Getting Started with the VS Code Debugger

Unlike the ExtendScript Toolkit, the VS Code debugger takes some work to get up and running. This document is intended to make that process as straightforward as possible.


This guide is meant to walk you through how to install and run the Extendscript for VS Code debugger.

If you’re looking on how to use specific features of the extension, see VS Code Extension Features.

Generally, you’ll need to follow these steps:

Installing the extension

Either head to the extension marketplace link and install from there, or search “ExtendScript Debugger” within VS Code’s extension browser and install.

If you’re going the latter route, make sure you’re installing the one from Adobe!

Opening a project directory

  • File > Open Folder

  • Choose your project directory

Creating a debug launch task

To use the extension, you need to create a debug task for VS Code to run when you want to debug extendscript.

In your project directory:

  • create a folder called .vscode (with the period)

  • in that folder, create a file launch.json

  • paste in the following code

      "version": "0.2.0",
      "configurations": [
          "type": "extendscript-debug",
          "request": "launch",
          "name": "Run Current Script",
          "program": "${file}",
          "stopOnEntry": false,
          "excludes": [
            // "Function",
  • this will let you run the debugger on the currently open file

  • it also keeps functions included in the default object browser during breakpoints, which are otherwise excluded

If you wanted to run a task on a specific file, not necessarily the currently-open one, you’d replace the program entry with something like:

  • For a specific script:

  • To be prompted for the filename / path to a jsx folder:


Attaching the debugger

Once the extension is installed:

  • Open a JS workspace

  • Launch your Adobe app of choice

  • At the bottom of your VS Code window, at the far right of the status bar, you should see ‘Select the target application’ glowing yellow

  • Click this and pick the application you want to debug for

Running the debugger

Once you’ve set up your environment and built your script:

  • In VS Code, Debug > Start Debugging > ‘Run Current Script’ (or the task name you specified in Creating a debug launch task

  • If the script throws any errors, you’ll be able to view variables & a call stack


If you’re compiling the end jsx file from a number of source files, the debugger will catch errors in the compiled script, not the source files – you’ll need to backtrack yourself to figure out what source file the error came from, unless you’re building source maps in some way.

This may not apply to compiled files using #include

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