Emmet in Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code supports most of the Emmet Actions including expanding Emmet abbreviations and snippets.

In the July 2017 (v1.15) release of VS Code, we introduced Emmet 2.0, which enabled features like Emmet in the suggestions/auto-completion list, and multi-cursor support. Read more on the why's and how's of this major overhaul in the Emmet 2.0 blog post.

How to expand Emmet abbreviations and snippets

Emmet abbreviation and snippet expansions are enabled by default in html, haml, jade, slim, jsx, xml, xsl, css, scss, sass, less and stylus files. As well as any language that inherits from any of the above like handlebars and php.

When you start typing an Emmet abbreviation, you will see the abbreviation displayed in the suggestion list. If you have the suggestion documentation fly-out open, you will see a preview of the expansion as you type. If you are in a stylesheet file, the expanded abbreviation shows up in the suggestion list sorted among the other CSS suggestions.

Emmet in suggestion/auto-completion list

Emmet when quickSuggestions are disabled

If you have disabled the editor.quickSuggestions setting, you won't see suggestions as you type. You can still trigger suggestions manually by pressing kb(editor.action.triggerSuggest) and see the preview.

Disable Emmet in suggestions

If you don't want to see Emmet abbreviations in suggestions at all, then set emmet.showExpandedAbbreviation to never and use the command Emmet: Expand Abbreviation to expand your abbreviations. You can also bind any keyboard shortcut to the command id editor.emmet.action.expandAbbreviation as well.

    "emmet.showExpandedAbbreviation": "never"

Using Tab for Emmet expansions

If you want to use the kbstyle(Tab) key for expanding the Emmet abbreviations, add the setting emmet.triggerExpansionOnTab and set it to true. This setting allows using the kbstyle(Tab) key for indentation when text is not an Emmet abbreviation.

    "emmet.triggerExpansionOnTab": true

Emmet suggestion ordering

Emmet suggestions may not always show up at the top of the suggestion list. This can be either because you have set editor.snippetSuggestions to top or if you are on a stylesheet file, it is sorted among other CSS suggestions. To ensure Emmet suggestions are always on top, you can set emmet.showSuggestionsAsSnippets to true and editor.snippetSuggestions to top.

    "emmet.showSuggestionsAsSnippets": true,
    "editor.snippetSuggestions": "top"

Emmet abbreviations in other file types

To enable the Emmet abbreviation expansion in file types where it is not available by default, use the emmet.includeLanguages setting. Make sure to use language ids for both sides of the mapping.

For example:

"emmet.includeLanguages": {
    "javascript": "javascriptreact",
    "vue-html": "html",
    "plaintext": "jade"

Emmet has no knowledge of these new languages, and so you might feel Emmet suggestions showing up in non html/css context. To avoid this you can set emmet.showExpandedAbbreviation to inMarkupAndStylesheetFilesOnly.

Note: If you used emmet.syntaxProfiles previously to map new file types, from VS Code 1.15 onwards you should use the setting emmet.includeLanguages instead. emmet.syntaxProfiles is meant for customizing the final output only.

Using custom Emmet snippets

Custom Emmet snippets need to be defined in a json file named snippets.json. The emmet.extensionsPath setting should have the path to the directory containing this file.

Below is an example for the contents of this snippets.json file.

    "html": {
        "snippets": {
            "ull": "ul>li[id=${1} class=${2}]*2{ Will work with html, jade, haml and slim }",
            "oll": "<ol><li id=${1} class=${2}> Will only work in html </ol>",
            "ran": "{ Wrap plain text in curly braces }"
    "css": {
        "snippets": {
            "cb": "color: black",
            "bsd": "border: 1px solid ${1:red}",
            "ls": "list-style: ${1}"

Authoring of Custom Snippets in Emmet 2.0 via the snippets.json file differs from the old way of doing the same in a few ways:

Topic Old Emmet Emmet 2.0
Snippets vs Abbreviations Supports both in 2 separate properties called snippets and abbreviations The 2 have been combined into a single property called snippets. See default html snippets and css snippets
CSS snippet names Can contain : Do not use : when defining snippet names. It is used to separate property name and value when Emmet tries to fuzzy match the given abbreviation to one of the snippets.
CSS snippet values Can end with ; Do not add ; at end of snippet value. Emmet will add the trailing ; based on the file type (css/less/scss vs sass/stylus) or the emmet preference set for css.propertyEnd, sass.propertyEnd, stylus.propertyEnd
Cursor location ${cursor} or | can be used Use only textmate syntax like ${1} for tab stops and cursor locations

HTML Emmet snippets

HTML custom snippets are applicable to all other markup flavors like haml or jade. When snippet value is an abbreviation and not actual HTML, the appropriate transformations can be applied to get the right output as per the language type.

For example, for an unordered list with a list item, if your snippet value is ul>li, you can use the same snippet in html, haml, jade or slim, but if your snippet value is <ul><li></li></ul>, then it will work only in html files.

If you want a snippet for plain text, then surround the text with the {}.

CSS Emmet snippets

Values for CSS Emmet snippets should be a complete property name and value pair.

CSS custom snippets are applicable to all other stylesheet flavors like scss, less or sass. Therefore, don't include a trailing ; at the end of the snippet value. Emmet will add it as needed based on the whether the language requires it.

Do not use : in the snippet name. : is used to separate property name and value when Emmet tries to fuzzy match the abbreviation to one of the snippets.

Note: After making changes to the snippets.json file, remember to reload VS Code for it to take effect.

Tab stops and cursors in custom snippets

The syntax for tab stops in custom Emmet snippets follows the Textmate snippets syntax.

  • Use ${1}, ${2} for tab stops and ${1:placeholder} for tab stops with placeholders.
  • Previously, | or ${cursor} was used to denote the cursor location in the custom Emmet snippet. This is no longer supported. Use ${1} instead.

Emmet configuration

Below are Emmet settings that you can use to customize your Emmet experience in VS Code.

  • emmet.includeLanguages

    Use this setting to add mapping between the language of your choice and one of the Emmet supported languages to enable Emmet in the former using the syntax of the latter. Make sure to use language ids for both sides of the mapping.

    For example: json "emmet.includeLanguages": { "javascript": "javascriptreact", "vue-html": "html", "plaintext": "jade" }

  • emmet.excludeLanguages

    If there is a language where you do not want to see Emmet expansions, add it in this setting which takes an array of language id strings.

  • emmet.syntaxProfiles

    See Emmet Customization of output profile to learn how you can customize the output of your HTML abbreviations.

    For example: json "emmet.syntaxProfiles": { "html": { "attr_quotes": "single" }, "jsx": { "self_closing_tag": true } }

  • emmet.variables

    Customize variables used by Emmet snippets.

    For example: json "emmet.variables": { "lang": "de", "charset": "UTF-16" }

  • emmet.showExpandedAbbreviation

    Controls the Emmet suggestions that show up in the suggestion/completion list.

    Setting Value Description
    never Never show Emmet abbreviations in the suggestion list for any language.
    inMarkupAndStylesheetFilesOnly Show Emmet suggestions only for languages that are purely markup and stylesheet based ('html', 'pug', 'slim', 'haml', 'xml', 'xsl', 'css', 'scss', 'sass', 'less', 'stylus').
    always Show Emmet suggestions in all Emmet supported modes as well as the languages that have a mapping in the emmet.includeLanguages setting.

    Note: In the always mode, the new Emmet implementation is not context aware. For example, if you are editing a JavaScript React file, you will get Emmet suggestions not only when writing markup but also while writing JavaScript.

  • emmet.showAbbreviationSuggestions

    Shows possible emmet abbreviations as suggestions. Its true by default.

    For example, when you type li, you get suggestions for all emmet snippets starting with li like link, link:css , link:favicon etc. This is helpful in learning Emmet snippets that you never knew existed unless you knew the Emmet cheatsheet by heart.

    Not applicable in stylesheets or when emmet.showExpandedAbbreviation is set to never.

  • emmet.extensionsPath

Provide the location of the directory that houses the snippets.json file which in turn has your custom snippets.

  • emmet.triggerExpansionOnTab

    Set this to true to enable expanding Emmet abbreviations with kbstyle(Tab) key. We use this setting to provide the appropriate fallback to provide indentation when there is no abbreviation to expand.

  • emmet.showSuggestionsAsSnippets

    If set to true, then Emmet suggestions will be grouped along with other snippets allowing you to order them as per editor.snippetSuggestions setting. Set this to true and editor.snippetSuggestions to top, to ensure that Emmet suggestions always show up on top among other suggestions.

  • emmet.preferences

    You can use this setting to customize Emmet as documented in Emmet Preferences. The below customizations are currently supported: - css.propertyEnd - css.valueSeparator - sass.propertyEnd - sass.valueSeparator - stylus.propertyEnd - stylus.valueSeparator - css.unitAliases - css.intUnit - css.floatUnit

    If you want support for any of the other preferences as documented in Emmet Preferences, please log a feature request for the same.

Known issues in Emmet 2.0

Below are some of the upstream issues with Emmet 2.0 that we are working on fixing. Any help in these areas is appreciated.