The Holy Java

Building the right thing, building it right, fast


Eclipse notes and tricks.

Check also my blogs in the eclipse category.

My favorite Eclipse magic

(Shortcuts under Mac – under Linux they’re likely the same only having Ctrl instead of Command key icon)
(| indicates position of the cursor; Command key icon is Command, Shift icon is Shift, Option or Alt key icon is Alt, ^ is Control)

  • Open Type (Command key iconShift iconT) – quickly find any class on the classpath
  • Open Resource (Command key iconShift iconR) – quickly find any file in the project
  • Quick Outline (Command key iconO) – opens a pop-up similar to the Outline view but filterable with support for the * wildcard – useful for jumping quickly to a method/member (much better than search)
  • Smart Complete(^Space) – complete just about anything (variables, methods, types, …) including predefined Code Templates and more
    • Class-level completion (press ^Space anywhere outside of a method for all proposals or type first few letters of what you want first)
      • Override/implement method: start typing the name of the method, e.g. “toS” for toString() – or just press ^Space and select the proposition you want
      • Quick constructor creation:  if the class has no constructor, just press ^Space, it should come first
      • Quick setter/getter generation: as above
    • Create for/foreach loop to loop over Iterable/Collection/array – type “for” and ^Space
    • Surround with try-catch or another block statement (do/while/for loop, try-catch, synchronized, if, runnable) – select at least two lines and ^Space, go to the end of the proposition list (via up arrow in the list)
    • Print to sysout/syserr: select 1 line and ^Space, go to the last propositions
  • Quick Fix (Command key icon1) – proposes things you are likely to do; experiment with how the proposals differ based on where exactly your cursor is and what is or is not selected
    • Create new field initialized in a constructor: declare the constructor’s parameter (leaving cusrsor just behind the name), press Command key icon1 and select Assign parameter to new field.
    • Introduce local variable: select a statement and Command key icon1
    • Complete definition of a new local variable – type: type e.g. “a = new String();|” and Command key icon1, select “Create local variable ‘a'” (notice also the other options – field and parameter).
    • Convert local variable to field (cursor behind variable’s name), also Inline local variable
    • Many other – just experiment
  • Open Call Hierarchy – right-click, select it
  • Organize Imports (Command key iconShift iconO)
  • Minor
  • Completion – swtich between insert (default) and override – hold Ctrl (see Java – Editor – Content Assist – Insertion)

Other noteworthy things:

  • When you search for class name (Open Type, completions), Eclipse is clever enough to deal with abbreviated forms like IA, IAE, IllArgEx etc. when searching for IllegalArgumentException.
  • Quick Access (Command key icon3) – search in open windows, options, views, commands, …
  • Word completion (useful e.g. in JavaDoc): Alt+/  (this and previous tips are from K. D. Sherwood)
  • Copy/Move Line (Command key iconOption or Alt key iconShift icon/Option or Alt key iconShift icon or down)

Johannes Brodwall: Some eye-openers that people enjoy learning (copy/move line and other valuable things – check it out!).

Coding help


Simple import of static methods

If you have some static methods that you use often – such as JUnit’s Asserts Mockito’s fluent API – you may enable Eclipse to add the necessary static imports by adding these types to your Favorite imports:

Java -> Editor -> Content Assist -> Favorites, click [New Type…] and select the class defining the static method.

Normally when you type the name of a static method defined in another class, Eclipse will complain about non-existing method and doesn’t offer you to create a static import for the method, unless it is among the favorite imports.

My favourites:


Source: Piotr Jagielski’s blog Working With
Static Imports in Eclipse



From the article The Dark Art of Logging (2010).

Variant A: commons-logging

Window -> Preferences -> Java -> Editor ->Templates.

Log declaration (“logdef”):

${:import(org.apache.commons.logging.Log, org.apache.commons.logging.LogFactory)} private static final Log LOG = LogFactory.getLog(${enclosing_type}.class);


if (LOG.isDebugEnabled()) {
   LOG.debug("${enclosing_method}: ${msg}");

Variant B: Java logging

As above except the templates themselves.


${:import(java.util.logging.Logger)} private static final Logger LOG = Logger.getLogger(${enclosing_type}.class.getName()) ;

Default action in a catch block

Change the action on exception in the template for try-catch blocks through Window -> Preferences -> Java -> Code Style -> Code Templates. Change the Code -> ‘Catch block body’ and  ‘Code in new catch blocks’  template to the following.

LOG.error("${msg}", ${exception_var});

(Default is exception.printStackTrace().)


Test method

A slight modification of the default “Test” template:

public void setUp() throws Exception {

Also setUp may be useful:

public void ${testname}() throws Exception {
	${staticImport:importStatic('org.junit.Assert.*')}fail("not yet implemented");${cursor}

Favorite Plugins

Experimenting with:

  • Crap4j
  • CodePro AnalytiX

Using Eclipse at Presentations

  • Increase font size
    • Text font: Ctrl+ and Ctrl- with Tarlog’s plugin or Preferences – General – Appearance – Colors and Fonts (or just search for Fonts) – select Basic – Text Font and edit it
    • Tab labels: View and Editor Folders – Part title font
    • Content of views (e.g. Package Explorer): this cannot be set from Eclipse, it’s taken over from the windowing system so you need to change the font size in your desktop environment (in GTK/..)
  • Hide clutter – the best way is to create a new Perspective for presentations without unnecessary toolbar and menu elements
    • Right-click the top toolbar and select Hide Toolbar (redisplay: menu Window – Show Toolbar)
  • Try one of the Fullscreen plugins for Eclipse, f.ex. U. Sangiorgi’s Eclipse-Fullscreen plugin (download into dropins/, 9/2011 in E3.6, Pref. – General – Full Screen – choose whether to hide menu and/or status bar, see Window – Full Screen and Alt+Ctrl+Z or Esc) or M. Scharf’s Eclipse Mode plugin (12/2009, tested in E3.6) – hides the title bar (but not the status bar)

Beware that the settings are valid for a workspace -> you may want to create a new one for the presentation.

You may also want to try the Eclipse Presentation Theme by Zoltán Ujhelyi to make switching to a bigger font size easier.

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