Debugging Python Script with a Different Python Executable in VSCode Launch.json

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will master the art of configuring the launch.json file in Visual Studio Code. You will learn how to debug a Python script using a different Python executable as the entry point. This skill is crucial when working with virtual environments or specific Python versions.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

Debugging Python scripts in Visual Studio Code often requires specifying a custom Python interpreter instead of the default one. This need arises when dealing with virtual environments or specific Python versions. By adjusting the configuration in the launch.json file, we can seamlessly debug our code using an alternative interpreter without affecting other aspects of our development environment.

To address this issue effectively: – Modify settings within the launch.json file. – Instruct VSCode to use a specific Python interpreter for debugging purposes.

By following these steps, you can enhance your debugging experience and work efficiently with different Python interpreters as needed.


    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "Python: Debug with Custom Interpreter",
            "type": "python",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "${file}",
            **"pythonPath": "/path/to/your/custom/python",**

# Copyright PHD

Remember: Replace /path/to/your/custom/python with the actual path to your custom Python interpreter executable.

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In this configuration snippet: – Specify a custom Python interpreter by setting “pythonPath” attribute in a VSCode launch configuration. – Running the debugger using this configuration will utilize the specified Python interpreter instead of the default one.

Key points: – The “program” key specifies debugging for the currently active file. – Replace /path/to/your/custom/python with your actual custom python executable path. – Multiple configurations in launch.json cater to different debugging scenarios.

    How do I find out my custom Python interpreter’s path?

    You can find your custom interpreter’s path by running which python or which python3 on your terminal/command prompt if accessible there.

    Can I use a virtual environment as my custom interpreter?

    Yes, specify the virtual environment’s python executable path as a custom interpreter in launch.json.

    Do I need separate configurations for each project?

    It’s advisable to have distinct configurations per project if they require different interpreters or debugging settings.

    What happens if I provide an incorrect path for my custom python executable?

    VSCode will fail to locate and execute that python executable during debugging, showing an error message indicating such failure.

    Can I set up conditional breakpoints based on this configuration change?

    Yes, conditional breakpoints and other debugging features should seamlessly work even with a custom python interpreter set up through launch.json.

    Will this change affect how my code runs outside of debugging mode?

    No, these settings only impact how VSCode runs/debugs your code within its environment; executing your script externally remains unaffected by these changes made solely for debugging purposes.


    Mastering Visual Studio Code’s launch.json configuration enhances flexibility when handling projects requiring specific interpreters for execution and testing. Understanding how to tweak these settings empowers efficient workflow management while accommodating various Python versions or virtual environments as necessary.

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