C/C++ for Visual Studio Code (Preview)

C/C++ support for Visual Studio Code is provided by a Microsoft C/C++ extension to enable cross-platform C and C++ development on Windows, Linux, and macOS. The extension is still in preview and our focus is code editing, navigation, and debugging support for C and C++ code everywhere that VS Code runs.

Below you can see syntax highlighting, smart suggestions, and IntelliSense for C++ source code in VS Code with the C++ extension.

cpp hero

Note: If you just want a lightweight tool to edit your C++ files, Visual Studio Code is a great choice. But if you want the best possible experience for editing, testing and debugging your existing Visual C++ projects or debugging on Windows, we recommend Visual Studio IDE.

Visual Studio Community is a free edition and includes:

  • support for CMake or any other build system
  • support for Clang and GCC as well as the Microsoft C++ compiler
  • support for CTest, Google Test, Boost.Test, and Microsoft Native Test Framework
  • C++ code analysis tools including C++ Core Guidelines checkers
  • the state-of-the-art Visual Studio debugger

Getting started

Install Visual Studio Code

If you don't have VS Code installed, go to the Download page to find the VS Code install that matches your platform. Installing VS Code is fast and should only take a few minutes.

Install the Microsoft C/C++ extension

  1. Open VS Code.
  2. Click the Extensions view icon on the Sidebar (⇧⌘X (Windows, Linux Ctrl+Shift+X)).
  3. Search for c++.
  4. Click Install.

cpp extension

C/C++ compiler and debugger

The C/C++ extension does not include a C++ compiler or debugger. You will need to install these tools or use those already installed on your computer.

Popular C++ compilers are:

Make sure your compiler executable is in your platform path so the extension can find it. You can check availability of your C++ tools by opening the Integrated Terminal (⌃` (Windows, Linux Ctrl+`)) in VS Code and try running the executable (for example g++ --help).


For instructions on configuring VS Code for specific environments, see:


You can find more documentation on using the Microsoft C/C++ extension under the C++ section, where you'll find topics on:

Remote Development

VS Code and the C++ extension support Remote Development allowing you to work over SSH on a remote machine or VM, inside a Docker container, or in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

To install support for Remote Development:

  1. Install the VS Code Remote Development Extension Pack.
  2. If the remote source files are hosted in WSL, use the Remote - WSL extension.
  3. If you are connecting to a remote machine with SSH, use the Remote - SSH extension.
  4. If the remote source files are hosted in a container (for example, Docker), use the Remote - Containers extension.


If you run into any issues or have suggestions for the Microsoft C/C++ extension, please file issues and suggestions on GitHub. If you haven't already provided feedback, please take this quick survey to help shape this extension for your needs.