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Presenting with IntelliJ IDEA

October 11, 2022

In this article, we will take a look at ways to level up your presentation skills with IntelliJ IDEA.

Presentation Assistant plugin

Our first tip is to use the Presentation Assistant plugin. The Presentation Assistant plugin will show which shortcuts are being used.

Presentation Assistant plugin example

To install the plugin, open Preferences using ⌘, (on Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+S (on Windows/Linux). Go to Plugins and search for "Presentation assistant" on the Marketplace tab. Click Install and when it's done, click OK to apply the changes and close the dialog or click Apply to keep the dialog open.

Installing the Presentation Assistant plugin in IntelliJ IDEA Preferences

To configure the Presentation Assistant plugin, go back to Preferences and go to Appearance & Behavior > Presentation Assistant.

Here we can configure font size, duration, alignment, and which keymaps to show. We are using macOS, with Windows as the alternative keymap. We have also configured the Presentation Assistant plugin to show the shortcuts at the top of the screen.

Presentation Mode

When presenting, you can use Presentation Mode. The IDE switches to full screen and everything is hidden except for the main editor window. The font size is increased, so it is easier to read from a distance.

Presentation Mode in IntelliJ IDEA

You can switch to Presentation Mode by clicking View > Appearance > Enter Presentation Mode.

Enter Presentation Mode using the menu in IntelliJ IDEA

Exit Presentation Mode by clicking View > Appearance > Exit Presentation Mode.

Exit Presentation Mode using the menu in IntelliJ IDEA

If needed, the font size in Presentation Mode can be configured in Preferences > Appearance & Behavior > Appearance. Scroll down to Presentation Mode, and font size and set the font size you want. Click OK to apply the changes and close the dialog or click Apply to keep the dialog open. Click Cancel to discard the changes and close the dialog.

Configuring Presentation Mode Font Size in IntelliJ IDEA Preferences

We can also open Presentation Mode using short-cuts. Open the Quick Switch Scheme using ⌃ BackTick (on Mac) or Ctrl+BackTick (on Windows/Linux). Use the arrows to select View Mode and then select Enter Presentation Mode.

Switch to View Mode in Quick Switch Scheme Enter Presentation Mode in Quick Switch Scheme

We can use Quick Switch Scheme again to Exit Presentation Mode.

Exit Presentation Mode in Quick Switch Scheme

Mouse Zoom

To enable mouse zoom, you need to turn it on explicitly. Go to Preferences > Editor > General and select Change font size with Command+Mouse Wheel (on Mac) or Change font size with Control+Mouse (on Windows/Linux). Click OK to apply the changes and close the dialog or click Apply to keep the dialog open.

Enable Mouse Zoom in IntelliJ IDEA Preferences

Now we can use Command+Mouse Wheel (on Mac) or Control+Mouse Wheel (on Windows/Linux) to zoom in or out. While we are using mouse zoom, a popup appears containing the current font size on the left and a link to reset to the original font size on the right. Click the link to reset the font size.

Reset font size

Font

To configure font and font size, go to Preferences > Editor > Font. We can select the font we want to use, and set the font size.

Configuring font and font size in IntelliJ IDEA Preferences

When presenting in person, make sure the font can be read from a distance. If possible, check out the room where you'll be speaking, do your setup before your talk, and walk to the back of the room to check if the code is readable.

Theme

By default, IntelliJ IDEA uses the Darcula theme. To change it, go to Preferences > Appearance & Behavior > Appearance.

Select the UI theme from the Theme list:

  • IntelliJ Light is a traditional light theme for IntelliJ-based IDEs
  • macOS Light or Windows 10 Light is an OS-specific light theme available as a bundled plugin
  • Darcula is the default dark theme that we're using here
  • High contrast is a theme designed for users with color vision deficiency

Selecting a Theme in IntelliJ IDEA Preferences

Which theme to use depends on your personal preference. When presenting in front of an audience, you may want to take into account how light or dark the room is. If possible, try different themes and walk to the back of the room to see which one works best before your presentation. When sharing your screen during an online meeting, you may also want to check with teammates which theme works best.

Tool windows

We recommend closing all unused windows so we can focus on the code we're looking at. Use Command + Shift + F12 (on Mac) or Control+Shift+F12 (on Windows/Linux) to hide all tool windows.

Hide all windows in IntelliJ IDEA

We can always reopen them using shortcuts. Here are the shortcuts to some of the most used windows:

  • To open or close the Project Tool Window use ⌘1 (on Mac) or Alt+1 (on Windows/Linux)
  • To open or close the Commit Tool Window use ⌘0 (on Mac) or Alt+0 (on Windows/Linux)
  • To open or close the Terminal Tool Window use Alt+F12
  • To open or close the Git Tool Window use ⌘9( on Mac) or Alt+4 (on Windows/Linux)
  • To open or close the Run Tool Window use ⌘4( on Mac) or Alt+4 (on Windows/Linux)
  • To open or close the Debug Tool Window use ⌘5( on Mac) or Alt+5 (on Windows/Linux)

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to stretch the active window. Go to the relevant window, and use ⌃ ⌥ ← or ⌃ ⌥ → (on Mac) or Control+Alt+Shift+Left or Control+Alt+Shift+Right (on Windows/Linux) to stretch the window left or right. This also works with the tool windows at the bottom, using the up or down arrows to stretch the window up or down.

Find action

If you want to do something, but don't remember the shortcut or menu option, use Find Action. Press ⇧⌘A (on Mac) or Control+Shift+A (on Windows/Linux) to open the Find Action dialog. Search for the action you want, and select the relevant action.

Find Action in IntelliJ IDEA

For example, let's use Find Action to apply soft-wrap.

Soft-wrap

When using a file that has long lines, we can prevent horizontal scrolling by using soft-wrap. Let's use Find Action to enable soft-wrap. Press ⇧⌘A (on Mac) or Control+Shift+A (on Windows/Linux) to open the Find Action dialog, and search for "soft-wrap".

Find Action soft-wrap in IntelliJ IDEA

We get the option to turn on soft-wrap, which will be for this file only. You can click this option to turn soft-wrap on or off.

Find Action and turn soft-wrap ON in IntelliJ IDEA

Alternatively, we can configure soft-wrap. Let's select "Soft wrap these files", which will soft-wrap several types of text files. Click OK to apply the changes and close the Preferences dialog.

Configure soft-wrap in IntelliJ IDEA Preferences

Shortcuts

We recommend using shortcuts as much as possible when presenting. This is easier to do during a presentation than using a mouse or trackpad, especially if you get nervous and your hands might get slippery. There are several ways to learn shortcuts.

  • Find Action lets you search for commands and settings across all menus and tools.
  • Key Promoter X is a plugin that shows a popup notification with the corresponding keyboard shortcut whenever a command is executed using the mouse. It also suggests creating a shortcut for commands that are executed frequently.
  • If you are using one of the predefined keymaps, you can print the default keymap reference card and keep it on your desk to consult it if necessary. This cheat sheet is also available under Help > Keyboard Shortcuts PDF.
  • To print a non-default or customized keymap, use the Keymap exporter plugin.

Let's take a look at some shortcuts for navigation.

Navigation

We can use several shortcuts to navigate around a project:

We can Find a class using ⌘ O (on Mac) or Ctrl+N (on Windows/Linux).

Find Class in IntelliJ IDEA

We can move the caret to a method and use ⌘ B (on Mac) or Ctrl+B (on Windows/Linux) to go to the declaration or usages.

Find Usages in IntelliJ IDEA Find Usage in IntelliJ IDEA

We can also navigate backwards by using ⌘ [ (on Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+Left (on Windows/Linux), or navigate forward: ⌘ ] (on Mac) or Ctrl+Alt+Right (on Windows/Linux).

Use ⇧ ⌘ E (on Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+E (on Windows/Linux) to find Recent Locations.

Recent Locations in IntelliJ IDEA

Or find Last edited location with ⇧ ⌘ ⌫ (on Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+Backspace (on Windows/Linux).

Finally, we can find Recent Files using ⌘ E (on Mac) or Ctrl+E (on Windows/Linux).

Recent Files in IntelliJ IDEA

Bookmarks

Another way to navigate through code, is to use bookmarks. Press F3 (on Mac) or F11 (on Windows/Linux) to create an anonymous line bookmark.

Anonymous Line Bookmark in IntelliJ IDEA

To add a mnemonic line bookmark, press ⌥ F3 (on Mac) or Control+F11 (on Windows/Linux). In the popup that opens, select a number or a letter that you want to use as an identifier for this bookmark. Press (on Mac) or Enter (on Windows/Linux) to save the bookmark. To bookmark files, packages, folders, and modules, right-click the item you want to bookmark in the Project Tool Window, and add an anonymous bookmark (F3 (on Mac) or F11 (on Windows/Linux)), or a mnemonic bookmark (⌥ F3 (on Mac) or Control+F11 (on Windows/Linux)).

Add Mnemonic Bookmark in IntelliJ IDEA Mnemonic Line Bookmark in IntelliJ IDEA

There are several ways to navigate between bookmarks. Press ⌘ F3 (on Mac) or Control+F11 (on Windows/Linux) to open a popup showing bookmarks and select the desired bookmark with the keyboard and press , or select the corresponding digit or letter for a mnemonic bookmark.

Bookmarks in IntelliJ IDEA

To jump straight to a mnemonic bookmark, hold ^ (on Mac) or Control (on Windows/Linux) and press the mnemonic digit or letter on the keyboard.

Summary and Shortcuts

Now we know several tricks that will level up our presentation skills with IntelliJ IDEA.

IntelliJ IDEA Shortcuts Used

Here are the IntelliJ IDEA shortcuts that we used.

Name macOS Shortcut Windows / Linux Shortcut
Open Preferences ⌘, Ctrl+Alt+S
Open Quick Switch Scheme ** | **Ctrl+
Hide all windows ⇧⌘F12 Control+Shift+F12
Open / Close Project Tool Window ⌘1 Alt+1
Open / Close [Commit Tool Window] ⌘1 Alt+1
Open / Close [Terminal Tool Window] ⌥F12 Alt+F12
Open / Close Git Log tool Window ⌘9 Alt+9
Open / Close Run Tool Window ⌘4 Alt+4
Open / Close [Debug Tool Window] ⌘5 Alt+5
Stretch to Left ⌃⌥← Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Left
Stretch to Right ⌃⌥→ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Right
Stretch to Top ⌃⌥↑ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Up
Stretch to Bottom ⌃⌥↓ Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Down
Find Action ⇧⌘A Control+Shift+A
Find a class ⌘O Control+N
Go to declaration or usages ⌘B Control+B
Navigate backward ⌘[ Control+Alt+Left
Navigate forward ⌘] Control+Alt+Right
Recent Locations ⇧⌘E Control+Shift+E
Last Edited Location ⇧⌘⌫ Control+Shift+Backspace
Recent Files ⌘E Control+E
Anonymous Bookmark F3 F11
Mnemonic Bookmark ⌥F3 Control+F11
Save Mnemonic Bookmark Enter

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Author(s)

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    Marit van Dijk

    Marit van Dijk is a Developer Advocate at JetBrains. She is a software developer with 20 years of experience in different roles and companies. She loves building awesome software with ... Learn more

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Presenting with IntelliJ IDEA - Marit van Dijk

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