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4 December 2018

./VSCode: How to Set a Custom Python Virtualenv Workspace

by iamjohnnym

A common question I’ve come across, outside of how to manage Python environments, is how to make VSCode use your project’s virtual environment. The solution is easy. The goal of this article is to configure a single project’s VSCode Workspace to use a virtual environment.



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There’s two ways that we can configure our workspace to leverage our virtualenv. The first way, we can manually create the directory, the settings file, and the contents of the file tell vscode where to find our python interpreter. The second way will be through the UI, which is also pretty straight forward.

Your project document root will contain a directory called, .vscode. Inside of that directory is a json document called settings.json. This is the file that we will be creating/modifying for your VSCode Workspace.

./workspace –command-line

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To get things started, navigate to your projects document root. For the purpose of this article, our projects document root is located at ~/projects/vscode_workspace. Our virtualenv will reside within the project root in a directory called .venv, ~/projects/vscode_workspace/.venv. If you need some assistence on setting up a virtualenv, you can take a look at this article, Managing python with pyenv and direnv. Go ahead and create your virtualenv too.

$ cd ~/projects/vscode_workspace
$ mkdir .vscode
$ python -m venv .venv
$ tree -a
├── .python-version
├── .venv
│   ├── bunch-of-python-files
└── .vscode

Excellent. We have the minimal requirements to configure VSCode with our virtualenv. Next, lets create the settings.json file that will tie them together!

$ echo <<EOF > ~/projects/vscode_workspace/.vscode/settings.json
    "python.pythonPath": ".venv/bin/python"

That’s it. You can now launch your project and your virtualenv will be configured for use in VSCode.

./workspace –within-vscode

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For some reason you don’t want to set up VSCode to use your virtualenv with the previous method, you can still do it from within VSCode itself. Go ahead and navigate to your project directory and set up your virtualenv. Once complete, launch your project with code . or inside of VSCode.

On the menu bar, click on Code => Preferences => Settings. This will launch a tab. In this tab, click on Workspace Settings, and then on the far right side on the same row, click on ... => Open settings.json. This create yet another tab with a split window. The left side will be a list of all default settings while the right hand side is your workspace settings. If this is a fresh run, you will only see {} and nothing more. The search bar is at the top.

In the search by, search for python.pythonPath. Hover over the entry on the left hand side and click on the 🖊 => Copy to settings. This will copy it to the right hand side, which is the file in ~/projects/vscode_workspace/.vscode/settings.json. Change the string from python to .venv/bin/python. You should now have an entry that looks like so:

    "python.pythonPath": ".venv/bin/python"


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That’s it. Your VSCode is now using your project’s virtualenv that you configured in your projects document root. Ez pz lemon squeezy!

tags: python - vscode - virtualenv
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