C Programming In Visual Studio Code

PS: This was published on my Blog here.

In this video, I will show you the proper way to create C programs using Visual Studio 2019 For more in depth learning on C programming with Visual Studio, c. Visual Studio 2019 Open recent As you use Visual Studio, any projects, folders, or files that you open will show up here for quick access. You can pin anything that you open frequently so that it's always at the top of the list. Get started Clone or check out code Get code from an.

C++ is a statically-typed, free-form, (usually) compiled, multi-paradigm, intermediate-level general-purpose middle-level programming language.

In simple terms, C++ is a sophisticated, efficient, general-purpose programming language based on C.

It was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1979.

One of C++'s main features is the compiler. This is used to compile and run C++ code.

A compiler is a special program that processes statements written in a particular programming language like C++ and turns them into machine language or 'code' that a computer's processor uses.

I actually wrote this article because I had a C++ assignment which required using a compiler. As usual, everyone was using the CodeBlocks IDE and Visual Studio IDE. But I was already used to Visual Studio Code for all my programming stuff.

I then set out to find a way of compiling C++ directly inside my own VsCode Editor, hence this article :).

In this article, I'll show you how to set up your compiler in VsCode and give you some links to some of the best C++ resources.

  • Prior knowledge of C++
    (I assume you're learning C++, about to start learning, or just reading this for fun. This article is not a C++ 101 tutorial – some understanding of C++ is needed.)
  • Visual Studio Code Editor
    Download here and read the setup docs for Windows, Linux and Mac
  • Internet connection (!important)


I will be using a Windows OS throughout this article, but I'll provide links to resources that will help those using other operating systems.

Now let's get started!

  • Head to www.mingw.org and click the “Download/Installer” link to download the MinGW setup file, or click here for Windows, here for Linux, and here for Mac
MinGW, a contraction of 'Minimalist GNU for Windows', is a minimalist development environment for native Microsoft Windows applications.
  • After downloading, install MinGW and wait for the “MinGW Installation Manager” to show up.
  • When the “MinGW Installation Manager” shows up, click on mingw32-gcc-g++ then select “Mark for Installation”
  • In the menu at the top left corner, click on “Installation > Apply Changes”
  • Wait and allow to install completely. Ensure you have a stable internet connection during this process.

PATH is an environment variable on Unix-like operating systems, DOS, OS/2, and Microsoft Windows, specifying a set of directories where executable programs are located. In general, each executing process or user session has its own PATH setting. - Wikipedia

After installing MinGW, it can be found in C:MinGWbin. Now you have to include this directory in your environment variable PATH. If you've been using computers for a while now you should know how to do this already, but if you don't, here are a few resources:

  • Click here for a Windows OS guide
  • Click here for Linux
  • Click here for a Mac OS guide

Now we have our compiler set up, let's install Code Runner

Code Runner allows you to Run code snippet or code file for multiple languages:

C, C++, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Perl, Perl 6, Ruby, Go, Lua, Groovy, PowerShell, BAT/CMD, BASH/SH, F# Script, F# (.NET Core), C# Script, C# (.NET Core), VBScript, TypeScript, CoffeeScript, Scala, Swift, Julia, Crystal, OCaml Script, R, AppleScript, Elixir, Visual Basic .NET, Clojure, Haxe, Objective-C, Rust, Racket, AutoHotkey, AutoIt, Kotlin, Dart, Free Pascal, Haskell, Nim, D, Lisp, Kit, and custom command.
  • Click here to download
  • Or search in VsCode marketplace tab
  • After installing restart VsCode
  • Open your C++ file in Vscode. Here's a basic hello world program below:

Save this file as test.cpp

  • Use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+N
  • Or press F1 and then select/type Run Code
  • Or right-click the Text Editor and then click Run Code in the editor context menu

The code will run and the output will be shown in the Output Window. Open the output window with `Ctrl+ shortcut.

  • Use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+M
  • Or press F1 and then select/type Stop Code Run
  • Or right-click the Output Channel and then click Stop Code Run in the context menu

Hurray, you just successfully set up your C++ environment in VsCode!

Here's a quick hint: By default, VsCode's output terminal is read-only. If you're running code that requires user input like:

you won't be able to type into the terminal, Cannot edit in read-only terminal.
To fix this, you need to manually enable read-write.

  • In VsCode, Go to File > Preference > Setting.
  • In the User tab on the left panel, find the extensions section
  • Scroll and find 'Run Code Configuration'
  • Scroll and find a checkbox Run in Terminal (Whether to run code in Integrated Terminal) Check the box.


  • In your setting.json file, add:

Hurray, you're done and ready to roll :).

Here are some C++ resources you can use to get started with learning C++

  • Code Runner by Jun Han

Thank you for reading!

A visual studio code is a lightweight software application with a powerful source code editor that runs on the desktop. It is a free source code editor developed by Microsoft for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It is a software editor that has a rich extension of various languages like C++, C+, C, Java, Python, PHP, Go, etc. and runtime language extensions such as .NET and Unity. It is easy to edit, build, syntax highlighting, snippets, code refactoring and debugging. In visual studio code, we can change the application's background theme, keyboard shortcuts set on our preferences, install an extension and add additional functionality.

Prerequisites for running a C program in Visual Studio Code

  1. We should have a basic knowledge of C programming.
  2. The Visual Studio Code Editor must be installed in the system.
  3. Download the C/C++ Extension. It is an extension provided by Microsoft that support visual studio code. It helps in IntelliSence, debugging and code browsing of the programming code in the visual studio.
  4. Download the C/C++ compilers. There are some popular compilers are:
    1. GCC on Linux
    2. GCC via Mingw-w64 on Windows
    3. Microsoft C++ compiler on windows
    4. Clang for XCode on MacOS

We have already installed the Visual Studio Code in our system. The user interface of VS code look like the following:

Download & Install the C/C++ Extension

1. We need to click on the extension button that displays a sidebar for downloading and installing the C/C++ extension in the visual studio code. In the sidebar, type C Extension.

2. After that, click on the C/C++

In this image, click on the Install button to install the C/C++ extension.

3. After clicking the Install button, it shows the below image.

In this image, we can see it shows the Uninstall button that means the C/C++ extension has been successfully downloaded in the visual studio code.

In this image, we can see it shows the Uninstall button that means the C/C++ extension has been successfully downloaded in the visual studio code.

Download and Install Compiler Extension

A MinGW is an advanced GCC compiler software used to compile and execute code. It is software that supports only the window operating system.

Download the MinGW-w64 Compiler

1. Go to the https://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw We land on the following page.

2. After that, click on the Download button, then it starts the downloading of the MinGW GCC compiler, as we can see in the below image.

3. MinGW software has been successfully downloaded into the system.

4. Now we double-click on the MinGW set up to install the compiler.

As we can see, it shows that it is a harmful file click on the Run button to proceed with installing the setup.

5. Click on the Install

6. Set it defaults, or we can change the storage location of the setup. After that, click on the Continue

7. After clicking the continue button, it shows step 2 of MinGW Installation Manager.

8. As we click on the Continue, it shows the below image. In the MinGW Installation Manager, we need to check the Mingw32-base package and Ming32-gcc-g++ package to run and compile the C/ C++ program in the visual studio code editor.

9. After selecting the checkbox, click on the Installation tab (at the top left corner of the dialog box).

Here we click on Apply Changes to set the package's installation in MinGW, as given below.

10. After click on the Apply button, it shows the below image.

11. After downloading the packages, it shows the installation process of the package, as shown below.

Here we can see all the changes have been successfully applied and then click on the Close button.

Set the Environment Path for the MinGW Set Up

After downloading and installing the MinGW compiler, we now set the environment path to include the C/C++ compiler directory.

1. Go to the installation directory of the MinGW Set Up. Here we installed the setup at the C drive, as shown below.

2. Double click on the MinGW folder. It shows the below image.

3. After that, click on the bin folder and then copy the directory path, as shown below.

Here is the path of the MinGW folder path: C:MinGWbin

4. After copying the directory path, go to This PC -> Right Click on This PC -> Select/ Click on the Properties. It shows the below image.

5. After that, click on the Advanced system settings to display a popup box of System Properties, as shown below.

Run C Program In Visual Studio Code Mac

6. Click on the Environment Variables to set the directory path, as shown below.

C Programming In Visual Studio

First, we have to click on the System Variables Path and then click on the Edit button, as shown in the above image.

7. As we click on the Edit button, it shows a popup window to set a new path, as shown below.

In the above image, first, we click on the New button and then paste the C:MinGWbin path; after that, click the OK button.

8. Similarly, click the OK button to the Environment Variables and System Properties.

9. If we want to check that the MinGW has been successfully installed in the system: go to the Command Prompt or cmd, write the gcc -version, and press the Enter

Start Coding in the Visual Studio Code Editor

1. Here we created a C Program folder to store all program code. We can create a folder with any name in any directory.

Can We Do C Programming In Visual Studio Code

2. Go to the VS Code and click on the Add Folder.

3. As we click on the Add Folder, it shows a popup dialog box to select the folder to store the program.

4. After selecting the folder, click on the Add The selected folder appears in the explorer section, as we have shown below.

5. Move the mouse over the C PROGRAM folder; it shows a + Click on the button and write the file name as JavaTpoint.c, as shown below.

Now write and understand simple C programming in the VS Code editor.


After writing the code, right-click on the program, as shown below.

Click on the Run Code option or press Ctrl + Alt + N from the button. It shows the following output.


Let's write a program to calculate the area and perimeter of the rectangle in the VS Code editor.


We can click on the Run button or press the Ctrl + Alt + N from the keyboard. It displays the below output.

Let's write another C program to take an input from the user in the Visual Studio Code Editor.


When we click on the Run button or press the Ctrl + Alt + N, it displays the below output.

In the above program, we take length and breadth as input from the keyboard. As the program is compiled, it produces the below statement.

Here Output tab is read-only, and hence we cannot take any input from the user. So, we need to add some steps in the code editor to take user inputs from the console/user.

Following are the steps to take input from the user.

  1. First of all, we need to stop the background running the c program by pressing the Alt + Ctrl + M from the keyboard.
  2. After stopping the C file, go & click the File button at the top left corner of the Visual Studio Code Editor, and select the Settings via Preferences, as shown below image.
  3. After clicking the Settings, it shows the image below.
    In this image, select the extension button to set the settings for the C Compiler.
  4. Click on the Extension button and scroll the drop-down box to select the Run Code Configuration.
  5. Now scroll the right-side pane and Tick on the Run In Terminal.
  6. Go to the c and again execute the program by clicking on the Run, it produces the following results, as shown below.