Use Azure Policy extension for Visual Studio Code

Applies to Azure Policy extension version 0.1.2 and newer

Learn how to use the Azure Policy extension for Visual Studio Code to look up aliases, review resources and policy definitions, export objects, and evaluate policy definitions. First, we'll describe how to install the Azure Policy extension in Visual Studio Code. Then we'll walk through how to look up aliases.

The Azure Policy extension for Visual Studio Code can be installed on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Prerequisites

The following items are required for completing the steps in this article:

Install and configure the Azure Policy extension

After you meet the prerequisites, you can install Azure Policy extension for Visual Studio Code by following these steps:

  1. Open Visual Studio Code.
  2. From the menu bar, go to View > Extensions.
  3. In the search box, enter Azure Policy.
  4. Select Azure Policy from the search results, and then select Install.
  5. Select Reload when necessary.

For a national cloud user, follow these steps to set the Azure environment first:

  1. Select File\Preferences\Settings.

  2. Search on the following string: Azure: Cloud

  3. Select the nation cloud from the list:

    Screenshot of selecting the nation Azure cloud sign in for Visual Studio Code.

Using the Policy extension

Note

Changes made locally to policy definitions viewed in the Azure Policy extension for Visual Studio Code aren't synced to Azure.

Connect to an Azure account

To evaluate resources and lookup aliases, you must connect to your Azure account. Follow these steps to connect to Azure from Visual Studio Code:

  1. Sign in to Azure from the Azure Policy extension or the Command Palette.

    • Azure Policy extension

      From the Azure Policy extension, select Sign in to Azure.

      Screenshot of Visual Studio Code and the icon for the Azure Policy extension.

    • Command Palette

      From the menu bar, go to View > Command Palette, and enter Azure: Sign In.

      Screenshot of the Azure cloud sign in options for Visual Studio Code from the Command Palette.

  2. Follow the sign in instructions to sign in to Azure. After you're connected, your Azure account name is shown on the status bar at the bottom of the Visual Studio Code window.

Select subscriptions

When you first sign in, only the default subscription resources and policy definitions are loaded by the Azure Policy extension. To add or remove subscriptions from displaying resources and policy definitions, follow these steps:

  1. Start the subscription command from the Command Palette or the window footer.

    • Command Palette:

      From the menu bar, go to View > Command Palette, and enter Azure: Select Subscriptions.

    • Window footer

      In the window footer at the bottom of the screen, select the segment that matches Azure: <your account>.

  2. Use the filter box to quickly find subscriptions by name. Then, check or remove the check from each subscription to set the subscriptions shown by the Azure Policy extension. When done adding or removing subscriptions to display, select OK.

Search for and view resources

The Azure Policy extension lists resources in the selected subscriptions by Resource Provider and by resource group in the Resources pane. The treeview includes the following groupings of resources within the selected subscription or at the subscription level:

  • Resource Providers
    • Each registered Resource Provider with resources and related child resources that have policy aliases
  • Resource Groups
    • All resources by the resource group they're in

By default, the extension filters the 'Resource Provider' portion by existing resources and resources that have policy aliases. Change this behavior in Settings > Extensions > Azure Policy to see all Resource Providers without filtering.

Customers with hundreds or thousands of resources in a single subscription may prefer a searchable way to locate their resources. The Azure Policy extension makes it possible to search for a specific resource with the following steps:

  1. Start the search interface from the Azure Policy extension or the Command Palette.

    • Azure Policy extension

      From the Azure Policy extension, hover over the Resources panel and select the ellipsis, then select Search Resources.

    • Command Palette:

      From the menu bar, go to View > Command Palette, and enter Azure Policy: Search Resources.

  2. If more than one subscription is selected for display, use the filter to select which subscription to search.

  3. Use the filter to select which resource group to search that is part of the previously chosen subscription.

  4. Use the filter to select which resource to display. The filter works for both the resource name and the resource type.

Discover aliases for resource properties

When a resource is selected, whether through the search interface or by selecting it in the treeview, the Azure Policy extension opens the JSON file representing that resource and all its Azure Resource Manager property values.

Once a resource is open, hovering over the Resource Manager property name or value displays the Azure Policy alias if one exists. In this example, the resource is a Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines resource type and the properties.storageProfile.imageReference.offer property is hovered over. Hovering shows the matching aliases.

Screenshot of the Azure Policy extension for Visual Studio Code hovering a property to display the alias names.

Note

The VS Code extension only supports evaluation of Resource Manager mode properties. For more information about the modes, see the mode definitions.

Search for and view policy definitions and assignments

The Azure Policy extension lists policy types and policy assignments as a treeview for the subscriptions selected to be displayed in the Policies pane. Customers with hundreds or thousands of policy definitions or assignments in a single subscription may prefer a searchable way to locate their policy definitions or assignments. The Azure Policy extension makes it possible to search for a specific policy or assignment with the following steps:

  1. Start the search interface from the Azure Policy extension or the Command Palette.

    • Azure Policy extension

      From the Azure Policy extension, hover over the Policies panel and select the ellipsis, then select Search Policies.

    • Command Palette:

      From the menu bar, go to View > Command Palette, and enter Azure Policy: Search Policies.

  2. If more than one subscription is selected for display, use the filter to select which subscription to search.

  3. Use the filter to select which policy type or assignment to search that is part of the previously chosen subscription.

  4. Use the filter to select which policy or to display. The filter works for displayName for the policy definition or policy assignment.

When selecting a policy or assignment, whether through the search interface or by selecting it in the treeview, the Azure Policy extension opens the JSON that represents the policy or assignment and all its Resource Manager property values. The extension can validate the opened Azure Policy JSON schema.

Export objects

Objects from your subscriptions can be exported to a local JSON file. In either the Resources or Policies pane, hover over or select an exportable object. At the end of the highlighted row, select the save icon and select a folder to save that resources JSON.

The following objects can be exported locally:

  • Resources pane
    • Resource groups
    • Individual resources (either in a resource group or under a Resource Provider)
  • Policies pane
    • Policy assignments
    • Built-in policy definitions
    • Custom policy definitions
    • Initiatives

On-demand evaluation scan

An evaluation scan can be started with the Azure Policy extension for Visual Studio Code. To start an evaluation, select and pin each of the following objects: a resource, a policy definition, and a policy assignment.

  1. To pin each object, find it in either the Resources pane or the Policies pane and select the pin to an edit tab icon. Pinning an object adds it to the Evaluation pane of the extension.
  2. In the Evaluation pane, select one of each object and use the select for evaluation icon to mark it as included in the evaluation.
  3. At the top of the Evaluation pane, select the run evaluation icon. A new pane in Visual Studio Code opens with the resulting evaluation details in JSON form.

Note

For AuditIfNotExists or DeployIfNotExists policy definitions, use the plus icon in the Evaluation pane or Azure Policy: Select a resource for existence check (only used for if-not-exists policies) from the Command Palette to select a related resource for the existence check.

The evaluation results provide information about the policy definition and policy assignment along with the policyEvaluations.evaluationResult property. The output looks similar to the following example:

{
    "policyEvaluations": [
        {
            "policyInfo": {
                ...
            },
            "evaluationResult": "Compliant",
            "effectDetails": {
                "policyEffect": "Audit",
                "existenceScope": "None"
            }
        }
    ]
}

Note

The VS Code extension only supports evaluation of Resource Manager mode properties. For more information about the modes, see the mode definitions.

The evaluation feature does not work on macOS and Linux installations of the extension.

Sign out

From the menu bar, go to View > Command Palette, and then enter Azure: Sign Out.

Next steps