User Interface

Let's go through some of the essential elements of the UI.

If you use our suggested Material Themes UI, for more beautiful colors, then your UI will look something like this:

The user interface

At the very bottom of the window is the status bar, which shows various bits of information. Surrounding the central portion of the editor window are the toolbars, which you can click on to open the corresponding tool window. In this image, the Project tool window is open on the left. Some of the tool windows also have numbers associated with them; you can open and close them by pressing Alt <number> (Cmd <number> on the Mac). You can also move tool windows from one side of the UI to the other or between the bottom and the sides by dragging the corresponding toolbar.

Search everywhere for project components

If you are looking for a named piece of code, like a module, class or variable then just hit the Shift button twice! This Shift-Shift command brings up a command window where you can fuzzy search for most anything in your project.

Search everywhere

Search for an editor action by name

If you want to execute a particular action, you can always search for it using Ctrl-Shift-A (Cmd-Shift-A on the Mac). Start typing, and the entered text will fuzzy filter out available commands:

Find editor action

Speed Search in IntelliJ panes

Most IntelliJ components panes provide speed search functionality which will filter a list of items based on what you’ve typed in the window. For example, in the Project window, you can start typing, and the IDE will take you to items matching the entered text. You can also use arrow up/down to move between multiple choices.

Search in Project pane by simply typing. Use Arrow up and down to select between multiple results

In general, with a little configuration, everything can be done in IntelliJ without requiring the mouse.

Configuring a minimal UI

We prefer a more minimal UI when editing. Here’s how you can configure IntelliJ for it.

  • First, you can turn off the toolbars by clicking on the square icon in the bottom left of the status bar. You can always get them back temporarily (for example, to open a tool window) by pressing Alt twice (Cmd twice on the Mac).
  • Hide the Project window by clicking the |<- button; type [Ctrl][1] ([Cmd][1] on Mac).
  • In the View menu, deselect Toolbar and Navigation Bar.
  • Finally, in Settings→Editor→General→Editor Tabs set Placement: to None.

You’ll end up with a UI that looks more like this:

Minmalistic editor environment

Some suggested settings

Most electronic design and verification engineers like Emacs tab functionality. The Emacs Tab will always indent the current line no matter where on the line the caret is. IntelliJ offers the same functionality. Open Settings→Keymap and type “tab” into the search box - you should see both Tab and Emacs Tab options near the top. Double click on Tab and remove the binding to the tab key. Then double-click on Emacs Tab and select Add Keyboard Shortcut. In the First stroke box press the tab key, and press Ok. Leave any conflicting key-bindings mapped if IntelliJ prompts you.