Visual Studio Code Browser

Visual Studio Code is one of the most popular and powerful text editors used by software engineers today. In this article, we will go over the steps necessary to download a popular text editor called Visual Studio Code, also referred to as “VS Code.”. With the Microsoft Edge Tools for Visual Studio Code Visual Studio Code extension, use the Elements tool of the Microsoft Edge browser within Visual Studio Code. Use it for the following actions. Attach to an instance or launch an instance of Microsoft Edge. Display the runtime HTML structure. Codespaces in the browser - Connect to your codespace through a browser-based editor. Extension authors The VS Code extension API hides most of the implementation details of running remotely so many extensions will just work in GitHub Codespaces environments without any modification. Open in Browser A cross platform Visual Studio Code extension that opens HTML files in a browser of user's choice, which can be any browser installed on your computer. This is a cross platform version of the extension, developed on Linux and not fully tested on MacOS.

Show the browser's Elements and Network tool inside the Visual Studio Code editor and use it to fix CSS issues with your site and inspect network activity.

A Visual Studio Code extension that allows you to use the browser's Elements and Network tool from within the editor. The DevTools will connect to an instance of Microsoft Edge giving you the ability to see the runtime HTML structure, alter layout, fix styling issues, read console messages and view network requests. All without leaving Visual Studio Code.

Visual Studio Code Browser

Note: This extension only supports Microsoft Edge (version greater than 80.0.361.48)

You can use the extension either in an own window or embedded in your editor.

Table of Contents

  • Using the tools
  • Changing Extension Settings
  • Debug Configuration

Supported Features

  • Fully featured Elements and Network tool with views for HTML, CSS, accessibility and more.
  • Screen-casting feature to allow you to see your page without leaving Visual Studio Code.
  • Debug configurations for launching Microsoft Edge browser in remote-debugging mode and auto attaching the tools.
  • Debug using a windowed or headless version of the Microsoft Edge Browser
  • Side Bar view for listing all the debuggable targets, including tabs, extensions, service workers, etc.
  • Go directly to the line/column for source files in your workspace when clicking on a link or CSS rule inside the Elements tool.
  • Read console messages logged by the Developer Tools
  • Auto attach the Microsoft Edge Tools when you start debugging with the in-built debugger.

Getting Started

For use inside Visual Studio Code:

  1. Install any channel (Canary/Dev/etc.) of Microsoft Edge.
  2. Install the extension* Microsoft Edge Tools.
  3. Navigate to any project or open the folder containing the project you want to work on.
Visual Studio Code Browser

Using the tools

Launching the browser via the side bar view

  • Start Microsoft Edge via the side bar
    • Click the Microsoft Edge Tools view in the side bar.
    • Click the Open a new tab icon to launch the browser (if it isn't open yet) and open a new tab.
  • Attach the Microsoft Edge Tools via the side bar view
    • Click the Attach icon next to the tab to open the Microsoft Edge Tools.

The extension operates in two modes - it can launch an instance of Microsoft Edge navigated to your app, or it can attach to a running instance of Microsoft Edge. Both modes requires you to be serving your web application from local web server, which is started from either a Visual Studio Code task or from your command-line. Using the url parameter you tell Visual Studio Code which URL to either open or launch in the browser.

You can now use the high-fidelity tools to tweak your CSS and inspect network calls and go directly back to your code without leaving the editor.

Opening source files from the Elements tool

One of the features of the Elements tool is that it can show you what file applied the styles and event handlers for a given node.

The source files for these applied styles and attached event handlers appear in the form of links to a url specified by the browser. Clicking on one will attempt to open that file inside the Visual Studio Code editor window.

Getting Console information

Visual Studio Code Browser Link

The extension automatically forwards messages from the Developer Tools Console to Visual Studio Code. You can see them in the output tab when you selected Devtools Console as the source.

Notice that this is a read-only experience. You can't use the Console like you would in the browser Developer Tools.

Visual Studio Code Display In Browser

Setting up your project to show live changes in the extension

Out of the box the extension does not track live changes to the code you write. If you want the browser to automatically refresh when you changed a file, you need to set up a live reload environment. For this you need Node.js and npm on your machine.

Say you have a folder with your production files on your hard drive called my-project.

Preparation step: Install Node.js and the reload package

  • Download and install Node.js (you only need to do this once).
  • Install the reload NPM package
    • Open command prompt and run npm install reload -g to install the package globally

Attach the extension to your live reloading project

  • Navigate to your my-project folder in your command prompt and run reload
  • Open VS Code and open the directory
  • Go to the extension and launch an instance
  • Navigate in the browser of the extension to localhost:8080/{file name you want to open}
  • All changes that are saved in this folder now trigger a refresh

Changing Extension Settings

You can customize the extension to your needs. From version 1.1.6 onwards you can reach the Settings and read the Changelog via the button of the sidebar.

Turning off Network Inspection

If you don't want to see the Network Pane to inspect any network request of the attached browser you can turn it off in the settings and restart the extension.

Turning on Headless Mode

By default, the extension will launch the browser in its own window. This means you get an extra browser icon in your task bar and you need to turn on casting to see the browser inside the editor. You can also choose 'headless mode' to not have the browser open in an own window, but embed itself directly into Visual Studio Code.

Note: In the past we had issues on Macintosh computers where the Microsoft Edge instance reported itself as 'inactive' when the window wasn't visible. Using headless mode fixes that problem.

You can see an example of the change in the following screencast:

Other optional launch config fields

  • browserPath: The full path to the browser executable that will be launched. If not specified the most stable channel of Microsoft Edge will be launched from the default install location instead.
  • hostname: By default the extension searches for debuggable instances using localhost. If you are hosting your web app on a remote machine you can specify the hostname using this setting.
  • port: By default the extension will set the remote-debugging-port to 9222. Use this option to specify a different port on which to connect.
  • userDataDir: Normally, if Microsoft Edge is already running when you start debugging with a launch config, then the new instance won't start in remote debugging mode. So by default, the extension launches Microsoft Edge with a separate user profile in a temp folder. Use this option to set a different path to use, or set to false to launch with your default user profile instead.
  • useHttps: By default the extension will search for attachable instances using the http protocol. Set this to true if you are hosting your web app over https instead.
  • sourceMaps: By default, the extension will use sourcemaps and your original sources whenever possible. You can disable this by setting sourceMaps to false.
  • pathMapping: This property takes a mapping of URL paths to local paths, to give you more flexibility in how URLs are resolved to local files. 'webRoot': '${workspaceFolder}' is just shorthand for a pathMapping like { '/': '${workspaceFolder}' }.
  • sourceMapPathOverrides: A mapping of source paths from the sourcemap, to the locations of these sources on disk.
  • urlFilter: A string that can contain wildcards that will be used for finding a browser target, for example, 'localhost:*/app' will match either 'http://localhost:123/app' or 'http://localhost:456/app', but not ''. This property will only be used if url and file are not specified.
  • timeout: The number of milliseconds that the Microsoft Edge Tools will keep trying to attach to the browser before timing out. Defaults to 10000ms.


This project welcomes contributions and suggestions. Most contributions require you to agree to aContributor License Agreement (CLA) declaring that you have the right to, and actually do, grant usthe rights to use your contribution. For details, visit

See for more information.

Other information

Data and Telemetry

Visual Studio Code Open Browser

This project collects usage data and sends it to Microsoft to help improve our products and services. Read Microsoft's privacy statement to learn more.

Reporting Security Issues

Browser In Vs Code

Security issues and bugs should be reported privately, via email, to the Microsoft SecurityResponse Center (MSRC) at [email protected] You shouldreceive a response within 24 hours. If for some reason you do not, please follow up viaemail to ensure we received your original message. Further information, including theMSRC PGP key, can be found inthe Security TechCenter.