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Using IntelliJ more efficiently

Nico Beers, 30 augustus 2023

In the world of software development, every second counts. As a developer, your time is valuable, and optimizing your coding workflow can significantly impact your productivity and the quality of your work. One powerful tool that can help you achieve this is IntelliJ IDEA, a popular integrated development environment (IDE) that offers a plethora of features to streamline your coding process. In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips and tricks to help you use IntelliJ more efficiently and become a coding ninja.

Master the Shortcuts

IntelliJ IDEA is packed with keyboard shortcuts that can drastically reduce the time you spend navigating through menus. Take the time to learn the most essential ones for your workflow. Whether it’s searching for a file, refactoring code, or debugging, using shortcuts can make you feel like you have superpowers.

Customize Your Environment

IntelliJ IDEA offers extensive customization options that can cater to your specific needs. You can create custom keymaps, color schemes, and code styles. Tailoring the IDE to match your preferences and adapt to the current situation. You can switch easily between different color schemes and zoom levels with “Quick Switch” (Ctrl+`) which can come in handy when sharing a screen with another developer.

Efficient Code Navigation

Finding your way through large codebases can be daunting. IntelliJ offers features like “Finds a class by name” (⌘+O / Ctrl+N) and “Recent files” (⌘+E / Ctrl+E) that make jumping to specific classes a breeze. Navigation within a class is simple done with the use of “Go to line” (⌘+L / Ctrl+G) and “Next/Previous method” (Ctrl+⇧+up/down / Alt+up/down). Additionally, “Find Usages” (⌥+F7 / Alt+F7) helps you quickly identify where a particular method or variable is being used.

Code Generation and Completion

IntelliJ can generate boilerplate code for you, saving you from the mundane tasks. Utilize features like code completion (Ctrl+Space), which suggests methods, classes, and variables as you type, “Duplicate Line or Selection” (⌘+D / Ctrl+D) to duplicate a part of code, and the “Generate” (⌘+N / Alt+Insert) shortcut to create constructors, getters, setters, and more.

Refactoring Made Easy

Refactoring code is an integral part of software development. IntelliJ offers a range of refactoring tools that help you safely and efficiently restructure your code. Renaming variables (⇧+F6 / Shift+F6), extracting methods (⌥+⌘+M / Ctrl+Alt+M), and optimizing imports (Ctrl+⌥+O / Ctrl+Alt+O) can be done effortlessly. Sometimes IntelliJ will alert you with a yellow line. These mention possible “Intention Actions” (⌥+Enter / Alt+Enter) and is a powerful set of context-sensitive suggestions and quick fixes that help you improve your code quality, efficiency, and style. These suggestions often appear as light bulb icons next to your code.

Live Templates

Live Templates in IntelliJ allow you to define and use custom code snippets with placeholders. These templates can be incredibly handy for frequently used code patterns or complex structures. By using live templates, you can reduce the time spent typing repetitive code and ensure consistency. For example: when you type “sout” and press tab in a java file, IntelliJ will automatically generate “System.out.println()” for you. To view and manage all template open the settings menu (⌘+, / Ctrl+Alt+S) and navigate to Editor -> Live Templates.

Keep up with your history

Using the “Paste from History” (⌘+⇧+V / Ctrl+Shift+V) feature in IntelliJ IDEA allows you to quickly access and paste previously copied items from your clipboard history. This can be especially helpful when you need to paste multiple items without repeatedly copying and switching between different sources.


IntelliJ IDEA is a powerful IDE that can significantly boost your coding productivity. By mastering keyboard shortcuts and utilising the IDE to its full potential you can transform into a more efficient and effective developer. Invest time in learning and practicing these tips, and watch as your coding workflow becomes smoother, faster, and more enjoyable. Happy coding!

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