Do you know about the library that powers VSCode?


If you use VSCode as religiously as I do, you'd agree how amazing a tool it is.

In this blog post, let's learn what makes the code editing aspects of VSCode to be this awesome.

Monaco Editor:

Monaco Editor is a JavaScript library that powers VSCode.

It comes with lots of features built-in such as:

  1. Diff Editor

  2. Syntax highlighting

  3. Breadcrumbs navigation

  4. Command Palette

  5. Go To * functionality (ex: Ctrl+Click)

    and many more!!

Acc. to Monaco's FAQ, it is generated from VS Code's source code with wrappers for certain functionalities that are unavailable when running inside a browser.

Try it online

Open the Monaco Editor Playground and use the dropdown to load various examples provided by default and get to know Monaco a little more.

Link: Playground

Integrating into your project

Let's see how to set up Monaco in a vanilla HTML5 project.

I highly recommend using any existing integrations for your UI framework for production environments.

Click here to look for a suitable package for your project at NPM.

Let's create a project directory named playground and install monaco-editor.

# init NPM project
mkdir playground
cd playground
npm init -y

# install monaco-editor
npm install monaco-editor@latest

Initialize Monaco editor with a default index.html file inside the project.

<!-- index.html -->
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <title>Monaco Editor Demo</title>

    <link href="./style.css" rel="stylesheet">

    <div id="container"></div>

<!-- A hack to let monaco "require" necessary packages -->
    var require = { paths: { vs: 'node_modules/monaco-editor/min/vs' } };

<script src="node_modules/monaco-editor/min/vs/loader.js"></script>
<script src="node_modules/monaco-editor/min/vs/editor/editor.main.nls.js"></script>
<script src="node_modules/monaco-editor/min/vs/editor/editor.main.js"></script>

<!-- A custom script to init monaco editor -->
<script src="./scripts.js"></script>

/* style.css */
body, #container {
    height: 100vh; /* mandatory */
// scripts.js

// Initialize monaco editor on init
document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function () {
    const container = document.getElementById('container');

    // Create new instance of editor
    const editor = monaco.editor.create(container, {
        // text to show inside editor
        value: "function hello() {\n\talert('Hello world!');\n}",
        // for better syntax highlight and auto-complete
        language: 'javascript',

You should see something like this:

Monaco editor in action

If it didn't work, try running the code from a http:// or https:// context by using an HTTP server.
You can often get away with npx http-server inside the project directory and then goto http://localhost:8000 in your web browser.

Command Palette

We can launch Command Palette by either right-clicking anywhere inside Monaco editor and selecting it or by pressing F1 on your keyboard.

Monaco editor with Command Pallete open

There's a lot more that can be done with Monaco which is difficult to put in this post. Feel free to explore more using the Playground.


I hope you learned something new today. Consider giving this post a ❤ if you liked it.

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Bye for now :-)