Install content authoring tools

This article describes the steps to interactively install Git client tools and Visual Studio Code.


If you're making only minor changes to an article, you do not need to complete the steps in this article and can continue directly to the quick changes workflow.

Contributors who will be making major changes are encouraged to complete these steps, which enable you to use the major/long-running changes workflow. Even if you have write permissions in the main repository, we highly recommend (and this guide assumes) that you fork and clone the repository, so that you have read/write permissions to store your proposed changes in your fork.

Install Git client tools

This install includes the Git version control system and Git Bash, the command-line app that you use to interact with your local Git repository.

Install Git client tools for Windows

  1. Download Git for Windows.

  2. Run the downloaded executable (.EXE) file and follow the prompts to install. Select Next at each prompt to accept all default settings.

  3. Select a code editor, when prompted. The default code editor is Vim, which is difficult to use if you're not already familiar with it. To change the default code editor, see Set up an editor.

  4. Select Finish to complete the installation.

    Git setup page for completing setup.

After installing the Git for Windows, you'll have to configure your Git name and your email address, before installing Visual Studio Code.

Install Git client tools for Mac and Linux

  • Git for Mac is provided as part of the Xcode Command Line Tools. Simply run git from the command line. You will be prompted to install the command line tools if needed. You can also download Git for Mac from the Software Freedom Conservancy.
  • Git for Linux and Unix

Follow the instructions for your chosen client for installation and configuration.

In the next article, you will Set up a local Git repository.

Additional Git resources are available here: Git terminology | Git basics | Learning Git and GitHub

Install Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code, also known as VS Code, is a lightweight editor that works on Windows, Linux, and Mac. It includes git integration, and support for extensions.


To launch VS Code and open the current folder, run the command code . in the command line or bash shell. If the current folder is part of a local git repo, the GitHub integration appears in Visual Studio Code automatically.

Install Visual Studio Code for Window, mac and Linux

  • Windows. The VS Code home page should detect your operating system correctly.
  • Mac
  • Linux

Install Visual Studio Code extensions

To install the extensions:

  1. Start Visual Studio Code.

  2. Select the square Extensions icon on the left nav. The Extensions: Marketplace pane appears.

  3. In the Search Extensions in the Marketplace search box, type the name of an extension you want to find.

    Screenshot showing the extensions icon and pointing to the Search Extensions in Marketplace search bar on VS code.

  4. In the results that appear, locate the extension you want and select Install.

Install Learn Authoring Pack


The Learn Authoring Pack for Visual Studio Code includes basic Markdown authoring assistance, page previews, support for Markdown templates, markdownlint, and Code Spell Checker. These features ease and streamline the contributions process. As such, we consider the Learn Authoring Pack a required extension for contributors.

To install the Learn Authoring Pack, choose Install from the Learn Authoring Pack page in the VS Code Marketplace.

To use the Learn Authoring Pack functionality, press Alt+M in Visual Studio Code. To configure a toolbar to show the functions available, edit the Visual Studio Code settings (Control+comma), and add user setting "markdown.showToolbar": true.

For more information, see Learn Authoring Pack for Visual Studio Code.

Understand Markdown editors

Markdown is a lightweight markup language used to author the content. Visual Studio Code is the preferred tool for editing Markdown at Microsoft. Other Markdown editing tools are available. The Markdown Reference article covers Markdown basics and the features supported by Open Publishing Services (OPS) custom Markdown extensions.

Next steps

Now you are ready to Set up a local Git repository.