLayout Editor is in centered layout mode.
workbenchState Can be empty, folder (1 folder), or workspace.
workspaceFolderCount Count of workspace folders.
replaceActive Search view Replace text box is open.
view True when view identifier matches. Example: "view == myViewsExplorerID".
viewItem True when viewItem context matches. Example: "viewItem == someContextValue".
isFullscreen True when window is in fullscreen.
focusedView The identifier of the currently focused view.
canNavigateBack True if it is possible to navigate back.
canNavigateForward True if it is possible to navigate forward.
canNavigateToLastEditLocation True if it is possible to navigate to the last edit location.
Global Editor UI contexts
textCompareEditorVisible At least one diff (compare) editor is visible.
textCompareEditorActive A diff (compare) editor is active.
editorIsOpen True if one editor is open.
groupEditorsCount Number of editors in a group.
activeEditorGroupEmpty True if the active editor group has no editors.
activeEditorGroupIndex A number starting from 1 reflecting the position of an editor group in the editor grid. The group with index 1 will be the first in the top-left corner.
activeEditorGroupLast Will be true for the last editor group in the editor grid.
multipleEditorGroups True when multiple editor groups are present.
activeEditor The identifier of the active editor in a group.
activeEditorIsDirty True when the active editor in a group is dirty.
activeEditorIsNotPreview True when the active editor in a group is not in preview mode.
activeEditorIsPinned True when the active editor in a group is pinned.
inSearchEditor True when focus is inside a search editor.
Configuration settings contexts
config.editor.minimap.enabled True when the setting editor.minimap.enabled is true.

Note: You can use any user or workspace setting that evaluates to a boolean here with the prefix "config.".

Active/focused view or panel when clause context

You can have a when clause that checks if a specific view or panel is visible.

Context name True when
activeViewlet True when view is visible. Example: "activeViewlet == 'workbench.view.explorer'"
activePanel True when panel is visible. Example: "activePanel == 'workbench.panel.output'"
focusedView True when view is focused. Example: "focusedView == myViewsExplorerID

View Identifiers:

  • workbench.view.explorer - File Explorer
  • workbench.view.search - Search
  • workbench.view.scm - Source Control
  • workbench.view.debug - Run
  • workbench.view.extensions - Extensions

Panel Identifiers:

  • workbench.panel.markers - Problems
  • workbench.panel.output - Output
  • workbench.panel.repl - Debug Console
  • terminal - Integrated Terminal
  • workbench.panel.comments - Comments
  • workbench.view.search - Search when search.location is set to panel

If you want a when clause that is enabled only when a specific view or panel has focus, use sideBarFocus or panelFocus in combination with activeViewlet or activiewFocus.

For example, the when clause below is true only when the File Explorer has focus:

"sideBarFocus && activeViewlet == 'workbench.view.explorer'"

Check a setting in a when clause

In a when clause, you can reference a configuration (setting) value by prefixing it with config., for example config.editor.tabCompletion or config.breadcrumbs.enabled.

Add a custom when clause context

If you are authoring your own VS Code extension and need to enable/disable commands, menus, or views by using a when clause context and none of the existing keys suit your needs, you can add your own context with the setContext command.

The first example below sets the key myExtension:showMyCommand to true, which you can use in enablement of commands or with the when property. The second example stores a value that you could use with a when clause to check if the number of cool open things is greater than 2.

vscode.commands.executeCommand('setContext', 'myExtension:showMyCommand', true);

vscode.commands.executeCommand('setContext', 'myExtension:numberOfCoolOpenThings', 4);

'in' conditional operator

The in operator for when clauses allows for a dynamic lookup of a context key's value within another context key's value. For example, if you wanted to add a context menu command to folders that contain a certain type of file (or something that can't be statically known), you can now use the in operator to achieve it.

First, determine which folders should support the command, and the folder name to an array. Then, use the setContext command to turn the array into a context key:

vscode.executeCommand('setContext', 'ext:supportedFolders', ['test', 'foo', 'bar']);

// or

// Note in this case (using an object), the value doesn't matter, it is based on the existence of the key in the object
vscode.executeCommand('setContext', 'ext:supportedFolders', {
  test: true,
  foo: 'anything',
  bar: false

Then, in the package.json you could add a menu contribution for the explorer/context menu:

// Note, this assumes you have already defined a command called ext.doSpecial
"menus": {
  "explorer/context": [
      "command": "ext.doSpecial",
      "when": "explorerResourceIsFolder && resourceFilename in ext:supportedFolders"

In that example, we are taking the value of resourceFilename (which is the name of the folder in this case) and checking for its existence in the value of ext:supportedFolders. If it exists, the menu will be shown. This powerful operator should allow for richer conditional and dynamic contributions that support when clauses, for example menus, views, etc.

Inspect Context Keys utility

If you'd like to see all currently active context keys at runtime, you can use the Developer: Inspect Context Keys command from the Command Palette (⇧⌘P (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+P)). Inspect Context Keys will display context keys and their values in the VS Code Developer Tools Console tab (Help > Toggle Developer Tools).

When you run Developer: Inspect Context Keys, your cursor will highlight elements in the VS Code UI and when you click on an element, the current context keys and their states will be output as an object to the Console.

Inspect Context Keys output

The list of active context keys is extensive and may contain custom context keys from extensions you have installed.

Note: Some context keys are for VS Code internal use and may change in the future.