User Interface

Here we’ll go through some of the basic elements of the UI.

By default, the UI will look something like this:

At the very bottom of the window is the status bar, which shows various useful bits of information. Surrounding the main centre portion of the editor window are the tool bars, 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 num (Cmd num 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 tool bar.

Speed Search

Most IntelliJ components provide speed search functionality. This will filter a list of items based on what you’ve typed. For example, in the Project window you can start typing and the IDE will take you to items matching the entered text. In general, with a little configuration everything can be done in IntelliJ without requiring the mouse.

Dark colour scheme

IntelliJ also provides a native dark colour scheme - enable it in Settings→Appearance & Behavior→Appearance→Theme→Darcula.

Search for an 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 command list will be filtered by the entered text:

Configuring a minimal UI

Here at Cursive Central, we prefer a more minimal UI. Here’s how to configure it. First, you can turn off the tool bars 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. Then, 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:

Don’t worry about being able to move between files without tabs, we’ll talk in the Getting Around section about how to do that. Of course, if you prefer tabs (or any other part of the UI above) just leave it enabled.

Some suggested settings

One thing we recommend for programming Clojure code is to bind the tab key to the Emacs Tab action, which will always indent the current line no matter where in the line the caret is. 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 bindings mapped if IntelliJ prompts you.