Visual Studio Code C++ Extension April 2021 Update: CUDA C/C++ IntelliSense and Apple Silicon Support

Julia Reid

The April 2021 update of the Visual Studio Code C++ extension is now available! This latest release offers brand new features—such as IntelliSense for CUDA C/C++ and native language server support for Apple Silicon— along with a bunch of enhancements and bug fixes. To find out more about all the enhancements, check out our release notes on GitHub. 

CUDA C/C++ IntelliSense 

We’re excited to announce that the C++ extension now provides IntelliSense for CUDA C/C++! CUDA is a parallel programming platform, enabling developers to interact with the GPU. Microsoft and NVIDIA have partnered together to light up the CUDA C/C++ development experience in VS Code. IntelliSense for CUDA C/C++ is currently available with Visual Studio Code Insiders. Build and debug support for GPU kernels is coming soon with NVIDIA Nsight Visual Studio Code Edition— check out NVIDIA’s Developer Blog to learn more!

Apple Silicon ARM64 support 

In February, Visual Studio Code announced its first release of stable Apple Silicon builds. With this latest release, the C++ extension’s language server binaries also run natively on Apple Silicon. Running the language server natively on Apple Silicon is more efficient than running it with an emulator, leading to better performance and longer battery life. 

The C++ extension language server provides IntelliSense (code editing features like Quick Info and Autocomplete), code navigation (Go to Definition/Declaration, Find All References), and some refactoring features (like Rename symbol). Debugging C++ projects natively on Apple Silicon will be supported in the future, and you can check out this GitHub issue (#7035) for updates.

Additional enhancements 

In addition to supporting CUDA C/C++ IntelliSense and Apple Silicon ARM64 architecture, the April 2021 update comes with a bunch of enhancements! We’re especially excited about Auto-adding parentheses for function calls (#882), which was one of our top voted GitHub issues! 

To enable automatically adding parentheses after function calls, go to File > Preferences > Settings and under Extensions > C/C++, check the box under “C_cpp: Autocomplete Add Parentheses.”  

Screenshot of the C++ extension's setting called Autocomplete Add Parenthesis in VS Code's Preferences UI. The setting is enabled by marking the checkbox.

Then, when you insert a function call, parentheses will be added automatically, with the cursor placed inside or outside depending on whether the function requires parameters. 

GIF that shows a member function being selected from a completion list, and then parentheses being added automatically after the function call

The April 2021 release also offers: 

  • Highlighting of matching conditional preprocessor statements. #2565 
  • Commands for navigating to matching preprocessor directives in conditional groups. #4779 
  • Auto-closing of include completion brackets. #7054 

And more! Check out our release notes to learn about additional enhancements and over 25 bug fixes. 

What do you think? 

Download the C++ extension for Visual Studio Code today, give it a try, and let us know what you think. If you run into any issues, or have any suggestions, please report them in the Issues section of our GitHub repository. You can also join our Insiders program and get access to early builds of our release by going to File > Preferences > Settings and under Extensions > C/C++, change the “C_Cpp: Update Channel” to “Insiders.” Then under Features > Extensions, enable “Extensions: Auto Update.” 

We can be reached via the comments below or in email at You can also find our team on Twitter at @VisualC. 

Posted in C++


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  • miheer vaidya 0

    Is there seperate blog post about Cuda IntelliSense?

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