GitHub release (latest SemVer)

Open a file in your locally running Visual Studio Code instance from arbitrary terminal connections.


VS Code supports opening files with the terminal using code /path/to/file. While this is possible in WSL sessions and remote SSH sessions if the integrated terminal is used, it is currently not possible for arbitrary terminal sessions.

Say, you have just SSH’d into a remote server using your favorite terminal and would like to open a webserver config file in your local VS Code instance. So you type code nginx.conf, which doesn’t work in this terminal. If you try to run code nginx.conf in the integrated terminal however, VS Code opens it the file just fine.

The aim of this project is to make the code cli available to any terminal, not only to VS Code’s integrated terminal.


  • Linux – we make assumptions on where VS Code stores it data based on Linux

    Macs could also support everything out of the box, confirmation needed. Please don’t hesitate to come into contact if you have any information to share.

  • Python 3tested under Python 3.8, but slightly older versions should work fine

  • socat – used for pinging UNIX sockets

    apt-get install socat

VS Code Server

You need to set up VS Code Server before using this utility. For this, connect to your target in a remote SSH session.
Afterwards, you should have a folder .vscode-server in your home directory.



With fisher

fisher install chvolkmann/code-connect

This downloads and sets up an alias for you. See functions/


source <(curl

This downloads and sets up an alias for you. See

To uninstall, delete the alias from you ~/.bashrc and remove ~/.code-connect.


Set up an alias for code, pointing to by placing the following line in your shell’s rcfile (bash: ~/.bashrc, fish: ~/.config/fish/fuctions/

alias code="/path/to/"


Just use code like you normally would!

Usage: code [options][paths...]

To read from stdin, append '-' (e.g. 'ps aux | grep code | code -')

  -d --diff             Compare two files with each other.
  -a --add                  Add folder(s) to the last active window.
  -g --goto  Open a file at the path on the specified line and character position.
  -n --new-window                   Force to open a new window.
  -r --reuse-window                 Force to open a file or folder in an already opened window.
  -w --wait                         Wait for the files to be closed before returning.
  -h --help                         Print usage.

  -v --version Print version.
  -s --status  Print process usage and diagnostics information.



How it works

VS Code uses datagram sockets to communicate between a terminal and the rendering window.

The integrated terminal as well as the WSL terminal spawn an IPC socket. You also create one when manually attaching a remote SSH session. These sockets can be found in the folder VS Code Server.

Each time you connect remotely, the VS Code client instructs the server to fetch the newest version of itself. All versions are stored by commit id in ~/.vscode-server/bin. code-connect uses the version that has been most recently accessed. The corresponding binary can be found in ~/.vscode-server/bin//bin/code.

A similar method is used to list all of VS Code’s IPC sockets, which are located under /run/user//vscode-ipc-.sock, where is the current user’s UID and is a unique ID. VS Code does not seem to clean up all stale connections, so some of these sockets are active, some are not.

So the socket that is listening and that was accessed within a timeframe of 4 hours by default is chosen.

VS Code communicates the presence of an active IPC connection with the environment variable VSCODE_IPC_HOOK_CLI which stores the path to the socket.
You can verify this by opening a connection to your remote machine. In one case, you use VS Code’s integrated terminal. In the other case, you use any other terminal.



which displays an output in the integrated terminal, but not on the other one.

In order, every socket is checked to see if it is listening. For this, the following snippet based on this answer on StackOverflow was used.

socat -u OPEN:/dev/null UNIX-CONNECT:/path/to/socket

This returns 0 if and only if there’s something listening.

The script performs all of the above steps and runs the VS Code code executable as a child process with VSCODE_IPC_HOOK_CLI set properly.