Last Updated on November 25, 2022
Are you making the most of IntelliJ IDEA to speed up basic code editing? You’d be surprised how many time saving shortcuts are available for basic navigating, highlighting, and moving code in the editor.
Here’s a run-through of the 13 most important, with both Windows and Mac shortcuts. How many of these shortcuts do you know?
Jump to editor to start coding
How do you actually get to the editor in IntelliJ IDEA?
Wherever you are in the IDE, just hit
Escape to move focus to the editor. Much quicker than using a mouse!
If you see an empty screen, then you just need to open a class. Hit
Ctrl + N and enter the class name.
Now you’re ready to code, but how to navigate around? You could point and click, but that wastes time moving your hand away from the keyboard.
Better to use the arrow keys for fine grained control of the caret position.
Or to skip entire words hold
Ctrl as you press
→ arrow keys.
You can also hit
Home to jump to the start and
End to the end of a line.
Yes, there’s a reason these keys all hang out together on the keyboard. Use them!
Let’s say you’ve got a larger class and need to jump between methods.
That’s easy with
Alt + ↑ for previous, and
Alt + ↓ for next methods.
Another option is
Ctrl + F12 which shows the class structure. Hit the
↓ arrows to choose the method, then enter to navigate to it.
Quick code selection
To select a portion of a line that maybe you want to replace, delete, or copy, hold down
Shift and press
→ arrow keys.
And hold down
Ctrl as you do that to jump entire words.
Another way to select text is with
Ctrl + W, IntelliJ IDEA’s extend selection tool. It progressively selects more and more code.
By the way, whatever selection you have, just hit
→ to deselect it and continue.
Copy a line like a pro
But whatever you do, don’t highlight a whole line to copy and paste it. Way too slow! Instead, there’s a keystroke-killing shortcut,
Ctrl + D. It copies the line your caret is on.
Just remember D for duplicate.
And opposite is
Ctrl + Y to delete a line. Nice!
Bulk move code
A common situation is when a line of code is in the wrong place. No need for cut and paste. Instead, hold
Shift and use the
↓ arrows to move the line.
You can even do the same thing with multiple lines at once!
Get me out of here!
And remember, if at any time you make a mistake just hit
Ctrl + Z to undo.
And then when you realise you actually didn’t make a mistake,
Ctrl + Shift + Z to redo.
Powerful bonus tip
OK, you probably knew that one. Here’s a bonus tip then. It’s a powerful one, so be careful. 💪
Highlight some text using the techniques mentioned earlier, then hit
Alt + J. This additionally selects the next occurrence of the text. Press again to select more occurrences.
You can even make edits in multiple positions at the same time. I did say it was powerful!
When you’re done, hit
Escape to get out of that mode and back to dry land.
Shortcut summary table
|Shortcut name||Windows shortcut||Mac shortcut|
|1. Go to editor||Esc||Esc|
|2. Go to class||Ctrl + N||⌘ O|
|3. Skip word||Ctrl + ←/→||⌥ + ←/→|
|4. Line start / end||Home / End||Fn ← / Fn →|
|5. Previous / next method||Alt + ↑ / Alt + ↓||⌃ ↑ / ⌃ ↓|
|6. File structure popup||Ctrl + F12||⌘ F12|
|7. Simple select text||Shift + Arrow Key||Shift + Arrow Key|
|8. Extend selection||Ctrl + W||⌥ ↑|
|9. Duplicate line||Ctrl + D||⌘ D|
|10. Delete line||Ctrl + Y||⌘ Delete|
|11. Move statement||Ctrl + Shift + ↑/↓||⇧ ⌘ ↑/↓|
|12. Undo||Ctrl + Z||⌘ Z|
|13. Redo||Ctrl + Shift + Z||⇧ ⌘ Z|
|Bonus: Next occurrence||Alt + J||⌃ G|
Did I miss something? If there’s a handy shortcut you use all the time, please share it down below in the comments.
2 thoughts on “13 Simple Ways To Edit Code Faster in IntelliJ IDEA”
Oh, yes, “Navigate Back”. On my mac, I have set an own shortcut for this. It helps, when you go into the code “What’s this, what’s that, …” and you want to go the same way back.
Thanks for sharing Joerg. If we’re thinking of the same thing, that’s
Ctrl + Alt + Lefton Windows.