Use Visual Studio Code to Auto-format JSON

My last few articles have focused on using Visual Studio Code to build a series of scripts to help manage Analysis Services data models. As part of this work, I’ve found Visual Studio Code to be extremely helpful in other ways too, such as a very powerful text editor with many features you may find in other advanced text editing tools. So much so, I now use Visual Studio Code as the primary tool I use when working with text files – regardless if any code is involved.

One task in particular I find helpful is to auto format JSON text to either make it more readable, or to identify issues with the structure of the JSON itself – such as missing brackets etc.

Here is a simple example showing how you can create an empty file and paste in some JSON text. Depending on the JSON, the file will auto detect you are working with JSON data, or you need to set the language using the status bar in the bottom right-hand corner.

The animation also shows how you can use the tool to help you fix issues to do with how well-formed the the JSON code is.

The key-map to auto-format the selected JSON is ALT-SHIFT-F.

This is the same key-map to auto-format other languages too, so I often find myself doing CTRL-A (for select all text) followed by ALT-SHIFT-F to fix my messy C# code after a series of cut and paste operations.

Another Visual Studio Code tip

If you find you enjoy using Visual Studio Code to work with text documents, I recommend you ensure the following settings are enabled when you install (or re-install) Visual Studio Code. Once you enabled these check-boxes, you get the option to “Open in Code” when right-clicking a file or folder in Windows Explorer. Essential stuff!

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