Intellij Idea - For Java developers

Intellij Idea - For Java developers

Idea has some available tips by default: - Tip of the day or Productivity Guide from Help menu - Pro Tips from help:

Here you’ll find tips that are encountered in day to day life of Java devs

General default behaviour

  1. Learn default settings, try to avoid over customization.

  2. Do not version IDE specific files.

  3. CARET is the little blinking thing that you see when you type text.

  4. In Idea placement of the caret = scope (context). And context will dictate what options will be available.

  5. Use SSD for fast intelli-sense.

  6. Standard navigation works: Ctrl + Arrows, Ctrl + Shift + Arrows, End, Home, etc.

    • In MacOS for line operations Home = Cmd + Left and End = Cmd + Right
    • In MacOS for word operations Ctrl + Left = Option + Left and Ctrl + Right = Option + Right
  7. Code completion supports Quick Doc

  8. Sync settings and plugins :

    • Jetbrains account
    • Git
    • Export / Import

General features

  1. Facets

  2. Schema support

    • You can use a schema to validate and edit json and yml files
    • Schema support
  3. Diff

    • Files from modules
    • Dirs from modules
      • Select 2 and Ctrl + D
    • Against external files
      • Select 1 and Ctrl + D
    • Right click inside files : Compare with Clipboard
      • for selection
      • for entire file content
  4. Integrated History

    • Right click inside files : Local History
    • Right click on any file or directory : Local History
  5. Internal Terminal

    • Right click over any file and Open in terminal
  6. Right click over any file and Reveal in Finder

    • Helps to open the file manager where the file is located and select the file

    • F11 Toggle bookmarks
    • Shift + F11 Open list of bookmarks
  8. Hold cursor over a button, link, icon, etc. to get a tooltip with name of the feature

  9. Auto-re-index

    • IDE updates
    • Plugin updates
    • Corrupt indexes
  10. File auto-save

    • Manual save still works, but useless
  11. Help and documentation

    • Open online documentation
    • F1 Button in general view
    • Help button in popups, contextual info
      • how info is organized
  12. Open files with single click and Always select open files features Auto-navigation and file selection

  13. Smart keys

    • Use ‘CamelHumps’ words
    • Add multiple carets on double Ctrl with arrow keys
    • Jump outside closing bracket/quote with Tab when typing
    • etc.
  14. Breakpoints

    • Toggle
      • Left click on the line
      • Ctrl + F8
    • Edit or set condition and open breakpoints window
      • Ctrl + Shift + F8
    • When in debug, the panels have a Disable breakpoints button
  15. Support for @Nullable, with default highlight level set to Warning

  16. Auto-contracts, deduced from method declaration: @Nullable vs @NotNull

    • An icon will appear at the line level to show the contract


  1. Plugin: Presentation assistant

  2. Plugin: IntelliLang

  3. Plugin: Docker Integration

    • Advanced UI like Kitematic
    • Detection of dockerfiles with Run support
  4. Plugin: Git

    • Git log
    • Blame
    • Git-Undo per section of a file Ctrl + Alt + Z
    • Compare with
  5. Plugin: Maven

    • Show basic phases only, and other settings
    • Run phases
    • Select multiple and run
    • Can be configured at project level and IDE level
    • By default has one integrated
    • If you change version of a plugin in pom.xml - Check the logs, IDEA could use the previous version of it
    • Preferences - Build, Execution, Deployment - Build Tools - Maven - Ignored Files - be aware of this list
  6. Plugin: Maven Helper

    • Helps to manage dependencies - visually
  7. Plugin: .ignore

    • Help manage .ignore files
    • With highlight support
    • Can generate ignore files for various platforms
  8. Plugin: Database tools and SQL

    • Can CRUD database
    • Cannot change admin rights via UI
      • but can do it via SQL
    • Advanced table visualization features
    • For oracle Docker images you need to put in Username field: sys as sysdba
    • Tables are used for auto completion in SQL files from source code
    • Tx: setting should be considered
      • Important mention about Tx setting
  9. Plugin: Http client

  10. Plugin: Key Promoter X


We distinguish 2 categories

  1. IDE settings, applicable to all modules and IDE itself
  2. Module level settings

Most of the settings described here are available on both levels

  1. Setting: Appearance and Behavior | System Settings -> Startup/Shutdown : Reopen last project on startup
  2. Setting: Editor / Inspections -> Java > Logging > Number of placeholders does not match number of arguments in logging call
    • Set to warning, so that SLF4J shows if you have a missmatch between passed params and placeholders in the message.
  3. Setting: Editor / General -> Change font size with Ctrl/Command+Mouse Wheel
    • Good to have it active in case you want quickly increase the size so that other can see better
  4. Setting: Ctrl + Shift + 8 Column mode on/off
    • Ctrl + Shift + A type Column mode, hit Enter
    • Alt + Shift + Mouse Left Click : put carets under cursor
    • Middle click + Hold + Drag selection, for non-Apple mouse users
    • Working with multiple carets
  5. Setting: Editor / Code Style / Java -> Wrapping and Braces -> Group Declarations : Align fields in columns
    • Group / align fields in one column and values after equals in other column
  6. Setting: Editor / Code Editing -> Highlight on Caret movement : Current scope
    • Highlight the currently selected scope (variable, function, class, etc.)
  7. Setting: Editor / General / Smart Keys -> Surround selection on typing quote or brace
    • The selected text get brackets or quotes instead of replacing
  8. Setting: Languages & Frameworks / SQL Resolution Scopes
    • Map parts of your source code to specific SQL Databases configured in Intellij Idea
  9. Setting: File | Settings | Editor | Inlay Hints | Java -> Annotations -> Show Hints for -> Inferred Annotations
    • Show inferred annotations inline
  10. Setting: Git-Bash instead of CMD, only for Windows, Tools / Terminal / Application settings - Shell path
    • Set value to "C:\Program Files\Git\bin\sh.exe" --login -i, assuming that git is located under C:\Program Files\Git
    • All shell scripts will run with git-bash now
    • To revert change value to cmd.exe

Within IDE

  1. Bottom right corner : 4 spaces change indentation
  2. Bottom right corner : Togle read only attribute file

Generation, completion and popup’ed information

  1. Alt + Enter The smart contextual aware thing

    • swiss army knife for various contexts
    • can generate code for a lot of situations
    • have different options
    • underlined words like errors - are focused and first option of Alt + Enter is available by default
      • when a class is used but not imported and Idea knows it
    • Alt + Enter, then Esc, then Alt + Enter
      • sometimes invoking Alt + Enter second time gives other options
    • Ctrl + F1 Details on warning
      • when the caret is within an expression marked with warning background
      • pressing twice will expand to show details
      • Issue details for marked expressions
  2. Ctrl + Space Code completion

  3. Alt + Space Quick definition, shows the implementation of the symbol

  4. F1 Quick documentation

  5. Ctrl + Alt + X then P evaluate XML tag

    • put caret on tag
    • click first combination - nothing will happen
    • then click P and small pop over will show up
    • Evaluate XML tag
  6. Ctrl + N New File, Class, etc.

  7. Ctrl + Shift + N New scratch file.

  8. Ctrl + J Templates and Live templates support

    • you can have “shortcut words” (like keywords at IDE level) that’ll generate a code for you
    • they can work for selected text as well on their own
    • Schema support
  1. Navigation: Alt + F1 Select in…
    • Select the highlighted element in pretty much any context
  2. Navigation: F2 Goes to next issue
    • Next error, if there errors
    • Next warning, it there are no errors but are warnings
  3. Navigation: F4 Open module settings
    • Of the selected module
  4. Navigation: Shift + Shift Search everywhere
  5. Navigation: Ctrl + Tab Navigate in open tabs and panels
  6. Navigation: Ctrl + E Navigate in recently closed files and panels
  7. Navigation: Esc to go to the main Editor
    • Not consistent when using Split tabs
  8. Navigation: Shift + Esc to go to the main Editor and close current panel
  9. Navigation: Ctrl + Alt + ← (leftwards arrow) Go back to previous caret location
  10. Navigation: Ctrl + Alt + → (rightwards arrow) Go forward to previous caret location
  11. Navigation: Ctrl + O Open class
    • Press 2x to Include non project files - the ones from libraries
  12. Navigation: Ctrl + Shift + O Open file
    • Press 2x to Include non project files - the ones from libraries


  1. Selection: Ctrl + C : WHEN NO SELECTION - Copy line

  2. Selection: Ctrl + X : WHEN NO SELECTION - Cut line

  3. Selection: Alt + ↑(upwards arrow) : multiple times

    • Select word
    • Select expression
    • Select whole line
    • special behaviour on code elements
  4. Selection: Alt + ↓(downwards arrow) : multiple times

    • De-Select word
    • De-Select Expression
    • De-Select Whole line
    • special behaviour on code elements


  1. Edit: Ctrl + Z Undo
  2. Edit: Ctrl + Alt + Z Undo from Version Control System point of view
  3. Edit: Ctrl + V Paste
  4. Edit: Ctrl + Shift + V Paste from History
  5. Edit: Ctrl + D Duplicate line or selection
  6. Edit: Ctrl + Y Delete line
  7. Edit: Ctrl + G Select all occurrences of a word inside a file
    • so that you can edit the selection
    • very close to what Shift + F6 does for symbols - limited to current file scope
  8. Edit: Ctrl + Alt + M Extract method
    • Create a function from selection
  9. Edit: Ctrl + Alt + C Introduce constant
    • Create constant from selection
    • Move a hardcoded string or numeric value to a constant
  10. Edit: Ctrl + Shift + U Change case
  11. Edit: Ctrl + Shift + ↑(upwards arrow) : move statement up
  12. Edit: Ctrl + Shift + ↓(downwards arrow) : move statement down
  13. Edit: Alt + Shift + ↑(upwards arrow) : move line up
  14. Edit: Alt + Shift + ↓(downwards arrow) : move line down
  15. Edit: Ctrl + Alt + L Reformat
    • Can be applied only to selected portion
    • Can be applied to a folder
  16. Edit: Ctrl + Alt + O Optimize imports
    • Remove unused classes, ignore classes used in comments
    • Apply format rules for import statements
    • Can be applied to a folder
  17. Edit: Shift + Enter Start a new line under current one and move caret to it
  18. Edit: Ctrl + Enter Split current line, move the content after the caret to a new line
  19. Edit: F5 Refactor - copy class
    • When file is selected in Project view or cursor is placed inside a name of a class (incl. inner classes)
  20. Edit: F6 Refactor - move class
    • When file is selected in Project view or cursor is placed inside a name of a class (incl. inner classes)
  21. Edit: Shift + F6 Refactor - rename class name
    • When a class is selected in Project view or cursor is placed inside a class name
    • When a folder or package is selected in Project view
      • You might see these options if this package is present in other modules
      • Option Rename package: will consider all packages with same name in all modules
      • Option Rename folder: will rename only the current package and will update package and all imports for the current module

Next: Videos showing various features into Intellij Idea