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How To Debug TypeScript In VSCode

Sep 21, 2022 · 2 min read

Let’s take a look at how we can configure VSCode’s built-in debugger to debug a TypeScript Node application.

Install Dependencies

First, you have to install these dependencies (I prefer installing them as dev dependencies):

npm install --save-dev typescript ts-node tsconfig-paths

Generate Source Map

Create a tsconfig.json file by running:

tsc --init

or create the file yourself.

Then add "sourceMap": true to the compilerOptions.

Your tsconfig.json file will now look something like this:

"compilerOptions": {
"target": "ES3",
"module": "commonjs",
"strict": true,
"esModuleInterop": true,
"skipLibCheck": true,
"forceConsistentCasingInFileNames": true,
"sourceMap": true

By setting the sourceMap property to true. The TypeScript compiler will now also generate a .map file as well as a .js file for each of our TypeScript files.

Node is a JavaScript runtime. It will only execute JavaScript code. The generated .map file tells VSCode how to map the executing JavaScript code back to our TypeScript source.

Configure Debugger

Next, go to the debug tab, and add a JSON configuration file named launch.json with these contents:

"version": "0.2.0",
"configurations": [
"type": "node",
"request": "launch",
"name": "ts-debug",
"skipFiles": ["<node_internals>/**"],
"program": "${workspaceFolder}/index.ts",
"runtimeArgs": ["-r", "ts-node/register", "-r", "tsconfig-paths/register"],
"outFiles": ["${workspaceFolder}/**/*.js"]

Feel free to change the name field to anything you like.

The most important part here is runtimeArgs, which contains optional arguments to be passed to the runtime executable.

We write "-r" which stands for require to register ts-node and tsconfig-paths. tsconfig-paths is used to load modules whose location is specified in the paths section of tsconfig.json.

Finally, make sure the program field points to the entry point of your app.

Wrap Up

That’s it. You’re done with the configuration. Now, you can put breakpoints on your code, and click on the start debugging icon or simply press the keyboard shortcut, F5, to debug.