Early Access Program Features

IntelliJ IDEA 13.1 RC Introduces Sublime Text Style Multiple Selections

We have two exciting pieces of news for you today.

First of all, IntelliJ IDEA 13.1 RC is now available for download, so you can try all the new features right away. By the way, this is the last chance to share your feedback before the release.

Second and probably more important (as you may have already guessed from the title), is that IntelliJ IDEA 13.1 introduces Sublime style multiple selections, the top voted editor feature in our tracker!

Here is how they work:

  • Add/remove a selection: Alt + Shift + Mouse Click
  • Select/unselect the next occurrence: Alt + J / Shift + Alt + J (Ctrl + G / Shift + Ctrl + G) for Mac OS X)
  • Select all occurrences: Shift + Ctrl + Alt + J (Ctrl + Cmd + G for Mac OS X)
  • Clone caret above/below (the shortcuts are not mapped yet)
  • Remove all selections: Esc

Multiple selections work nicely together with IntelliJ IDEA features like Code completion, Select word at caret, Join lines, Copy/paste, and the others. Here’s a little demo:

As cool as it is to use now, this feature still has a long way to go: its implementation remains to be refined, and some limitations need to be dealt with. So we would really appreciate your feedback about it. Share your thoughts in our discussion forum and submit bug reports to the issue tracker. Thanks!

Spread the word, and develop with pleasure!

Comments below can no longer be edited.

77 Responses to IntelliJ IDEA 13.1 RC Introduces Sublime Text Style Multiple Selections

  1. Avatar

    Benjamin says:

    March 12, 2014

    I made the suggestion at march 13: http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-103937

    I’m glad this finally is about to be launched! Great work!

    Just a little side note about the screencast gif in this article. The correct german sentence must be:

    Mit Vernügen entwickeln!

    replace u with ü

    • Avatar

      Andrey Cheptsov says:

      March 12, 2014

      Thanks for the kind words and spotting the mistake in the sentence. I hope users will forgive me for that.

    • Avatar

      Josiah says:

      March 27, 2014

      I like the mouse idea, but adding in keyboard finding support would also add power. The refactoring features (such as renaming variables and methods) solve some of the use cases, but not all. I would look at vim multiple cursors for inspiration (even though its implementation is a bit incomplete). I miss being able to find every occurrence of a code sample in vim and be able to perform something more complicated than find and replace on all instances.

      Also, this feature could be better integrated with the vim plugin for IntelliJ. Multiple cursors doesn’t seem to work in visual or insert modes (normal mode is the only one).

      • Avatar

        Gregory says:

        December 22, 2015

        Yeah I agree! I completely forgot I had this feature and then I found this page here. Then I remembered it doesn’t play nice with ideaVim’s normal mode.

  2. Avatar

    lolwat says:

    March 12, 2014

    Sublime didn’t invent nor did they pioneer multiple text selections.

    • Avatar

      Andrey Cheptsov says:

      March 12, 2014

      Agree, but this feature is really well-known because of Sublime. And to mention this is what we have been asked for in the original request (submitted by a Sublime user). Anyway, thanks for a point.

  3. Avatar

    Terence Martin says:

    March 12, 2014

    Woo, I reported a bug over a year ago! Maybe that’ll be fixed sometime this year too. Glad to see that more new features are being added, but it would be nice if the existing features worked properly first. (does that count as feedback?)

    • Avatar

      Andrey Cheptsov says:

      March 12, 2014

      Of course it does. We do our best to fix bugs as well. If you list the issues you’re referring to I’ll keep an eye on it, promise.

      • Avatar

        Mike Noordermeer says:

        March 12, 2014

        What do you think about proper AspectJ support (http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-76479)? There are also numerous issues with Gradle, but at least that’s being actively worked on. AspectJ performance has been very suboptimal since IntelliJ 11.

        New editor features are nice, but language and toolchain support are much more important.

      • Avatar

        Terence says:

        March 12, 2014

        I’ve reported a couple, but by far the most annoying is http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-102890. It affects AppCode as well as IntelliJ, so no matter what project I’m working on I get to spend a lot of time manually reformatting comments.

        The other one was http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-96881 but I guess that’s been fixed, although no mention of it was made in the ticket at all.

      • Avatar

        dnb says:

        March 13, 2014

        How about this one ?

        Several people complained on the Hacker News link for this blog post about tabs re-ordering.

        • Avatar

          Jerry Bowman says:

          March 25, 2014

          +10 on the stupid rotating tabs…

  4. Avatar

    Jonathan Garay says:

    March 12, 2014

    at least, some Emacs love !!!

    • Avatar

      Marcin says:

      March 29, 2014

      My colleague and I also wonder when/if it will be supported. PhpStorm EAP and WebStorm EAP are already supporting this.

      My colleague tried to compile PyCharm from 135 or 136 source tree and multiselection kind of worked but not very well. I think that this eventually will be available but some work needs to be done to update PyCharm to newer core version. Current 3.1.2 RC is using version 133.

  5. Avatar

    Michael Kreich says:

    March 12, 2014

    But how do you paste three different texts into three different lines simultaneously? (in the first part of the demo) did you copy the three lines from another editor first? (line 1 would be “Develope with pleasure” line 2 “Mit Vergnügen entwickeln” etc)

    • Avatar

      Andrey Cheptsov says:

      March 12, 2014

      I copied them to clipboard being in the multiple selection mode before the presentation, and then just pasted. IntelliJ IDEA can handle that.

      • Avatar

        MuppetGate says:

        March 12, 2014

        Damn, that is clever :-O

  6. Avatar

    nevvermind says:

    March 12, 2014

    And here I tought of the innovative spirit of Notepad++ which already had those, but not THIS sort of complex multi-editing. Good job. Looks great.

  7. Avatar

    Moody says:

    March 12, 2014

    Thanks for the great news! Any idea how to install it for PHPStorm?

  8. Avatar

    Sean Kent says:

    March 12, 2014

    Thank you so much for adding this! It has been one of my favorite features of Sublime, and miss it in every other editor that doesn’t support it. You guys make an awesome product!

  9. Avatar

    Roosevelt P says:

    March 12, 2014

    You guys really nailed it this time! Cannot wait to download IDEA :D!

  10. Avatar

    Romeo Mihalcea says:

    March 12, 2014

    Will it go into PyCharm also when it’s official?

  11. Avatar

    Jerry says:

    March 12, 2014

    Interesting. As a developer of a Mac app, I want my pasteboard support to be compatible with this feature.

    Does pasting into multiple selection support both one text item (with newlines), and multiple text items (each without any newlines)?

    What happens if the number of lines on the pasteboard doesn’t match the number of cursors in the editor?

    • Avatar

      Dmitry Batrak says:

      March 13, 2014

      Paste command splits clipboard contents into lines and tries to match that against existing carets. I think you can discover all the details by trying 🙂

      • Avatar

        Jerry says:

        March 13, 2014

        Unfortunately, as a programmer in 2014, I already have 100 poorly-documented third-party libraries and services that I have to integrate. Asking anyone to reverse-engineer a new undocumented feature pretty much ensures that it goes to the bottom of their to-do list.

        I truly hope that multiple paste already works perfectly ‘out of the box’ for every user in every situation. Reverse-engineering complete pasteboard support for an app can take hours, because of how many little details there can be, and I can’t justify that for another app right now.

        You asked for feedback, and that is mine: you should document your work, especially features that interoperate with other software. A blog post with an animated GIF is cool but it is no substitute for real documentation.

        • Avatar

          Dmitry Batrak says:

          March 14, 2014

          To pass data into IDEA via clipboard, you’ll need to prepare a text with a line per supposed caret. There’s nothing more you can do at the moment, in terms of integration.
          If it doesn’t work for your use case, please let us know, we’ll try to fix it.

        • Avatar

          Martin says:

          March 24, 2014

          In the time it took you to write this rant, you could have probably experimented with this and find how it works… go out a little bit more, you need it.

          This is something that I won’t be using all the time, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

  12. Avatar

    d1egoaz says:

    March 12, 2014

    This feature will be in Intellij CE?

    • Avatar

      Andrey Cheptsov says:

      March 12, 2014

      Yes, this is a core feature of the editor.

      • Avatar

        d1egoaz says:

        March 13, 2014

        tks 😀

  13. Avatar

    Cameron says:

    March 12, 2014


    While I have played around with Sublime Text, I never used it enough to learn the benefits of this feature. I guess my question is this: What can I do with multiple cursors that I can’t easily do in previous versions IntelliJ (or some other editor.)

    Does anyone know of any tech articles out there outlining some clever tricks that utilize this feature?

    • Avatar

      Jerry says:

      March 12, 2014

      It seems like a more visual way of doing most of what people use keyboard macros for, in other editors. IntelliJ IDEA looks more visual than structural (like, say, Emacs), so it’s probably more consistent with their overall design, even if it’s a little bit less powerful in some cases.

      I’m more used to macros, myself, but I think it’s a clever idea, as long as it can be done without confusing the existing meaning of the cursor and the selection.

  14. Avatar

    Danijel says:

    March 12, 2014

    Those fonts look so blury on Linux! Any plans to fix the fonts rendering on Linux?

  15. Avatar

    Sajith Dilshan says:

    March 13, 2014

    I’ve used this feature while editing CSS files in Sublime a lot. But I’m not sure how this would come in handy while coding in Java. Anyway, thanks for this.

  16. Avatar

    Vladimir Kravets says:

    March 13, 2014

    Any chance to see updated plugin for Python in nearest future? Or why 135 branch don’t exists on the github? release 13.1 rc was 2 days ago but bruch still doesn’t exists… I’m not have ability even to compile python plugin from source =(

    Please fix or update this =)

    Best Regards,

  17. Avatar

    Tibor says:

    March 13, 2014


    nice feature. However I don’t like that when I am done with multiple selection editing and press Esc, the carret is set to the last selection. I would prefer the caret to be positioned where it was before doing multiple selection editing.

  18. Avatar

    Colin Fleming says:

    March 13, 2014

    Is there any documentation anywhere for third-party plugin authors who want to support this feature?

  19. Avatar

    groovybayo says:

    March 13, 2014

    The SVN integration is completely broken. I updated from 13.1 EAP to RC yesterday and it is forcing me to upgrade the working copy to 1.8 format. That wouldn’t have been a problem if it worked ;(.

    I have spent countless hours fiddling with it and still no joy. Would have to rollback to 13.0.2 at this point which at least works with 1.7 format with no issue.

    Why can’t 13.1 EAP still stay compatible with 1.7 format? I know there are probably technically reasons, but if you are going to drop backward compatibility, please make sure things work!

    I have commented on the issue @ http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-118548 and will be more than happy to log another issue if it needs its own ticket.

    Please fix this ASAP. This is totally not cool! [quite unhappy]

    • Avatar

      Konstantin Kolosovsky says:

      March 13, 2014

      I guess you’ve submitted separate issue – please see my comment there.

  20. Avatar

    Matt says:

    March 18, 2014

    Glad to see this feature added and hopefully it evolves. Right now it is still to rough around the edges to use. Arrow keys, home and end key, backspace, delete, etc do not seem to move all the cursors with it. I look forward to this feature getting ironed out and improving. For now I’m assuming only alphanumerical keys work with this?

    • Avatar

      Dmitry Batrak says:

      March 19, 2014

      All the cases your are describing are supposed to work with multiple cursors. The issues could be caused by some plugins. Could you please try after disabling all third-party plugins?

  21. Avatar

    Bob Bobson says:

    March 19, 2014

    The new feature is great. One thing I cannot do however is use it with the existing text search. If I press Cmd F (on Mac) and use Regex matching, can I get multiple selections for each found occurrence?

  22. Avatar

    Roger says:

    March 19, 2014

    What are the key combinations for multi-selecting on the mac.

    I see “alt shift” (option shift) but it sure don’t work! 😉

    • Avatar

      Dmitry Batrak says:

      March 20, 2014

      Alt-Shift-Click is known to work on Mac. Maybe you are trying Alt-Shift-Drag (that resets other carets/selections currently)? Could you also try whether Alt-Shift-Click is recognized on your system by mouse shortcut configuration dialog in Settings -> Keymap -> ‘Add or Remove Caret’s context menu -> Add Mouse Shortcut?

  23. Avatar

    Shawn Fumo says:

    March 19, 2014

    Is there any support (now or planned) for being able to skip selecting a match? It turns out to be really helpful (I use it in ST2 fairly often), more than it may seem at first. You might select “lex” and as you add matches you realize you have a “flex” in the middle you didn’t mean to match. Instead of starting over you can just skip it and continue. Similar to how the unselect command helps with the “whoops I selected one too many” situation, both play into the interactive feedback loop of multi-select IMO.

    The multi-select as it is is still very helpful. I think the skip is the only missing piece for me right now.

  24. Avatar

    Fidelacchius says:

    March 19, 2014

    Omg. Just installed 13.1 and have been playing with it.

    This program officially does everything I want. Now i can stop with that sublime text trial bugging me to buy it 😀

    I never thought I would be happy to spend 200 bucks on software. No regrets 🙂

  25. Avatar

    Ataxexe says:

    March 20, 2014

    I love this feature. But I found one thing that could be improved:

    If I select a piece of code and type a “[“, the editor surrounds the selection with a “[${SELECTION}]”, but, in multiple selections, the editor only surrounds the last selection.

  26. Avatar

    Steve says:

    March 20, 2014

    Clone caret above/below states “these key shortcuts have not been mapped yet”. Did they get mapped in 13.1 GA ? If so what are they?

    • Avatar

      Andrey Cheptsov says:

      March 21, 2014

      Right now we’re considering different options for shortcut mapping and it will take us some time, I hope the shortcuts will be available in one of the upcoming updates for 13.1. So far you can map it manually via Settings -> Keymap.

  27. Avatar

    hzamir says:

    March 20, 2014

    A very useful fancy editing feature! But there is one more basically useful editing feature that IntelliJ IDEA editor does not have that I wish it would borrow from emacs: Narrow Mode. The ability to narrow the scope temporarily of all editing operations to just a part of the file.

  28. Avatar

    Samir says:

    March 20, 2014

    My only issue with it is that it breaks the vim IntelliJ plugin pretty badly. The combination of visual mode and multi cursor selection is very broken.

    Also, when you’re using the multicursor and I try to autocomplete something, the behavior is inconsistent. (Again it might be an issue of vim +MC that’s breaking things )

  29. Avatar

    Denis Stoyanov says:

    March 30, 2014

    Hi! What tool do you use for create a preview of shortcut?

  30. Avatar

    Kevin Mandeville says:

    April 8, 2014

    I can’t seem to get this to work on mac and can’t find the keymaps in the preferences to change mappings. What am I missing?

    • Avatar

      Tammo says:

      April 28, 2014

      I also don’t see a way to get this working on MacOS. Any help?

      • Avatar

        Dmitry Batrak says:

        May 12, 2014

        What exactly is the issue you see? Doesn’t Alt-Shift-Click work for you? What about Ctrl-G?

  31. Avatar

    Marty Gentillon says:

    June 3, 2014

    It would be handy if we could activate this on all usages of a symbol in a file (sort of like the rename refactoring).

  32. Avatar

    Oscar Miguel Amezcua Estrella says:

    July 21, 2014

    Hiyas one question i want to use RubyMine wit Inteli Idea for develop wit Java/Android or Ruby on rails

  33. Avatar

    Ries says:

    September 11, 2014

    Pure statistically speaking, what percentage of Idea user do actually use this feature?

    I know there is a lot of talk and how great it is but I just don’t see the light yet: Personally I just search/replace a lot which gives me ‘multiple edits’ but apart from that I am good. Note, I do a lot of java, a bit of css + a bit of html, I don’t see a lot of repetitions in code that needs the same sort of edit.

  34. Avatar

    Dmitry Ustimov says:

    April 15, 2015

    Good to see such feature in intellij!
    Would be also great to add support of alignment for multi-line selections.

  35. Avatar

    Yaseen says:

    August 20, 2015

    thanks a lot very helphull

  36. Avatar

    Clint Eastwood says:

    September 16, 2015

    I googled “IntelliJ outline doesn’t support paste” and your post arose. I know it is completely unrelated but I’d like to know if “the most intelligent IDE for Java” has a way to paste a method name for example in the outline of a class (cmd+o, in my Eclipse-like key mapping).

    I’d very much appreciate your help, thanks!

  37. Avatar

    emineysprince says:

    May 10, 2016

    Thanks much for this, I found my self hating this editor before I meet this post

  38. Avatar

    MethodMan says:

    April 18, 2017

    I have wanted this feature since I saw it in Sublime, followed by Atom.
    Great job!

  39. Avatar

    florian says:

    November 21, 2019

    when the file has 50 ocurrences of an word, hitting ctrl-cmd-g moves the editor to last or first ocurrence, idea being the editor is moved from current view – which makes this feature kinda useless in this case. Editor view should not move from crt view in this case.

    Another more useful feature is the one in Visual Studio Code, where, when you select with the mouse an word or a few characters, it highlights other occurrences up and above that line, also without moving the view. Would be great if could add this in IDEA.

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