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About Adrian Matei

Adrian Matei
Adrian Matei (ama [AT] codingpedia DOT org) is the founder of Podcastpedia.org and Codingpedia.org, computer science engineer, husband, father, curious and passionate about science, computers, software, education, economics, social equity, philosophy.

Is IntelliJ IDEA shining through Eclipse?

As a long time Eclipse user, I want to give a more serious look to IntelliJ IDEA. The people from JetBrains were very nice and granted me an open source license for the Podcastpedia.org  and Codingpedia.org projects. In the post I listed some of the things I use often in Eclipse and their equivalent in IntelliJ. I wrote this post so I can bookmark it and come back to, whenever I forget something, and if it helps others the better.

Keyboard shortcuts

So firt things first. Here’s a list of the shortcuts I use or ought to be using the most:

 Code completion Ctrl+Space Ctrl+Space
 Open class or interface
(in both cases you can ease the search by filtering the lookup list with the help of the “camel words” prefixes e.g. “PoDI” will also list the PodcastDaoImpl class)
 Ctrl+Shif +T Ctrl+N
 Open file/resource quickly Ctrl+Shift+R Ctrl+Shift +N
 Refactor/Rename classes Alt+Shift+R Shift+F6
 Open declaration F3 Ctrl+B
 View Javadoc / Details Mouse Over (F2 focus) Ctrl+Q
 Quick fix Ctrl+1 Alt+Enter
 Organize imports Ctrl+Shift+OCtrl+Alt+O
 Save file / Save all files Ctrl+S / Ctrl+Shift+SDon’t need to. Happens automatically
 File Structure pop-up for quick navigation through the current file (members, methods) Ctrl+OCtrl+F12
 Source (Generate getters/setters, constructor etc.) Alt+Up /Alt+Down Alt+Insert
 Maximize Editor Ctrl+M (works for any current view with focus on) Ctrl+Shift+F12
 Source (Generate getters/setters, constructor etc.) Alt+Up /Alt+Down Alt+Insert
 Complete current statement such as if, do-while, try-catch, return (or a method call) into a syntactically correct construct (e.g. add curly braces) Ctrl+Shift+Enter
 Extract constant Ctrl+1 -> Extract to constant Ctrl+Alt+C
 Extract variable Ctrl+1 -> Extract to variable Ctrl+Alt+V
Adding, Deleting and Moving Lines
Add new line after the one at caretShift+EnterShift+Enter
Duplicate line or code fragmentCtrl+Alt+Up/DownCtrl+D
Remove lineCtrl+DCtrl+Y
Move row or entire selection up or downAlt+Up/DownShift+Alt+Up/Down
 Find usage of class/variable in workspace / project Ctrl+Shift+G Alt+F7
 Find text in project/workspace project Ctrl+H (choose File Search) Ctrl+Shift+F
 Back (Undo last navigation operation) Alt+Left Ctrl+Alt+Left
 Back (Undo last navigation operation) Alt+ Left Ctrl + Alt + Left
 Navigate between tabs/editors Ctrl + Page Down / Up Alt + Left/Alt + Right
 Go to line Ctrl + L Ctrl + G
 Navigate to recent files Ctrl + E Ctrl + E
 Quickly move between methods in the editor Alt + Up / Down
 Step over F6 F8
 Step into F5 F7
 Step out F7 Shift + F8
 Resume F8 F9

Link to editor

I often find myself when editing a file and to need to edit others files in the same context. For example ff it is a class usually, I also work on others classes in the same package – you can quickly navigate to the other class in the package by having the Link to Editor feature turned on.  What does it do? Whenever I edit a file it diplays it instantly in the package explorer/project. If you take vertical packaging approach, which holds classes together based on functionality rather than on layers (dao, service etc.), which I highly recommend, this comes pretty handy.


Go to the Project Explorer or Package Explorer View and click on the Link to Editor button


If you don’t want to enable this feature, you can still navigate to the package/project explorer hierarchy by using the keys combination Alt + Shift + W and select where you want to show it:



In the Project or Packages view select Settings and then Autoscroll From Source


If you don’t want to enable this feature you can still navigate by using the keys combination Alt + F1 and select where you want to show it:


What I really like about IntelliJ

Lots of things by default

IntelliJ comes with a lots of features provided by default (e.g. GitHub integration – have to check that one :)). Of course in Eclipse you can also get lots of functionality, by selecting on of the more specialized versions, but most likely you’ll still have to configure this or that plugin…

Change Font size using the mouse wheel

You can change font size using the mouse wheel (feature I heavily use in browser). But you need first to enable it:

  1. Open the IDE Settings (Ctrl+Shift+S or over the Menu File > Settings)
  2. On the Editor page (type Editor in the search bar), make sure that the setting Change font size (Zoom) with Ctrl+MouseWheel is enabled.

Enable zoom with mouse

Launch terminal directly in the IDE

Alt + F12

Cool live templates

Type p and press Ctrl + J, then you get following options:

  • psf – public static final
  • psfi – public static final int
  • psfs – public static final String
  • psvm – main method declaration

Great JavaScript/HTML5 support

The commercial version (IntelliJ Ultimate), should include ultimate code assistance for HTML5, CSS3, SASS, LESS, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, Node.js, ActionScript and other languages. Promise to check this pretty soon.

What I miss from Eclipse

Cannot maximize console

Ctrl + M on the console. I haven’t found an easy way to maximize the console output, like a double click on the tab or Ctrl+M from Eclipse.

Show javadoc when hovering with the mouse

Of course you have the Ctrl + Q to get the same effect, but it’s so nice in Eclipse when you just hover of class and receive a snippet of its javadoc…


The feeling – I find both IDEs great, IntelliJ looks more modern, but  on the same time I like the “classicness” of Eclipse, but that’s maybe because I so much more used to it. Will relate about this later…

Well, that’s all I have so far, but I’ll try to add features to the comparison should I come accross them and the time will allow it, so stay tuned.


  1. IntelliJ IDEA Q&A for Eclipse Users
  2. IntelliJ IDEA – Keyboard Shortcuts You Cannot Miss
  3. Eclipse Shortcuts – Tutorial
Reference: Is IntelliJ IDEA shining through Eclipse? from our JCG partner Adrian Matei at the Codingpedia.org blog.
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What is even cooler about live templates – you can type psfs + and get it immediately without any extra key presses. Same applies to postfix completion and others.


I used the community version of Idea for a few months at work, and I found that it is very nice to use, feels snappier than Eclipse (i7 8gb ram and ssd, both were fine but idea felt a bit lighter). I liked the whole “single window vs perspectives” approach, felt very natural. The two areas where I found Eclipse superior was the change management (liked Eclipse team sync better) and maven dependency examination (and maven in general). Plus the maximize console thing, if I need a big console I end up floating it and expanding the window to cover… Read more »


You can also set the key mappings to use eclipse settings for a quick transfer to intellij


> Show javadoc when hovering with the mouse

That feature is actually available in IntelliJ. Just open up the settings and go to Editor>General. There is an option called “Show quick doc on mouse move”. Enable it and set a delay that works for you.

Best regards,


Thanks for pointing out Ben. I updated the original post.

Fred Wang

This article comes in the right time, I’m considering switch from Eclipse to IntelliJ IDEA. :D


If you’ve ever configured Tomcat to run inside Eclipse and very easily stopped and started, I am curious what would be your experience with IntelliJ. I am pretty sure anyone pointed to the Servers pane in Eclipse can figure out the rest on how to install/integrate Tomcat into Eclipse and deploy your web apps to it, along with jars in the WEB-INF/lib directory. Try that with IntelliJ. I don’t find it straightforward at all. Maybe it’s because I am used to the way Eclipse does it, but after spending hours and hours googling and trying to figure it out, I… Read more »