8 IntelliJ Shortcuts You Cannot Miss

Some keyboard shortcuts are just too useful to gloss over or forget. I use eight shortcuts to help me be more productive in my daily development.

A black mechanical keyboard sitting on a marble surface
Photo by Stefen Tan / Unsplash

For whatever reason, my brain is averse to keyboard shortcuts. I cannot seem to master anything beyond the basics of Cut, Copy, Paste, and Select All. That being said, I am hopelessly inept to begin conquering vi and vim.

Yet, despite this mental blockade, I know that there are a few shortcuts that I would be shooting myself in the foot if I didn't take the time to learn. So after much trial-and-error, here are the eight shortcuts I would recommend anyone using JetBrain's suite of IDEs take time to learn.

Bear in mind that these shortcuts use these keymappings:

  • Windows uses the Windows mapping
  • Mac uses the IntelliJ IDEA Classic mapping

If you prefer another keymapping, I've named each of these shortcuts the same as IntelliJ so that you can look up the proper shortcut for your binding.

Duplicate Line or Selection: Ctrl + D, ⌘D

Eliminate copying and pasting lines of code to make only minor changes. This command will duplicate the existing line or the highlighted selection.

An animation showing the duplication of lines and selections
Duplicating lines and selections in action

Extend Selection: Ctrl + W, ⌘W

This operation is perfect for whenever you don't want to use your mouse to highlight a code block. Pressing this key combination will start selecting the current word at your cursor. Pressing it again will expand that selection to include the current language token, the current line, the current block, function, class, etc... Each operation selects a wider range of your code.

The inverse of this action is Ctrl + Shift + W or ⌘⇧W.

An animation showing how to select a function with selection expansion
Selecting a function with selection expansion

Move Statement: Ctrl + Shift + Up/Down, ⌘⇧Up/Down

Need to move one line or code block up or down. This command is smart enough to apply that move operation to the relevant code (a line, if that is selected, or function or code block, if applicable) and format the code as it is moved around to keep the presentation clean.

An animation showing how to intelligently move lines and code blocks up and down
Intelligently move lines and code blocks up and down.

Move Line: Alt + Shift + Up/Down, ⌥⇧Up/Down

Similar to the above command, except it makes a verbatim move without attention to context. This is nice if you really want to move just one line around, such as the beginning of an opening code block, without moving the entire code block with it.

An animation showing how to move a single line up and down without code formatting or contextual help
Move a single line up and down without code formatting or contextual help.

You can also move a selection of code by highlighting it first.

Toggle All Tool Windows: Ctrl + Shift + F12, ⌘⇧F12

Whenever too many side panels get in the way, and you need to focus on your code, this key command will hide all open panels to show just your code. Calling this command again will restore your panels if you are already viewing just your code.

An animation showing how to quickly focus on your code, or restore the tool windows
Quickly focus on your code, or restore the tool windows.

Back/Forward: Ctrl + Alt + Left/Right, ⌘⌥Left/Right

This is particularly helpful if you are making various edits on a large code file. You can work in one place, then navigate back to have your cursor jump to your previous section of code you had been editing. You no longer need to remember where you changed your code to pick back up from a previous thought.

This action also works across tabs.

Create/Go to Test: Ctrl + Shift + T, ⌘⇧T

Jumping between the unit test and implementation is quite simple. If you don't have a unit test for your code just yet, this shortcut will help you set up a stub file to get you going.

Select File in the Project View: Alt + F1, 1; ⌥F1, 1

Jumping straight to the open code file in the project view has many benefits and is something I use on a near-daily basis. Now, you can do it even faster with this key combination.

An animation showing the currently open code file in the project view.
Shows the currently open code file in the project view. 

Conclusion

If I were going on a trip and could only take a handful of shortcuts with me, these would certainly make the cut. Hopefully, you will find them as helpful as I do. What is included in your daily mix of shortcuts? Please feel free to comment below.

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