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. The extension also supports Remote Development to work over SSH, in Windows Subsystem for Linux, or inside a Docker container.

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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. Visual Studio Community is a free edition. It 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 and Boost.Test as well as the Microsoft Native Test Framework
  • C++ code analysis tools including C++ Core Guidelines checkers
  • the state-of-the-art Visual Studio debugger
  • and much more.

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.

Getting Started

To install the Microsoft C/C++ extension:

  1. Open VS Code.
  2. Click the Extensions View icon on the Sidebar.
  3. Search for c++.
  4. Click Install, then click Reload.

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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.

Note: 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 GCC on Linux or in a Mingw-w64 environment on Windows, Clang for XCode on macOS, and the Microsoft C++ compiler on Windows. Make sure your compiler executable is in your platform path so the extension can find it. The extension also supports the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

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