Learning IntelliJ IDEA keyboard shortcuts

May 08, 2016

IDEA Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning shortcut keys of your favorite IDE can significantly 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 make 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

Grab the plugin from the following Git repository.


Although there is a version of the plugin available in JetBrains plugin repository, it is an older original version by Dmitry Kashin, which is no longer under active development. The link provided is a fork of that original plugin by Aimo Thiele. The new version additionally provides better stats management. More important is, that starting with 2016.1 version of IDEA, the original plugin settings section is no longer accessible.

To install the plugin go to the  Settings → Plugins and select Install Plugin from disk. Now just choose your previously downloaded file and restart the IDE.

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) 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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Vojtech Ruzicka
Written by Vojtech Ruzicka

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