Learning IntelliJ IDEA keyboard shortcuts

May 08, 2016
Learning IntelliJ IDEA keyboard shortcuts
Learning shortcut keys of your favorite IDE can greatly boost your programming productivity. There is a trick to learn IntelliJ IDEA shortcuts quicker than just by memorizing them one by one.

Key promoter plugin

There is a handy plugin, which helps you to learn all the necessary keyboard shortcuts in IntelliJ IDEA - Key promoter. How does it work? It is quite simple:

  1. Every time you click using your mouse on a button/command/menu item/... it shows you a pop-up displaying a keyboard shortcut for that action.
  2. If you click the same action several times (can be configured), plugin suggest to set up the keyboard shortcut for given action.
  3. The statistics of your top missed keyboard shortcuts are calculated, so you know which shortcuts it is worth learning first.
Key Promoter Popup Example

And that's it. The effect is two-fold. First, when you see a pop-up with the shortcut every time you click, sooner or later you remember the shortcut. Moreover, for your frequently clicked actions, the pop-up becomes so annoying after a while, that you'll do anything (hopefully learn the shortcut) to avoid seeing it again. This plugin is especially useful when transitioning from a different IDE like Eclipse or NetBeans and you don't know any shortcuts at all.

Key promoter Statistics

What's also useful is that Key Promoter will detect that you're frequently clicking items, which currently don't have any keyboard shortcut and will offer you to create one.

Key promoter can suggest you to create a shortcut

Getting the plugin

To install the plugin go to the Settings → Plugins → Markteplace and search for Key Promoter X. Key Promoter is an original version of the plugin by Dmitry Kashin, which is no longer under active development. Key Promoter X is a reworked version of that original plugin started by Aimo Thiele and now developed and maintained by Patrick Scheibe. The original plugin was last updated in 2012 and does not work well in new versions of IDEA.

You can check the source code or contribute in this GitHub repository

You can't remember them all

Knowing all the useful shortcuts is no doubt handy and a big time-saver. It does, however, take some time to learn them. In the meantime, it is useful to remember some shortcuts, which can compensate for your lack of knowledge of others. The first one is Find action (Ctrl+Shift+A or ++A on Mac) dialog, which lets you search for specific actions and commands and quickly execute them.

Find Action Popup

And of course, if everything else fails, there is always the almighty Search everywhere feature using double Shift, which also lists actions.

Search Everywhere Popup

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