I am going to be downloading a copy of Visual Cobol on my labtop and am wondering do I need to install a Visual Studio copy to edit and work with the programs?
If you don't have Visual Studio installed already, the Visual COBOL setup will install the Shell edition of Visual Studio, which is the tool that is used to edit and work with programs.
I would recommend to download Visual COBOL for Visual Studio 2012 instead of the one for Visual Studio 2010.
Visual COBOL installed into the Visual Studio Integrated Shell contains everything you need to develop a COBOL application including editor, compiler, debugger, etc.but there are some limitations when compared to a full version of Visual Studio.
For instance, when you install into the shell, COBOL is the only language available to you, whereas in the full Visual Studio product you can have other languages such as C# or VB.NET.
There is a section in the Visual COBOL docs that covers the other limitations here:
Visual Studio is a Microsoft product but I believe that it can be purchased through your Micro Focus Account Manager. You should contact them regarding pricing and availability.