Docker in Visual Studio Code

The Docker extension makes it easy to build, manage, and deploy containerized applications in Visual Studio Code.

This page provides an overview of the Docker extension capabilities; use the side menu to learn more about topics of interest. If you are just getting started with Docker development, try the Docker tutorial first to understand key Docker concepts.


Install Docker on your machine and add it to the system path.

On Linux, you should also enable Docker CLI for the non-root user account that will be used to run VS Code.

To install the extension, open the Extensions view (⇧⌘X (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+X)), search for docker to filter results and select Docker extension authored by Microsoft.

Select Docker extension

Editing Docker files

You can get IntelliSense by clicking ⌃Space (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Space) when editing your Dockerfile and docker-compose.yml files, with completions and syntax help for common commands.

IntelliSense for Dockerfiles

In addition, you can use the Problems panel (⇧⌘M (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+M)) to view common errors for Dockerfile and docker-compose.yml files.

Generating Docker files

You can add Docker files to your workspace by opening the Command Palette (⇧⌘P (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+P)) and using Docker: Add Docker Files to Workspace command. The command will generate Dockerfile and .dockerignore files and add them to your workspace. The command will also ask you if you want to add Docker Compose files as well, but this is optional.

The extension can scaffold Docker files for most popular development languages (C#, Node.js, Python, Ruby, Go, and Java) and customizes the generated Docker files accordingly. When these files are created, we also create the necessary artifacts to provide debugging support for Node.js, Python, and .NET (C#).

Docker Explorer

The Docker extension contributes a Docker Explorer view to VS Code. The Docker Explorer lets you examine and manage Docker assets: containers, images, volumes, networks, and container registries. If you are signed in to your Microsoft account and it has access to Azure subscriptions, you can browse your Azure Container Registries as well.

The right-click menu provides access to commonly used commands for each type of asset.

Docker Explorer context menu

You can rearrange the Docker Explorer panes by dragging them up or down with a mouse and use the context menu to hide or show them.

Customize Docker Explorer

Docker commands

Many of the most common Docker commands are built right into the Command Palette:

Docker commands

You can run Docker commands to manage images, networks, volumes, image registries, and Docker Compose. In addition, the Docker: Prune System command will remove stopped containers, dangling images, and unused networks and volumes.

Docker Compose

Docker Compose lets you define and run multi-container applications with Docker. Our Compose Language Service in the Docker extension gives you IntelliSense and tab completions when authoring docker-compose.yml files. Press ⌃Space (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Space) to see a list of valid Compose directives.

Docker Compose IntelliSense

We also provide tooltips when you hover over a Docker Compose YAML attribute.

Docker Compose Tooltips

While Compose Up allows you to run all of your services at once, our new feature Compose Up - Select Services lets you select any combination of the services you want to run.

Docker Compose Up - Select Subset

Once your Compose Up command completes, navigate to the Docker Explorer to view your services as a Compose Group. This allows you to start, stop, and view the logs of each service as a group.

Docker Compose Groups

Using image registries

You can display the content and push, pull, or delete images from Azure Container Registry, Docker Hub, GitHub, and more:

Azure Container Registry content

An image in an Azure Container Registry can be deployed to Azure App Service or Azure Container Apps directly from VS Code. See Deploy to Azure to get started. For more information about how to authenticate to and work with registries, see Using container registries.

Debugging services running inside a container

You can debug services built using .NET (C#) and Node.js that are running inside a container. The extension offers custom tasks that help with launching a service under the debugger and with attaching the debugger to a running service instance. For more information, see Debug containerized apps and Customize the Docker extension.

Azure CLI integration

You can start Azure CLI (command-line interface) in a standalone, Linux-based container with Docker Images: Run Azure CLI command. This gives you access to the full Azure CLI command set in an isolated environment. For more information on available commands, see Get started with Azure CLI.

Next steps

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