Things I wish I knew when I started using IntelliJ

I do all of my development work in IntelliJ on Mac, and this is a collection of tips, tricks, and shortcuts I use to get the most out of it.

Action Menu

⌘ + ⇧ + A activates the super-versatile Action Menu. Just type in whatever action you’re looking for, whether that’s commenting your code or popping open a terminal. This menu is extremely useful for when you forget a hotkey (as long as you don’t forget the hotkey for the action menu itself).

Useful keyboard shortcuts

Command Function
⌘ + B Jump to source (this can also be done by ⌘ + clicking on the code)
⌘ + N Go to class (On some keyboard layouts this is ⌘ + O)
⌘ + ⇧ + N Go to file (On some keyboard layouts this is ⌘ + ⇧ + O)
⌘ + ⌥ + ⇧ + N Go to symbol or method (On some keyboard layouts this is ⌘ + ⌥ + ⇧ + O)
⌥ + F7 Find usages of code at cursor
⌃ + ⌥ + O Optimize imports. This removes any unused imports and consolidates multiple imports from the same packages based on a threshold (default 5, iirc).
⌃ + ⇧ + F Find in path
⌘ + J Live Templates. Basically code completion. Really handy for generating boilerplate.
⌘ + E Go to recent files
⌘ + ⇧ + E Go to recently edited files
⇧ + ⌘ + V Show clipboard stack
⇧ + F4 Externalize editor
⇧ + F12 Show overview of current file, methods, etc.
⇧ + ⇧ Search everywhere
⌘ + G Go to line number
⌘ + X Cut line
⌘ + D Duplicate line

Local history

Delete something on accident? Inadvertently get yourself into a pickle with git? Never fear, local history is your best friend. Get to it by going to VCS -> Local History -> Show History. It will show all changes made to all your files in chronological order, and you can revert back to any of them. You can also view local history for a file. Simply right-click the file in the editor window, then select Local History -> Show History.

Show/hide the items along the edges of the IDE

Click the icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the window to toggle the visibility of the edge items, like projects, Maven, etc. I usually prefer these to be shown.

Cycle through open files and tool windows

Ctrl + Tab lets you cycle through any processes you have open in the current session.

IntelliJ refers to this as the “Switcher” and it’s documented here.

Navigate to IDE components

IntelliJ has a convention of ⌘ plus a number to pull up various IDE tabs. Here’s a list of them:

Command IDE component
⌘ + 1 Open Project Tab
⌘ + 2 Open Favorites Tab
⌘ + 3 Find
⌘ + 4 Open Run Tab
⌘ + 5 Open Debugger
⌘ + 6 Open Project ToDos
⌘ + 7 Open Project Structure Tab
⌘ + 9 Open Version Control Tab
⌥ + F12 Open Terminal

(I’m not sure why ⌘ + 8 doesn’t seem to activate anything, at least on my machine as I’m writing this. It may be that I don’t have the feature activated that those correspond to.)

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