Advanced topics

This document describes more advanced ways of working with the VS Code Go extension.

Choosing a different version of Go

The extension chooses the go command using the PATH (or Path) environment variable by default. You can configure the extension to choose a different version of go with one of the following options.

  • (Preferred) Adjust your PATH or Path environment variable, and open VS Code with the adjusted environment variable, or
  • Use the Go extension's "Go: Choose Go Environment" command that opens a menu to change the go version, or
  • Use the "go.alternateTools" settings and specify the absolute path to the go command. "go.alternateTools": { "go": "/path/to/go/command" }

note: For historical reasons, some users configure the "go.goroot"

settings or the GOROOT environment variable to select the Go SDK location. With recent versions of Go, that's unnecessary in most cases.

Configuring the installation of command-line tools

The Go: Install/Update Tools command uses the go get command to download and install requested tools. By default, go get will install the compiled tools in one of the following directories.

  • the directory the GOBIN environment variable specifies, or
  • the bin directory under the first GOPATH (or "go.gopath") directory, or
  • the $HOME/go/bin (or $USERPROFILE/go/bin) directory.

Some users prefer to choose a different installation location. In that case, use the "go.toolsGopath" setting.

The extension finds the required tools by their names (go, gopls, dlv, etc.). The "go.alternateTools" setting provides a way to configure the extension to use different tool location, for example a wrapper with a different name.

Using a custom linter

A commonly customized feature is the linter, which is the tool used to provide coding style feedback and suggestions. This extension supports linters such as staticcheck, golangci-lint, and revive. You can choose one of them using the "go.lintTool" setting. For customization of the linter, please consult the linter's documentation.

Note that if you are using staticcheck, you can enable it to run within gopls by setting "gopls": { "ui.diagnostic.staticcheck": true }.

Working on the Go standard library and the Go tools

This extension can be used for developing the standard library with additional configuration.

First, you must open the src/ folder in VS Code, not the Go tree root. (See golang/go#32394.)

Then, you need to configure the workspace, by placing the following in src/.vscode/settings.json. Command Palette -> Preferences: Open Workspace Settings (JSON) will open the settings file.

  // Use the local go tool. This needs to be built with make.bash.
  "go.alternateTools": {
    "go": "~/godev/bin/go"

  // Below is optional.
  // Build a separate set of tools. For golang/vscode-go#294.
  "go.toolsGopath": "~/.vscode/godev",
  // Don't reformat HTML files since we have a custom style.
  "html.format.enable": false

The above assumes the Go tree is checked out at ~/godev. If your Go tree is somewhere else, modify go.alternateTools.go to point to the go binary accordingly. Many underlying tools including gopls invoke the go command (go list, etc), so we assume the binary isn't completely broken.

You can add .vscode to .git/info/exclude to avoid risking checking settings.json into git.

If you see an “inconsistent vendoring” error, please report it at golang/go#40250.

Formatting Code and Organizing Imports

When you have multiple formatter extensions, be sure to set this extension as the default formatter for go language.

"[go]": {
  "editor.defaultFormatter": "golang.go"

Formatting and organizing imports are enabled by default. You can choose to disable them by configuring the following settings.

"[go]": {
        "editor.formatOnSave": false,
        "editor.codeActionsOnSave": {
            "source.organizeImports": false