30 Days with IntelliJ IDEA. Navigation

This week brings a new article from the 30-day guide on the most tricky features of IntelliJ IDEA. Today we will talk about navigation, and how it helps you to faster switch between the pieces of code you are working on, and therefore be more productive.

Did you know?

When you start IntelliJ IDEA for the first time, all of its setting set to their default values. Over time, as you are using the IDE more and more, you become more familiar with it so you know how to change the default settings for more efficiency.

You probably noticed that the navigation bar in the top of the window is useless most of the time.

This is why developers usually hide it and call on demand via Alt + Home (Alt + ↖ for Mac) shortcut.

The Navigation bar supports the speed search and other actions, such as code generations, documentation popups, etc. In many cases it can serve you even better than the Project tool window.

Please read the complete article to learn more about this and other navigation features.

Stay tuned for more articles soon, and develop with Pleasure!

About Andrey Cheptsov

Andrey Cheptsov is IntelliJ IDEA product marketing manager at JetBrains. He's passionate about productivity, programming languages and tools.
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10 Responses to 30 Days with IntelliJ IDEA. Navigation

  1. Henning says:

    If the navigation bar “is useless most of the time” and “developers usually hide it”, then why isn’t _that_ the default?

  2. Andrey Cheptsov says:

    @Henning, this is a good question. IntelliJ IDEA has a lot of awesome features hidden from a new user. it takes time to learn how to use it in a more efficient way. we can’t just enable all of them by default because it will be really hard for new users to use the IDE. another reason why some feature works this or that way is just historical. however personally I also think we could disable it by default. if such ticket will get a lot of votes in the tracker I’m sure we will change it immediately

  3. Tropper says:

    Hmm, I like the navigation bar. It makes it easier to keep track of where you editing in a bigger project. But I have to add that I have my monitor in portrait mode (and not landscape liek most people have) and I have all the other side windows (like Project, Structure or Maven Project) on auto hide.

    I also knew the short cut Alt+Home. But I wasn’t aware that you can hide the bar and the shortcut still works. That cool! :D

    Anyway, I would leave enabled by default and let user who get annoyed turn it off rather then only very few new user will ever discover that feature at all.

  4. Barry Kaplan says:

    The navigation bar is nice, but is very limiting relative the project panel in that it does not support “package” view. So it can’t be used to navigate to both test and code in the same package.

  5. Mike says:

    I find the navigation bar to be very important. I am not sure why it is listed in the article as mostly worthless. It quickly lets me know which file I am editing and package structure.

    I may find it more useful than most because I don’t use tabs. Now tabs are one feature I find mostly worthless. I use no tabs but make heavy usage of Recent Files (command+E) which seems more efficient to me.

  6. Adrian says:

    Sorry to be dense, but in the Mac keyboard shortcut which key does that northwest-pointing arrow represent? My keyboard doesn’t have an extra set of arrow keys at 45° :-)

    Reminds me of an old joke -

    “The number you have dialed is imaginary – please rotate your telephone ninety degrees and try again.”

  7. Ron says:

    I tend to get rid of the Toolbar as well as the Navigation Bar. There are very few things on the Toolbar that don’t have conventional or easily remembered keyboard shortcuts (e.g. Open, Save, etc).

  8. Brice says:

    Note that on US qwerty keyboard, the `alt + ↖` for Mac, Can be achieved with the following combination `alt + fn + ←`

  9. Bruno França dos Reis says:

    There’s a typo in a shortcut in http://confluence.jetbrains.com/display/IntelliJIDEA/Editor+Basics :

    It says “Optimize imports via Ctrl + O (Cmd + O for Mac).” However, Ctrl + O is the standard shortcut for Override Methods, while the standard shortcut for Optimize Imports is Ctrl + Shift + O.

    Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to edit the article or notify the type from inside the article, so I’m posting this here.

  10. Dennis says:

    Great information

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