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Visual Studio Code Kubernetes Tools

Build Status

The extension for developers building applications to run in Kubernetes clusters and for DevOps staff troubleshooting Kubernetes applications.

Works with any Kubernetes anywhere (Azure, Minikube, AWS, GCP and more!).

Features include:

  • View your clusters in an explorer tree view, and drill into workloads, services, pods and nodes.
  • Browse Helm repos and install charts into your Kubernetes cluster.
  • Intellisense for Kubernetes resources and Helm charts and templates.
  • Edit Kubernetes resource manifests and apply them to your cluster.
  • Build and run containers in your cluster from Dockerfiles in your project.
  • View diffs of a resource's current state against the resource manifest in your Git repo
  • Easily check out the Git commit corresponding to a deployed application.
  • Run commands or start a shell within your application's pods.
  • Get or follow logs and events from your clusters.
  • Forward local ports to your application's pods.
  • Create Helm charts using scaffolding and snippets.
  • Watch resources in the cluster explorer and get live updates as they change

What's new in this version? See the change log to find out!

Getting started with the extension


Open this extension in the Visual Studio Marketplace


The Kubernetes extension may need to invoke the following command line tools, depending on which features you use. You will need kubectl at minimum, and docker or buildah if you plan to use the extension to build applications rather than only browse.

  • kubectl
  • docker or buildah
  • helm

Optional tools:

  • az (Azure CLI - only if using the extension to create or register Azure clusters)
  • minikube (only if you want to use it)
  • git (only if using the 'sync working copy to repository' feature)
  • buildah (can be used as an alternative container image build tool)

We recommend you install these binaries on your system PATH before using the extension. If these binaries aren't on your system PATH, then some commands may not work. If the extension needs one of the core Kubernetes tools and it's missing, it will offer to install it for you.

Configuration settings for building and running applications

If you want to use the Kubernetes: Run and Kubernetes: Debug features then you need to configure a user and repository for your container images. This is required because these commands need pushing an image of your application for your cluster to run it. To do this, add the following to your VS Code preferences (File > Preferences):

  "vsdocker.imageUser": "<your-image-prefix-here>",

where <your-image-prefix-here> is something like

That's it! You're good to go.

Working with kubeconfigs

By default, the extension uses the active kubeconfig file -- that is, the file to which the KUBECONFIG environment variable points, or the default kubeconfig if no KUBECONFIG environment variable exists. You can override this using the vs-kubernetes.kubeconfig setting in your user or workspace settings.

If you want to swap between multiple kubeconfig files, you can list them in the vs-kubernetes.knownKubeconfigs configuration setting and switch between them using the Set Kubeconfig command.

If you want to skip TLS verification for a particular cluster, you can edit your ~/.kube/config and set the insecure-skip-tls-verify: true flag under the proper cluster:

- cluster:
    insecure-skip-tls-verify: true
    server: https://my-insecure-cluster:443
    name: my-insecure-cluster:443

Commands and features

vs-kubernetes-tools supports a number of commands for interacting with Kubernetes; these are accessible via the command menu (Ctrl+Shift+P) and may be bound to keys in the normal way.


General commands

  • Kubernetes: Load - Load a resource from the Kubernetes API and create a new editor window.
  • Kubernetes: Get - Get the status for a specific resource.
  • Kubernetes: Logs - Open a view with a set of options to display/follow logs.
  • Kubernetes: Follow Events - Follow events on a selected namespace.
  • Kubernetes: Show Events - Show events on a selected namespace.
  • Kubernetes: Watch - Watch a specific resource or all resources of that object type, and update the cluster explorer as they change
  • Kubernetes: Stop Watching - Stop watching the specific resource

Commands while viewing a Kubernetes manifest file

  • Kubernetes: Explain - Use the kubectl explain ... tool to annotate Kubernetes API objects
  • Kubernetes: Create - Create an object using the current document
  • Kubernetes: Delete - Delete an object contained in the current document.
  • Kubernetes: Apply - Apply changes to an object contained in the current document.
  • Kubernetes: Expose - Expose the object in the current document as a service.
  • Kubernetes: Describe - Describe the object in a terminal window.
  • Kubernetes: Diff - Show the difference between a local copy of the object, and that which is deployed to the cluster.

Commands for application directories

  • Kubernetes: Run - Run the current application as a Kubernetes Deployment
  • Kubernetes: Terminal - Open an interactive terminal session in a pod of the Kubernetes Deployment
  • Kubernetes: Exec - Run a command in a pod of the Kubernetes Deployment
  • Kubernetes: Debug (Launch) - Run the current application as a Kubernetes Deployment and attach a debugging session to it (currently works only for Java/Node.js deployments). See Debug support on Kubernetes cluster for more details.
  • Kubernetes: Debug (Attach) - Attach a debugging session to an existing Kubernetes Deployment (currently works only for Java deployments). See Debug support on Kubernetes cluster for more details.
  • Kubernetes: Remove Debug - Remove the deployment and/or service created for a Kubernetes Debug (Launch) session
  • Kubernetes: Sync Working Copy to Cluster - Checks out the version of the code that matches what is deployed in the cluster. (This relies on Docker image versions also being Git commit IDs, which the extension does if you use the Run command to build the container, but which typically doesn't work for containers/deployments done by other means.)

Cluster creation commands

  • Kubernetes: Create Cluster - Initiate the flow for creating a Kubernetes cluster with a selected cloud provider (eg: Azure), or creating a Minikube cluster locally.

Configuration commands

  • Kubernetes: Add Existing Cluster - Install and configure the Kubernetes command line tool (kubectl) from a cloud cluster, such as an Azure Container Service (ACS) or Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster
  • Kubernetes: Set as Current Cluster - Select from a list of configured clusters to set the "current" cluster. Used for searching, displaying, and deploying Kubernetes resources.
  • Kubernetes: Delete Context - Remove a cluster's configuration from the kubeconfig file.
  • Kubernetes: Set Kubeconfig - Select from a list of known kubeconfig files (for users who keep different kubeconfig files for different environments).
  • Kubernetes: Show Cluster Info - For a cluster, show the status of Kubernetes Components (API Server, etcd, KubeDNS, etc.) in a terminal window.
  • Kubernetes: Use Namespace - Select from a list of namespaces to set the "current" namespace. Used for searching, displaying, and deploying Kubernetes resources.

ConfigMap and Secret commands

  • Kubernetes: Add File - Adds a file as a ConfigMap or a Secret
  • Kubernetes: Delete File - Deletes a file from a ConfigMap or a Secret

Miscellaneous commands

  • Kubernetes: Open Dashboard - Opens the Kubernetes Dashboard in your browser.
  • Kubernetes: Port Forward - Prompts user for a local port and a remote port to bind to on a Pod.
  • Kubernetes: Select Pod - It allows to select a pod from a list of pods belonging to the "current" namespace. It can be invoked through command substitution ${command:extension.vsKubernetesSelectPod}. See Commands for debugging for more details.


Minikube runs a local, single node Kubernetes cluster inside a VM. Support is currently experimental, and requires Minikube tools to be installed and available on your PATH.

  • Kubernetes: Start minikube - Starts Minikube
  • Kubernetes: Stop minikube - Stops Minikube


Helm is the package manager for Kubernetes and provides a way for you to define, install and upgrade applications using 'charts.' This extension provides a set of tools for creating and testing Helm charts:

  • Syntax highlighting for YAML + Helm Templates
  • Autocomplete for Helm, Sprig, and Go Tpl functions
  • Help text (on hover) for Helm, Sprig, and Go Tpl functions
  • Snippets for quickly scaffolding new charts and templates
  • Commands for...
    • Helm: Create Chart - Create a new chart
    • Helm: Get Release - Get a helm release from the cluster
    • Helm: Lint - Lint your chart
    • Helm: Preview Template - Open a preview window and preview how your template will render
    • Helm: Template - Run your chart through the template engine
    • Helm: Dry Run - Run a helm install --dry-run --debug on a remote cluster and get the results (NOTE: requires Tiller on the remote cluster)
    • Helm: Version - Get the Helm version
    • Helm: Insert Dependency - Insert a dependency YAML fragment
    • Helm: Dependency Update - Update a chart's dependencies
    • Helm: Package - Package a chart directory into a chart archive
    • Helm: Convert to Template - Create a template based on an existing resource or manifest
    • Helm: Convert to Template Parameter - Convert a fixed value in a template to a parameter in the values.yaml file
  • Code lenses for:
    • requirements.yaml (Add and update dependencies)
  • Right-click on a chart .tgz file, and choose inspect chart to preview all configurable chart values.

Extension Settings

The Kubernetes extension enables variable substitution for settings that require a path as a value. Variable substitution can be done using the ${variableName} syntax. You can find a list of the variables supported in the variables-reference documentation.

  • vs-kubernetes - Parent for Kubernetes-related extension settings
    • vs-kubernetes.namespace - The namespace to use for all commands
    • vs-kubernetes.kubectl-path (deprecated) - File path to the kubectl binary. Note this is the binary file itself, not just the directory containing the file. On Windows, this must contain the .exe extension. This is deprecated, please use vscode-kubernetes.kubectl-path instead.
    • vs-kubernetes.helm-path (deprecated) - File path to the helm binary. Note this is the binary file itself, not just the directory containing the file. On Windows, this must contain the .exe extension. This is deprecated, please use vscode-kubernetes.helm-path instead.
    • vs-kubernetes.minikube-path (deprecated) - File path to the minikube binary. Note this is the binary file itself, not just the directory containing the file. On Windows, this must contain the .exe extension. This is deprecated, please use vscode-kubernetes.minikube-path instead.
    • vs-kubernetes.kubectlVersioning - By default, the extension uses the kubectl binary you provide on the system PATH or in the vs-kubernetes.kubectl-path configuration setting. If you set this setting to infer, then for each cluster the extension will attempt to identify the cluster version and download a compatible kubectl binary. This improves compatibility if you have multiple Kubernetes versions in play, but may be slower. Note: this setting is checked only when the extension loads; if you change it, you must reload the extension.
    • vs-kubernetes.kubeconfig - File path to the kubeconfig file you want to use. This overrides both the default kubeconfig and the KUBECONFIG environment variable.
    • vs-kubernetes.knownKubeconfigs - An array of file paths of kubeconfig files that you want to be able to quickly switch between using the Set Kubeconfig command.
    • vs-kubernetes.autoCleanupOnDebugTerminate - The flag to control whether to auto cleanup the created deployment and associated pod by the command "Kubernetes: Debug (Launch)". The cleanup action occurs when it failed to start debug session or debug session terminated. If not specified, the extension will prompt for whether to clean up or not. You might choose not to clean up if you wanted to view pod logs, etc.
    • vs-kubernetes.outputFormat - The output format that you prefer to view Kubernetes manifests in. One of "yaml" or "json". Defaults to "yaml".
    • vs-kubernetes.resources-to-watch - List of resources to be watched. To identify a resource the extension uses the label displayed in the cluster explorer. E.g. ["Pods", "Services", "Namespaces"].
    • vscode-kubernetes.enable-snap-flag - Enables compatibility with instances of VS Code that were installed using snap.
    • vs-kubernetes.disable-context-info-status-bar - Disable displaying your current Kubernetes context in VS Code's status bar. When active, it can be used to switch context from the status bar.
    • vs-kubernetes.disable-namespace-info-status-bar - Disable displaying your current Kubernetes namespace in VS Code's status bar. When active, it can be used to switch namespace from the status bar.
    • vs-kubernetes.suppress-kubectl-not-found-alerts - Turns off the warning (and installation prompt) if kubectl was not found. You should not normally set this, as most of the extension depends on kubectl, but it can be useful if working primarily with Helm.
    • vs-kubernetes.suppress-helm-not-found-alerts - Turns off the warning (and installation prompt) if helm was not found.
    • vs-kubernetes.ignore-recommendations - Set to true to silence Kubernetes extension recommendation notifications.
    • vs-kubernetes.minikube-show-information-expiration - Set to valid expiration date for minikube install to show information dialog box to display.
    • vs-kubernetes.enable-minimal-workflow - Enables the minimal workflow for several actions (Get, Describe, Scale, Expose, Switch). By executing one of those commands the queries to the cluster are reduced at minimum and users are able to freely type the resource name to use.
  • vsdocker.imageUser - Image prefix for the container images e.g. ''
  • checkForMinikubeUpgrade - On extension startup, notify if a minikube upgrade is available. Defaults to true.
  • disable-lint - Disable all linting of Kubernetes files
  • disable-linters - Disable specific linters by name
  • vscode-kubernetes.kubectl-path - File path to the kubectl binary. Note this is the binary file itself, not just the directory containing the file. On Windows, this must contain the .exe extension.
  • vscode-kubernetes.helm-path - File path to the helm binary. Note this is the binary file itself, not just the directory containing the file. On Windows, this must contain the .exe extension.
  • vscode-kubernetes.minikube-path - File path to the minikube binary. Note this is the binary file itself, not just the directory containing the file. On Windows, this must contain the .exe extension.
  • vscode-kubernetes.log-viewer.follow - Set to true to follow logs by default in the log viewer.
  • vscode-kubernetes.log-viewer.timestamp - Set to true to show timestamps by default in the log viewer.
  • vscode-kubernetes.log-viewer.since - How far back to fetch logs from in seconds by default. Set to -1 for all logs.
  • vscode-kubernetes.log-viewer.tail - The number of recent logs to display by default in the log viewer. Set to -1 for all log lines.
  • vscode-kubernetes.log-viewer.destination - Where to display logs, defaults to the dedicated Webview.
  • vscode-kubernetes.log-viewer.wrap - Set to true to wrap lines by default in the log viewer.
  • vscode-kubernetes.log-viewer.autorun - Set to true to automatically begin fetching logs once the log viewer is opened using the default settings.

Custom tool locations

For kubectl and helm, the binaries do not need to be on the system PATH. You can configure the extension by specifying the locations using the appropriate vs-kubernetes -> vs-kubernetes.${tool}-path configuration setting. See Extension Settings below.

The extension can install kubectl and helm for you if they are missing - choose Install dependencies when you see an error notification for the missing tool. This will set kubectl-path and helm-path entries in your configuration for the current OS (see "Portable extension configuration" below) - the programs will not be installed on the system PATH, but this will be sufficient for them to work with the extension.

If you are working with Azure Container Services or Azure Kubernetes Services, then you can install and configure kubectl using the Kubernetes: Add Existing Cluster command.

Portable extension configuration

If you move your configuration file between machines with different OSes (and therefore different paths to binaries) you can override the following settings on a per-OS basis by appending .windows, .mac or .linux to the setting name:

  • vs-kubernetes.kubectl-path
  • vs-kubernetes.helm-path
  • vs-kubernetes.minikube-path

For example, consider the following settings file:

  "vs-kubernetes": {
    "vs-kubernetes.kubectl-path": "/home/foo/kubernetes/bin/kubectl",
    "": "c:\\Users\\foo\\kubernetes\\bin\\kubectl.exe"

The first path would be used when invoking kubectl on Mac or Linux machines. The second would be used when invoking kubectl on Windows machines.

Keybinding support

The following commands support arguments in keybindings:

  • Set Kubeconfig (command ID extension.vsKubernetesUseKubeconfig) - the keybinding can specify a string argument which is the kubeconfig file path to switch to. This allows you to set up specific keybindings for your favourite kubeconfigs.


The extension supports linting Kubernetes YAML files for potential problems or suggestions. Here are the various linters, you can enable or disable them individually using the disable-linters configuration value.

  • resource-limits: Warn when a Pod is missing resource limits
  "vs-kubernetes": {
    "disable-linters": [

YAML processing directives

You can customise how the extension processes a YAML file by putting a comment of the form # vscode-kubernetes-tools: ...directive(s)... at the top of the file. The comment must appear before any YAML elements (this saves us having to scan the whole of YAML files that could easily be tens of thousands of lines!). Other comments and blank lines are okay.

The following directives are supported:

  • exclude: Do not treat this file as a Kubernetes manifest. This is useful when you have files that look a lot like Kubernetes manifests but aren't, such as Kustomize patch files.

Extension data

This extension stores its associated files and data in $XDG_STATE_HOME/vs-kubernetes (at ~/.local/state/vs-kubernetes by default). However, if the legacy directory of ~/.vs-kubernetes still exists, then that will be used instead.

Known issues

  • Kubernetes: Debug command currently works only with Go, Node.js, Java, Python and .NET applications
  • For deeply nested Helm charts, template previews are generated against highest (umbrella) chart values (though for Helm: Template calls you can pick your chart)
  • When installing VS Code and/or kubectl through snap on a Linux system, you may face some permissions error which will prevent this extension to work correctly. As a workaround you can set up the vs-kubernetes.enable-snap-flag setting to true in your user or workspace settings.

Release notes

See the change log.


This extension collects telemetry data to help us build a better experience for building applications with Kubernetes and VS Code. We only collect the following data:

  • Which commands are executed, and whether they are executed against an Azure, Minikube or other type of cluster.
  • For the Create Cluster and Add Existing Cluster commands, the cluster type selected and the execution result (success/failure).

We do not collect any information about image names, paths, etc. We collect cluster type information only if the cluster is Azure or a local cluster such as Minikube. The extension respects the telemetry.enableTelemetry setting which you can learn more about in our FAQ.

Running from source

If you are building and running the extension from source, see for prerequisites for the development environment.

Installing from VSIX

If you are installing the extension from its VSIX, note that the machine will still need to reach the Visual Studio Marketplace in order to download extension dependencies. If the machine cannot reach the Marketplace, you will need to install these dependencies manually using their VSIXes. The list of extension dependencies can be found in package.json, in the extensionDependencies section.

GitHub Pages Website

This project has a simple landing page website (visible at which is detailed here.


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

When you submit a pull request, a CLA-bot will automatically determine whether you need to provide a CLA and decorate the PR appropriately (e.g., label, comment). Simply follow the instructions provided by the bot. You will only need to do this once across all repos using our CLA.

See Code of Conduct for the standards by which we ask community members to abide.

For technical information about contributing, see


This extension was born from the vs-kubernetes extension by @brendandburns and the vs-helm extension by @technosophos.

The 'infer kubectl version' feature was inspired by @jakepearson's k utility (, and some parts of the design were based on his implementation.