Using Pybricks with Visual Studio Code

Using Pybricks with Visual Studio Code

Configure Visual Studio Code to use Pybricks.


Visual Studio Code is a free code editor available from Microsoft. For new users we recommend using Pybricks Code instead. However, if you are an advanced user that prefers VS Code, read on.

Creating a new project

If you are using Pybricks on LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3, we recommend using the official LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 MicroPython extension for VS Code. Everything you need to know from how to install the extension to how to create a new project is detailed in the official docs.

For Powered Up hubs, you can create a new project by simply creating a new, empty folder on your computer and opening that folder in VS Code.

Code completion

To get code completion/intellisene working in VS Code you will need to install the Pylance extension and the pybricks Python package (preferably in a virtual environment).

Installing Python and the Pylance extension

To use Pylance, you will need Python installed on your computer. You can install Python from the official site, or using your favorite package manager. On Linux, Python is most likely already installed.

On Ubuntu, you will also need to ensure the venv package is installed.

sudo apt install python3-venv

Then follow the link above or search for “Pylance” in the Extensions in VS Code and click Install to install the Pylance extension.

Setting up a virtual environment

Once Python and Pylance are installed, you can use VS Code to set up an isolated virtual environment.

  • Open your project folder in VS Code.
  • If you created your project using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 MicroPython extension, you will need to edit the .vscode/settings.json file and remove the "python.languageServer": "None" line and save the file, otherwise skip this step.
  • Use F1 or CTRL+SHIFT+P (++P on macOS) to open the command palette in VS Code.
  • Type in “py create env” to search for Python: Create Environment and select that option.
  • It will ask you to “Select and environment type”. Choose Venv.
  • It will ask you to “Select Interpreter”. Choose the one you want. If you aren’t sure, choose the one that says Global.
  • There will now be a new subfolder in your project named .venv that contains the virtual environment and VS Code should set it as the interpreter to use for your project.
  • To use the virtual environment, open the command pallette again and search for “py create term” and select Python: Create Terminal.
  • This should open a new terminal and present a prompt that starts with (.venv), if all when well.

The equivalent command line invocation of steps above is:

# macOS/Linux
python3 -m venv .venv
. .venv/bin/activate
# Windows PowerShell
py -3 -m venv .venv

Installing the pybricks package

Once you have a (.venv) prompt as described in the previous section, you can install the pybricks package by typing the following in the terminal with the (.venv) prompt:

pip install pybricks

If you are using Pybricks v2.0 with EV3, type this instead to get the correct version:

pip install "pybricks<3"

Then you need to restart the Python language server to pick up the new package. In the command pallette, search for “py restart” and select Python: Restart Language Server.

Now code completion and intellisense should be working. You can try it by opening an existing file and hovering over text to see the relative documentation or you can create a new .py file and start typing from pybricks. and see suggestions on what comes next.

Downloading and running programs

If you are using Pybricks on EV3, then refer again to the official docs to learn how to use the Debug adapter from the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 MicroPython extension to download and run your programs.

For Powered up hubs, you must use the pybricksdev command line tool instead.

Install the pybricksdev package in the virtual environment:

pip install pybricksdev

Then run the following command (replacing my_program with the actual name of the program you want to run).

pybricksdev run ble

If you have more than one active hub, you can specify a specific hub by name:

pybricksdev run ble --name "my hub"

To get your program started with F5 or CTRL+F5, create a run configuration of type Python and subtype Module with module name pybricksdev and add following line to .vscode/launch.json:

    "args": ["run", "ble", "${file}"],

Common mistakes

Clicking any of the “run” buttons in VS Code (other than the one mentioned in the EV3 docs) will try to run the program on your computer instead of downloading and running it on the hub. When you do this, it may appear as nothing happened or if you didn’t install the pybricks package, you might get an error that the pybricks package could not be found. Be sure you follow the steps above to download and run a program.

This project was submitted by The Pybricks Team.