SBT Plugin for IntelliJ IDEA Nightly Builds

SBT build definitionWe know that you have been waiting for SBT project support in IDEA too long. That’s why we make SBT plugin nightly builds available even before an actual release of the plugin.


Though work on SBT plugin is still in progress, the following features are already available:

  • SBT project import.
  • Incremental project model updating.
  • Auto-import (on project definition changes).
  • Editing of .sbt files (with full highlighting, auto-completion and navigation).

Many more features are on the way (see the roadmap below).


SBT plugin is currently available for IDEA 12 (“Leda”), the plugin builds for the IDEA 13 EAPs are coming soon.

You can use any of the following methods to install or update the plugin in IDEA:

  • Automatic updates (recommended)
    Add the following URL to the list of custom plugin repositories in Settings | Plugins | Browse Repositories | Manage Repositories:

    After that, you may install the plugin via Settings | Plugins | Browse Repositories.
    IDEA will check for the latest plugin builds automatically.

  • Manual download
    Get the latest build from SBT plugin nightly builds page and install the downloaded archive via Settings | Plugins | Install plugin from disk.

  • Build from sources
    If you are eager to get the latest snapshot of the plugin, you may use SBT plugin project on GitHub to clone the plugin repository by entering the following command:

    git clone

    Then run sbt dist to build a binary distribution of the plugin (you may need to specify locations of IDEA and Scala plugin first).


To import an SBT project in IDEA use either File | Open or File | Import Project menu command and then choose a desired build.sbt file (alternatively, you may choose a project root directory).

IDEA will analyze the SBT project structure and create a corresponding project model that includes all required modules, source/output directories, libraries, dependencies, etc.

If you select Use auto-import check-box in the import dialog, IDEA will monitor the SBT project definition for changes and update the corresponding project model automatically (preserving your local modifications to the project).

In addition to ordinary modules (which correspond to SBT “projects”), IDEA creates special “SBT” modules, which describe SBT build definitions themselves (.sbt files and Scala files in project directories) in order to provide highlighting, auto-completion and navigation for these files and SBT libraries.


Here are the features that we’re going implement in the near future:

  • SBT console.
  • Command tool window.
  • Project make via SBT.


Keep in mind that SBT plugin project is currently in alpha stage, don’t be too hard on it 🙂

Please, report bugs and submit feature requests to our YouTrack (set “SBT” as a subsystem).

Post ideas and questions to our forum.

Complete plugin code is available as a project on GitHub.

Comments below can no longer be edited.

29 Responses to SBT Plugin for IntelliJ IDEA Nightly Builds

  1. Avatar

    Dmitry Ivanov says:

    July 17, 2013

    Awesome stuff! Thanks! Starting testing… =)

  2. Avatar

    item says:

    July 17, 2013

    Great project, thanks! One thing that I’m missing from the sbt-idea plugin (gen-idea) is automatic setup of run configurations. That would make for a great feature. I.e., use sbt to detect the main class (perhaps even all possible main classes), and generate corresponding run config, so you can build + go straight away.

    • Avatar

      Pavel Fatin says:

      July 18, 2013

      That will be a useful feature indeed! I’ve created a corresponding issue in YouTrack (so everyone can track progress on this).

  3. Avatar

    Omer van Kloeten says:

    July 18, 2013

    Which would you say is better for generating the IDEA project for a Play! Framework project? The SBT plugin’s import mechanism or Play’s `idea` command?

    • Avatar

      Pavel Fatin says:

      July 18, 2013

      It’s hard to say, more testing is needed. We’re going to use SBT plugin mechanisms in Play 2 plugin for IDEA directly after a while.

    • Avatar

      Robert Tjærestump says:

      July 19, 2013

      Well I can tell you: Play’s version has never really worked perfectly.
      It creates some broken dependencies that you have to fix manually every time you run “play idea”.

      And it turns out that neither the author of sbt-idea or play will acknowledge the problem.

      So I’d go for this new plugin. It doesn’t create bad dependencies at the least.

  4. Avatar

    Assaf Israel says:

    July 18, 2013

    This is great news. When can we expect SBT-console integration?
    This is especially important in multi-module projects where the Idea console can’t resolve classes in different target folders. Running console from the SBT console is nice, but lack auto-complete and syntax highlighting.

  5. Avatar

    Robert Tjærestump says:

    July 19, 2013

    Thank youuuuuu!!!

    If scala is ever to grow, we need proper integration.
    This is a positive step. =)

  6. Avatar

    jtonic says:

    July 19, 2013

    Great news.

    IDEA is a great IDE (best on the market IMHO)
    Scala is a great language
    JVM is a great virtual machine
    SBT is a great build tool.

    Working with all of this is a great pleasure.


    • Avatar

      Jeffrey Aguilera says:

      November 28, 2013

      SBT is an awful build tool, but a necessary evil when doing Scala development.

      • Avatar

        Rahul says:

        May 10, 2016

        u r very right jeffrey

  7. Avatar

    Vincenzo says:

    July 20, 2013

    Good stuff.

  8. Avatar

    Gus says:

    July 20, 2013

    Great work! Been waiting for this for a while. Would be nice to have a view similar to the maven tool window, with phases, dependencies and ability to download sources, but they’re just a wish list. Keep up the good work.

  9. Avatar

    Robert Tjærestump says:

    July 21, 2013

    When is the new SBT console ready btw? 🙂

  10. Avatar

    Alain Sahli says:

    July 25, 2013


    Nice work!

    I tried to import a project with SBT 0.13.x but it failed. Is there a way to change the SBT runtime used by IntelliJ?

  11. Avatar

    Alain O'Dea says:

    July 26, 2013

    This is a great feature. Having SBT Import Project support is the missing link for applying SBT to all internal projects. The CLI works, but most staff prefer a pure IntelliJ workflow so this is a huge benefit. Thank you 🙂

  12. Avatar

    Michael Lesniak says:

    August 16, 2013

    Great to see progress on this plugin.

    Thanks for developing it.

  13. Avatar

    Ahmad says:

    August 27, 2013

    Any plan for android support ?

  14. Avatar

    Tomer Ben David says:

    September 18, 2013


  15. Laurent Kempé | Functional Programming Principles in Scala using JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA says:

    September 20, 2013

    […] you also need to install the SBT plugin also from JetBrains which is still in development and get nightly […]

  16. Avatar

    Ian says:

    September 21, 2013

    You guys are awesome!
    This is why Idea is the best IDE out there.
    Thank you and keep up with the good work!

  17. Avatar

    Dave says:

    October 6, 2013

    Have you considered merging this project in with the plugin by Esko Luontola. Your import is awesome, and the other plugin has the sbt console already. I think a merger would make a really useful sbt plug-in

  18. Avatar

    Suriyanto says:

    October 15, 2013

    This is a great plugin and is the reason that we starting to look into IDEA after all the years of using Eclipse. However we are really looking forward to upgrading to sbt 0.13. What is the schedule for this plugin to support sbt 0.13 on IDEA 12?

  19. Avatar

    Wojtek says:

    November 8, 2013

    It does not work on 12.1.6. I have investigated the plugin.xml file inside the plugin and it has the following:

    I guess someone has been working on the plugin on the newer version of IDEA and now Idea 12 is not compatible with the nightly build of the plugin…

  20. Avatar

    Wojtek says:

    November 8, 2013

    the plugin.xml contains: idea-version since-build=”132.943″ until-build=”133.0″

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    November 18, 2013

    […] Cannot install SBT for IntelliJ November 18, 2013 Author: copyquery No comment yet (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); I would like to install the SBT plugin in Intellij 12.1.6 Community Edition (Mac) found here: […]

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    December 3, 2013

    […] who like to live on the bleeding edge. With the move to CM 11, CyanogenMod will also retire the nightly builds of Ice Cream Sandwich-based branches of […]

  23. Avatar

    Marino says:

    May 20, 2014

    Hi Pavel, I want to write a Gradle plugin for Play! Framework. My idea is to write a plugin that parse Play! SBT dependencies and add it to IDEA and Gradle dependencies. Where do i start looking?

  24. #onenote# scala – Think Note says:

    February 23, 2017

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