IntelliJ IDEA 15.0 Help

Tuning IntelliJ IDEA

In this section:

Increasing Productivity

There are two ways to increase the IntelliJ IDEA's productivity. First, you can change the files located in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder. Second, you can avoid editing files located in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder.

Editing files under the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder

To increase the productivity of IntelliJ IDEA, you can change settings that reside in the following locations (depending on your operating system) :

  • On Windows systems:
    <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea.exe.vmoptions
    <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea64.exe.vmoptions
  • On *NIX systems:
    <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea.vmoptions
    <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea64.vmoptions
  • On OS X:

    Since version 12.0.0:
    The file /Applications/ should be copied to ~/Library/Preferences/IntelliJIdeaXX/idea.vmoptions

    Since version 14.0.0:

    The file /Applications/ should be copied to ~/Library/Preferences/IntelliJIdeaXX/idea.vmoptions

    For the older versions, the settings are stored in /Applications/idea<version>.app/Contents/Info.plist.

Alternative ways for Windows and Linux platforms

IntelliJ IDEA makes it possible to increase productivity without editing files in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder.

This is done in one of the two ways:

  • Specify IDEA_VM_OPTIONS environment variable. This variable should contain the path to the file with the settings.
  • Create $HOME/.IntelliJIdeaXX/idea$BITS.vmoptions (for *NIX) or %USERPROFILE%\.IntelliJIdeaXX\idea%BITS%.exe.vmoptions (for Windows) respectively.

    The value of the variable BITS:

    • For 32-bit systems it is empty.
    • For 64-bit systems it is 64.

    Finally, you have to create:

    • For *NIX 32-bit: $HOME/.IntelliJIdeaXX/idea.vmoptions
    • For *NIX 64-bit: $HOME/.IntelliJIdeaXX/idea64.vmoptions
    • For Windows 32-bit: %USERPROFILE%\.IntelliJIdeaXX\idea.exe.vmoptions
    • For Windows 64-bit: %USERPROFILE%\.IntelliJIdeaXX\idea64.exe.vmoptions

If IDEA_VM_OPTIONS environment variable is defined, or the file $HOME/.IntelliJIdeaXX/idea$BITS.vmoptions (for *NIX) or %USERPROFILE%\.IntelliJIdeaXX\idea%BITS%.exe.vmoptions (for Windows) exists, then this file is used instead of the file located in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder.

Thus, to avoid editing files in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder, one should:

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Copy <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/IntelliJIdeaXX.vmoptions to $HOME/.IntelliJIdeaXX/idea$BITS.vmoptions (for *NIX) or %USERPROFILE%\.IntelliJIdeaXX\idea%BITS%.exe.vmoptions (for Windows)
    • Copy <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/IntelliJIdeaXX.vmoptions somewhere and save the path to this location into the environment variable IDEA_VM_OPTIONS
  2. Edit the file in the new location.

Increasing the heap size

To increase IntelliJ IDEA heap size, you should copy the original idea.vmoptions file from the /Applications/idea<version>.app/Contents/bin/idea.vmoptions to ~/Library/Preferences/idea<version>/idea.vmoptions, then modify the -Xmx setting.

Managing case of unicode literals

IntelliJ IDEA allows defining whether non-ascii characters should use literals like '\u00AB' or '\00ab'.

This behavior is controlled by the system property idea.native2ascii.lowercase. By default, upper case characters are used.

If it is desirable to use lower case characters, do the following (depending on your platform) :

  • On Windows and *NIX: add the line

    to the bin/ file, located under the product installation folder.

  • On OS X:

    Copy the file /Applications/IntelliJ to ~/Library/Preferences/IntelliJIdeaXX/, open it for editing, and add the line


    It is essential to create a copy, since the settings are replaced rather than added.

    For the older versions of IntelliJ IDEA, open for editing the file /Applications/IntelliJ, and add the following code:

    <key>idea.native2ascii.lowercase</key> <string>true</string>

    to the section <key>Properties</key> <dict> ... <dict>

See Also

Last modified: 11 November 2015