Features Tutorials

Android UI Designer Coming in IntelliJ IDEA 12

Today we have exciting news for all Android developers who use IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate or IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition as their IDE of choice — Android UI Designer, one of the most desired features, is finally coming with the release of IntelliJ IDEA 12.

Once IntelliJ IDEA 12 EAP opens later this week, you can start playing with it. Those who want to get it sooner may build IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition from the source code right now.

Here we would like to highlight the major features of Android UI Designer you will get with the new release:

  • Adding new component to Canvas or Component Tree with one click.
  • Move, Delete, Copy and Paste operations within Canvas and Component Tree.
  • Powerful Properties Editor allows editing any number of selected components. You can also hide unimportant properties.
  • Component Tree, which shows the hierarchy of components.
  • Component Palette with all the components supported by Android SDK.
  • Support of all possible UI layouts, FrameLayout, LinearLayout, GridLayout, etc.
  • Support of resources in Properties Editor.
  • Instant switching between multiple device profiles.

Watch this short overview of Android UI Designer in action:

As you may know, Google I/O 2012 is about to start on 27th of June in San-Francisco. We are happy to be invited to participate in Google I/O Developer Sandbox this year, to present the new features to Android developers. We hope you will join us on the conference to see the demos, ask questions and share your feedback with us and other developers.

UPDATE: Check out our official website for more details and learning materials about Android development and IntelliJ IDEA.

Stay tuned!
IntelliJ IDEA Team

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52 Responses to Android UI Designer Coming in IntelliJ IDEA 12

  1. Avatar

    Juhani says:

    June 26, 2012

    Awesome! Thank you for providing us, the Android devs, an alternative to Eclipse!!

  2. Avatar

    Jonas says:

    June 26, 2012

    Great! I have been waiting for this a long time.

  3. Avatar

    Vuk Nikolić says:

    June 26, 2012

    Yeah! I’ve been waiting for this 🙂
    Keep up the great work!

  4. Avatar

    Jacky says:

    June 26, 2012

    Great news 🙂 Now I use IDEA for Android development. UI Designer will be very useful.

  5. Avatar

    Jitendra Rana says:

    June 26, 2012

    This is awesome !!! Much much better than the existing one… great job guys.

  6. Avatar

    Lucas Souza says:

    June 26, 2012

    Great Job!

  7. Avatar

    Evelio Tarazona says:

    June 26, 2012

    Awesome we’ll see you guys at #io12!

  8. Avatar

    John D. says:

    June 26, 2012

    Fantastic news!
    Good to see that even if IntelliJ products improve towards coding, UI designers are not totally out of scope (probably they just need to be done right, like jFormDesigner 🙂 ).

  9. Avatar

    orip says:

    June 26, 2012

    Nice! Is there work being done on SDK-17-style library projects? The only reason I can’t use IDEA is that it won’t recognize our shared common Android library.

  10. Avatar

    Adam Dymitruk (@adymitruk) says:

    June 26, 2012

    Great. What tag do you suggest building from?

  11. Avatar

    Alan Jeon says:

    June 26, 2012

    Is UI Designer support android.support.v7.widget.GridLayout too?

  12. Avatar

    John Wengert says:

    June 26, 2012

    I’ve been using IntelliJ for about 7 years for our desktop Java applications. A little over a year ago when we started on our iPad app you came out with AppCode so I still had all my familiar tools for objective-c development. Now that we are looking to take our app to android you become the best tool in that space too. You guys are simply amazing!

  13. Avatar

    ERIC says:

    June 27, 2012

    Does anyone know how to build the “source code” download from IntelliJ IDEA Community? I really want to UI Designer soon!!

  14. Avatar

    Иван Бишевац says:

    June 27, 2012

    It looks promising.

  15. Avatar

    Macdevign says:

    June 27, 2012

    Really amazing stuff.

    Can the layout allow for both Design and Text to be shown at the same time rather than toggling between the tabs. This is really very useful for quick fine adjustment using Text and vice-versa. Screen estate may be a consideration but most developments are done with least 23 inch external monitor nowsaday. Or maybe make the Text panel dockable…


  16. Avatar

    Jens R says:

    June 28, 2012

    Sweet. However, don’t take away the current XML->LayoutPreview. I really love the way it is; when one updates the XML and immediately see the changes. Having to swap tabs as in Eclipse, would be a large step back.

    Minor things to improve with the preview are:
    * Support for color edits in each color oriented attribute, similar as currently for color resources.
    * Support for working with list-item layouts (and others such as dialogs/toasts/…). Now, it’s rather quirky to create a special layout for the purpose and it still expands.
    * Support for tie a list-view to a list-item-layout and populate it with random data. That would enhance designs with list-views a lot.
    * Support for rendering custom view classes.

  17. Avatar

    Andrey Cheptsov says:

    June 28, 2012

    Macdevign, this is already possible now. You can use action Split Vertically or Horizontally on the layout file editor tab, and then open the new editor tab in Text mode.

  18. Avatar

    Jamal Abdou-Karim Bengeloun says:

    July 1, 2012

    It also seems that intelliJ cannot deploy and launch an android project with the last version of the Android SDK. I’ve tried with the last 11.1.2 stable release. The 11.1.3 EAP and the Leda EAP.

    There is no error message and the logcat console works as usual however I cannot deploy, run or debug any application (I’ve tried on Nexus One & Nexus S).

    I do not have this problem on either eclipse Indigo or eclipse Juno with the ADT plugin.

  19. Avatar

    Jamal Abdou-Karim Bengeloun says:

    July 1, 2012


  20. Avatar

    Fredrik says:

    July 2, 2012

    That’s great and not at all too soon *ahem*! 80% of Android dev time is spent on trial-n-error GUI code. Now, for the 10% spent on other resource and configuration stuff I’d welcome any improvements to maximize time spent on real coding =).

  21. Avatar

    vikky says:

    July 2, 2012

    Awe some .Cannot wait to download it

  22. Avatar

    Dirk Jäckel says:

    July 8, 2012

    How can I switch the default to XML->LayoutPreview? Instead of the Desgin tab I would like to have the Text tab.

  23. Avatar

    Nick Johnson says:

    July 9, 2012

    I use IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition as my IDE,, n m very excited by the release of IntelliJ IDEA 12 with an advance feature, Android UI Designer;
    Thanx for the news……….


  24. Avatar

    San says:

    July 11, 2012

    > Macdevign, this is already possible now. You can use action Split Vertically or Horizontally on the layout file editor tab, and then open the new editor tab in Text mode.

    No, this is not working. When I edit text this way, preview does not get synchronized. Moreover if there are several resources, one needs to do too many extra actions like opening file twice and switching mode.
    Moreover, developers prefer keyboard, not mouse, therefore most productive devs will not use UI designer anyway. It is good for marketing purposes though or for designers (doubtful). Therefore, you have just removed one feature from IDEA for those devs.

  25. Avatar

    ernest33 says:

    July 19, 2012

    I was reading a french magazine “Programmez!”(n°154) containing an article about Intellij Idea CE 11 and saying that is near an alternative to Eclipse…well it’s already done isn’t it ;-). (yes i know it is actualy ‘eap’ but it’s really great !)….in short i’m happy 😉
    Thanks a lot !

  26. Avatar

    M. Hossein Amerkashi says:

    August 28, 2012

    Awesome. I use IntelliJ as my IDE. Have been using other popular IDEs, but always IntelliJ beats them all. Love the Android UI Designer feature. Thanks

  27. Avatar

    Towhidul Haque Roni says:

    September 8, 2012

    Waiting for this for a long time … thx to JB 🙂

  28. Avatar

    Thomas says:

    September 19, 2012

    Yes Quite

  29. Avatar

    mate says:

    September 24, 2012

    Really great 🙂
    Can anybody tell me when JetBrain plans to release new version of IntelliJ?

  30. Avatar

    captain_miao says:

    September 28, 2012

    when add a Switch,design will error.

  31. Avatar

    Kolipass says:

    October 2, 2012

    How to change the scale in the Design?

  32. Avatar

    Alexander says:

    October 3, 2012

    Awesome guys!
    This supports Fragments too, does it?

  33. Avatar

    Victor says:

    October 17, 2012

    When is the estimated release date?

  34. Avatar

    Özgür says:

    November 9, 2012

    Amazing. You guys have been doing great job ! Congrats!

  35. Avatar

    Thuita Wachira says:

    November 16, 2012

    I’m a huge fan of the Android UI Designer!!! Thanks!!!…but there might be bug…with TabHost. When you have a tabhost you can only select the first tab to add the elements to. the rest of the tabs are in-accessible via the visual designer…i’m aware this is a developer preview..but yeah. Please fix it 🙂

  36. Avatar

    Tim says:

    November 19, 2012

    Wow, this is at least twice as good as Google’s version. I have no idea why they keep using Eclipse; it’s intolerably slow and over-complicated.

  37. Avatar

    Nikita says:

    November 20, 2012

    just installed leda eap for mac so how exactle do i access ui designer after my activity opens in text window?

  38. Avatar

    Alexander Lobas says:

    November 30, 2012


    to Thuita Wachira: http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-96301

  39. Avatar

    sintetico82 says:

    December 6, 2012

    Great Job!!!

  40. Avatar

    mumu says:

    December 6, 2012

    Awesome! You make my year!

  41. Avatar

    ddou says:

    December 7, 2012


  42. Avatar

    Mike Kraus says:

    December 8, 2012

    The new Intellij IDEA is AWESOME! BUT, IT’S MISSING SOMETHING VERY VERY IMPORTANT….the “Force Regenerate R file” when you right click the project folders and files, the context to force regenerate R was always an option in the previous versions. It’s not in the new one and it’s ALREADY causing me problems lol. I NEED the regen BACK PLEASE!! Other than that it’s truly the best Android compiler and designer available to the public right now by a long long long loooooooooooooooooooooong shot!! Lol

  43. Avatar

    sphinxdwood says:

    December 11, 2012

    I have the same requirement with Mike Kraus’s. I use Idea to develop Android applications under Android source tree environment. I use the build script brought by Android souce to compile the app. Because the build script will generate a R when compiling, the Idea’s auto generated R becomes redundant and causes the compilation to fail.

  44. Avatar

    Saeid says:

    December 17, 2012


  45. Avatar

    Udit Mahajan says:

    December 20, 2012

    I am a fan of this IDE for android development. Be it windows or Ubuntu…
    I believe the only thing for this IDE to be an official Linux IDE is good gtk, c/vala support (which I understand can’t happen because of not being a viable business model).
    But even without, this is simply above all IDEs.

  46. Avatar

    Dmitri says:

    December 24, 2012

    Can I use UI Designer for GWT ui.xml files?
    if Yes how to open UI Designer window for that? can nof found

  47. Avatar

    yole says:

    December 24, 2012

    IntelliJ IDEA does not include a visual designer for GWT.

  48. Avatar

    Nick says:

    January 12, 2013

    How do you open the UI Designer in intellij 12 on Windows 7? I’ve tried following the video (mac), but the class name doesn’t light up.

  49. Avatar

    Java Experience says:

    January 29, 2013

    I am not sure if IDEA has added feature for implementing non-blocking UI in Android applications where most of the beginners fail. I think IDE should give some kind of warning there is a potential for blocking-UI due to tasks like network connections.

  50. Avatar

    Pirdad says:

    February 20, 2013

    Another great product from JetBrains! Thank you!

  51. Avatar

    M says:

    April 17, 2013

    IDEA 12.1.1 not have UI Designer(((

  52. Avatar

    Anurag Agrawal says:

    February 27, 2016

    I need best ptarctice tutorials for UI design, Which is the best option?

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