How to Run JavaScript in Visual Studio Code

How to Run JavaScript in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a versatile and powerful code editor that supports a wide range of programming languages, including JavaScript. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just getting started with JavaScript, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to effectively write, debug, and run JavaScript code in Visual Studio Code.

JavaScript is a widely-used programming language for web development, and Visual Studio Code is a popular code editor that can greatly enhance your JavaScript development experience. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to effectively write, run, and debug JavaScript code in Visual Studio Code.

Setting Up Visual Studio Code for JavaScript

Installing Visual Studio Code

If you haven’t already, you can download and install Visual Studio Code from the official website ( It’s available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Installing Node.js

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime that allows you to execute JavaScript code outside of a web browser. It’s often used for server-side development and various other JavaScript applications. You can download and install Node.js from the official website ( Ensure that you have Node.js installed as it will be essential for running JavaScript code locally.

Creating a JavaScript Project

Before you start coding, it’s a good practice to organize your JavaScript projects. You can create a new folder for your project and open it in Visual Studio Code. To create a new folder, use the following terminal command:

mkdir my-javascript-project

cd my-javascript-project code .

This will open Visual Studio Code in the current folder.

Writing JavaScript Code in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code provides a powerful code editor with syntax highlighting, autocompletion, and code formatting for JavaScript. You can simply create a new JavaScript file with the .js extension and start writing your code. To create a new JavaScript file, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the “File” menu.
  2. Select “New File.”
  3. Save the file with a .js extension, for example, app.js.

Now you can start writing your JavaScript code in this file.

Running JavaScript Code

Using the Integrated Terminal

Visual Studio Code has an integrated terminal that allows you to run JavaScript code directly from the editor. Here’s how:

  1. Open the integrated terminal by clicking on “View” > “Terminal” or by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Backtick (“`).
  2. Navigate to the folder where your JavaScript file is located using the cd command, for example:bashCopy codecd path/to/your/project
  3. Run your JavaScript file using Node.js:bashCopy codenode app.js

This will execute the JavaScript code in your app.js file, and you’ll see the output in the terminal.

Using External Terminals

You can also run JavaScript code using external terminals like the Windows Command Prompt, macOS Terminal, or any other terminal emulator. Simply navigate to your project folder and run the node command with your JavaScript file as shown in the previous section.

Debugging JavaScript Code

Debugging is an essential part of software development. Visual Studio Code provides robust debugging capabilities for JavaScript. Here’s how to get started:

Setting Breakpoints

To set breakpoints in your JavaScript code, click in the gutter to the left of the line numbers in your code editor. A red dot will appear, indicating a breakpoint. When you run your code in debugging mode, it will stop at these breakpoints, allowing you to inspect variables and control the execution flow.

Debugging Configuration

Visual Studio Code uses a launch.json file to configure the debugging settings for your project. You can create this file manually or use the built-in configuration wizard. To create a launch.json file:

  1. Click on the “Run and Debug” icon in the sidebar.
  2. Click on the gear icon to create a launch.json file.
  3. Select “Node.js” as the environment.

You can customize the configuration to match your project’s needs, such as specifying the entry file and other options.

Debugging Tools

Visual Studio Code provides a set of debugging tools, including a watch panel, call stack, and variables panel. These tools make it easy to inspect and debug your JavaScript code. You can also hover over variables to see their current values during debugging.

Managing JavaScript Dependencies

Using npm

Node Package Manager (npm) is a package manager for JavaScript that allows you to manage project dependencies efficiently. To initialize a new package.json file for your project, run the following command in your project folder:

npm init

Follow the prompts to create the package.json file. You can then use npm install to install JavaScript packages and libraries for your project.

Managing Packages with package.json

The package.json file lists all the project dependencies and their versions. You can manually add dependencies to this file or use the npm install command with the --save flag to add and save them automatically:

npm install package-name --save

This ensures that your project can easily be replicated with all its dependencies by simply running npm install on another machine.

Version Control with Git

Version control is crucial for tracking changes in your code and collaborating with others. Visual Studio Code has built-in Git integration. Here’s how to get started:

Initializing a Git Repository

To initialize a Git repository in your project folder, open the integrated terminal and run:

git init

This sets up a new Git repository for your project.

Committing Changes

After making changes to your code, you can stage and commit those changes using Git. Here are the basic Git commands:

  • git add .: Stage all changes.
  • git commit -m "Commit message": Commit staged changes with a message.

Working with Branches

Git allows you to work on different branches of your code. You can create a new branch using:

git checkout -b new-branch-name

You can then switch between branches using git checkout branch-name and merge branches when your changes are ready to be integrated.

Extensions for Enhanced JavaScript Development

Visual Studio Code has a rich ecosystem of extensions that can enhance your JavaScript development experience. Some popular JavaScript-related extensions include:

  • ESLint: For JavaScript code linting.
  • Prettier: For code formatting.
  • Debugger for Chrome: For debugging JavaScript in Chrome.
  • Live Server: For running a live development server.
  • Auto Close Tag: For auto-closing HTML tags in JavaScript files.

You can explore and install extensions that best suit your development needs from the VS Code Extensions Marketplace.

Advanced Topics

JavaScript Frameworks and Libraries

If you’re working with JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js, Visual Studio Code offers extensions and tools specifically designed for these frameworks. These extensions provide features like component navigation, code snippets, and project scaffolding.

Task Automation with Gulp or Grunt

For advanced task automation in JavaScript projects, tools like Gulp and Grunt are commonly used. Visual Studio Code integrates with these tools, allowing you to automate tasks such as building, testing, and deploying your JavaScript applications.


Visual Studio Code provides a robust and feature-rich environment for JavaScript development. By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to write, run, debug, and manage JavaScript code efficiently. With the right tools and practices, you can take your JavaScript development skills to the next level and build impressive web applications.

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of how to run JavaScript in Visual Studio Code, you’re ready to embark on your JavaScript coding journey with confidence.

Happy coding!


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