VSCode without going thru Anaconda Navigator

My Anaconda Navigator, with all its packages for the beginner, is working fine. I have VSCode showing on my Anaconda Navigator main menu.

My “normal” or “regular” pattern of use – at least in the next coming months – will be simply that of a beginner’s learning: type up a few lines of .py code in VSCode IDE, run, debug, correct code, and rerun. My prior life with Python has resulted in no more than 50 lines of code (including comments) in a single .py file. While I expect to progress into organizing program files for easy porting, my environment for now will be just small files of .py code: each file being a single stand-alone Python program. With the above said:

Q1 - Is it possible to launch VSCode, create/run/debug/change or add more Python code/rerun/ … without having to launch Anaconda Navigator first? For now, I wish to focus on just the VSCode IDE and not “touch” (i.e., use) Jupyter notebooks, orSpyder, etc…

Q2 - If Yes to Q1, what settings must I add/change into my VSCode environment so that the “behind the scenes” housekeeping that Anaconda Navigator has done – which is really very helpful – are also covered?

Q3 - as a beginner, I’ve noticed that the Terminal screen (bottom half) of the VSCode IDE environment is a Powershell prompt. I have also been using Powershell, and like this “IDE style”. It remains a mystery to me how VScode is made to properly “react” when the upper half is Python code, versus Powershell code. I am guessing some commands and/or settings must be activated first in order to switch from Python to Powerhsell and vice-versa. Would be grateful for some guidance on what / where to get the appropriate documentation that explains this environment in VSCode.
Thanking you in advance.

A1: Yes, it is possible to do this. The conda environment is already on your computer so you just need to point VS code to the one you would like. Please look at the link to see all about it.

A2: I am not sure what you mean by behind the scenes here. But as far as settings go, by following the link you will see you can select your Python Interpreter (which is selecting your conda environment). I believe you can make a default one as well if you don’t want to set this. Also when you are in a python file on the bottom left it will say which interpreter VS code is using. If you click on that, you can also select the interpret you are using.

A3: So as you are in Windows, Powershell is your base prompt. You could ask VS code to launch a Python shell but it will just launch a Python from Powershell (this is what it does under the hood when you say run). As you are using conda, you can get some great functionality by using the conda environment you would like from the powershell. You will know if conda is enabled if you see the (base) or (your-environment-name-here) to the left of your prompt.

You can run jupyter notebook or spyder or anything else from the command line. I highly recommend becoming more familiar with the command line as it is so expressive.

My sincerest gratitude for your well-written reply. This has been very helpful!