Introducing the new Copilot experience in Visual Studio

Rhea Patel

GitHub Copilot your AI-powered coding companion is now seamlessly woven into your Visual Studio IDE, enhancing your everyday tasks and bringing you the latest AI-driven coding experiences. Copilot is designed to elevate your efficiency, by offering personalized code suggestions, crafting your git commit messages, answering coding-related queries, and much more.

We’re thrilled to introduce the new, unified Copilot experience in Visual Studio 17.10, now available in Preview 3 (General availability in May). This combines the features of Copilot and Copilot Chat into one convenient package. Eliminating the need to install two separate extensions and bringing you more deeply integrated AI experiences in the future. Activate your GitHub Copilot subscription today, by signing in to GitHub or start a free trial for the latest AI experience.

See Copilot in action


note: Copilot in now in the top right side of your Visual Studio

What is GitHub Copilot?

Copilot is your AI-powered coding companion designed to enhance your IDE experience. It helps you in the following ways:

  • Speeding up your coding tasks with Copilot generated snippet, methods, and even entire programs.
  • Improve your code quality with Copilot’s optimization feature “/optimize” in Copilot Chat to improve your code’s performance, readability, and security.
  • Learn new coding patterns, languages, and frameworks by getting explanations and documentation for the suggested code from Copilot.
  • Focus on more satisfying and creative work by allowing Copilot to handle the repetitive, boilerplate, or tedious code, and conserving your mental energy and flow.

GitHub Copilot offers an interactive experience throughout Visual Studio, through chat both in a separate window and directly in your code, allowing you to start a conversation or simply begin typing. Copilot provides context-aware code completions, suggestions, and even entire code snippets. It’s like having a pair programmer who can help you, write commit messages, debug your code, generate your unit tests and more. GitHub Copilot serves as a valuable resource for information and answers about your code, including documentation, definitions, references, error explanations, and best practices.

Accessing Copilot

If you are a customer in Visual Studio 17.10 Preview:

  1. If you are using Visual Studio 17.10, GitHub Copilot is included right out of the box as a recommended component and will be installed on update or install.
    • If you need to install GitHub Copilot later, you can do so from the Visual Studio Installer by search for the “GitHub Copilot” component in the “Individual Component” tab. Note: If you prefer not to use Copilot installed in your Visual Studio, you have the option to hide the feature by selecting the GitHub Copilot badge and choosing “Hide Copilot”.
  2. For Versions 17.8 to 17.9 you will still be able to download “GitHub Copilot Chat” and “GitHub Copilot Completions” via Extension Manager, however, to get the latest Copilot features update to 17.10.

Getting Started

To use the new Copilot extension, you’ll need a GitHub Copilot subscription. GitHub Copilot is free for verified students and for maintainers of popular open-source projects on GitHub. If you’re not a student or a maintainer of a popular open-source project, you can try GitHub Copilot for free with a one-time 30-day trial. After the free trial, a paid subscription is required for continued use.

Once you have Copilot installed, you can easily sign in and manage your Copilot directly from the top right corner of the title bar in Visual Studio 17.10.


Using Copilot

Code Completions

Start writing in the editor and Copilot will suggest code as you type.💡Tip: press "tab" to accept a suggestion.

Inline Chat

Use Inline Chat will help you write your methods, classes, unit tests by converting your prompts to code. Open Inline by right-clicking in your text file and selecting “Ask Copilot” or Alt + /`

💡Tip: Use"/" to state your intent or "#" to refer to your files(s). Like "/test for #filename"

Chat Window

Ask questions about your solution or files.  Open from the Copilot Badge or CTRL + /, C.

💡Tip: Use #solution to refer to your active solution (only for C#) in Visual Studio


We Value Your Feedback

We hope you find the new Copilot experience beneficial for your development needs. Your feedback and suggestions for improvement are always welcome. You can reach out to us through this survey or submit for feature requests here: Developer Community (

Happy coding! 🚀


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