CLion 2019.1 Help

Editor basics

The CLion editor is the main part of the IDE that you use to create, read and modify code.

The editor consists of the following areas:

  1. The scrollbar shows errors and warnings in the current file.

  2. Breadcrumbs help you navigate inside the code in the current file.

  3. The left gutter shows line numbers and annotations.

  4. Tabs show the names of the currently opened files.


You can use various shortcuts to switch between the editor and different tool windows, change the editor size, switch focus, or return to the original layout.

Maximize editor pane

  • In the editor, press Ctrl+Shift+F12. CLion hides all windows except the active editor.

Switch the focus from a window to the editor

  • Press Escape. CLion moves the focus from any window to the active editor.

Return to the editor from the command-line terminal

  • Press Alt+F12. CLion closes the terminal window.

  • If you need to keep the terminal window open when you switch back to the active editor, press Ctrl+Tab.

Return to the default layout

  • Press Shift+F12.

  • To save the current layout as the default, from the main menu select Window | Store Current Layout as Default. You can use the same shortcut (Shift+F12) to restore the saved layout.

Jump to the last active window

  • Press F12.

Use the switcher for navigation

  1. To jump between the opened files and tool windows with the switcher, press Ctrl+Tab.

  2. Keep Ctrl pressed to leave the switcher popup open.

  3. Press Tab to move between elements. Press Backspace to remove the selected file from the list and close it in the editor.

Change the IDE appearance

You can switch between schemes, keymaps, or viewing modes.

  1. Press Ctrl+`.

  2. In the Switch menu, select the option you need and press Enter. Use the same shortcut (Ctrl+`) to undo your changes.

You can also find and adjust the color scheme settings including the high contrast color scheme for people with eyesight deficiency on the Editor | Color Scheme page and the keymap settings on the Keymap page of the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S).

  • Press Alt+Home.

Editor tabs

You can close, hide, and detach editor tabs. Every time you open a file for editing, a tab with its name is added next to the active editor tab.

To configure the settings for editor tabs, use the Editor | General | Editor Tabs page of the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S).

Open or close tabs

  • To close all opened tabs, select Window | Editor Tabs | Close All from the main menu.

  • To close all inactive tabs, press Alt and click the Close button on the active tab. In this case, only the active tab stays open.

  • To close only the active tab, press Ctrl+F4. You can also click the mouse's wheel button anywhere on a tab to close it.

  • To reopen the closed tab, right-click any tab, and from the context menu, select Reopen Closed Tab.

Move, remove, or sort tabs

  • To move or remove the the Close button icon on a tab, in the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General | Editor Tabs and select the appropriate option in the Close button position field.

  • To move between tabs, press Alt+Right or Alt+Left.

  • To place the editor tabs in a different part of the editor frame or hide the tabs, select Window | Editor Tabs | Editor Placement from the main menu.

  • To sort the editor tabs, select Window | Editor Tabs | Sort Tabs by Filename from the main menu.

Detach a tab

  • To detach an active tab, press Shift+F4.

  • Drag the tab you need outside of the main window and drag the tab back to attach it.

  • You can also use Alt+mouse for the same action.

  • In the Project tool window, select a file you want to detach and press Shift+Enter.

Switch between tabs

You can switch between recently viewed tabs or files.

  • In the editor, press Ctrl+Tab. Keep pressing Ctrl for the Switcher window to stay open. Use Tab to switch between tabs and other files.

Assign a shortcut for the opened tab

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Keymap.

  2. In the list of directories, click the Other directory and from the list of tabs, select the one for which you need to add a shortcut. The limit of tabs to which you can assign shortcuts is 9.

    Add shortcuts for tabs

CLion limits number of tabs that you can open in the editor simultaneously (the default tab limit is 10).

Change the default tab limit

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General | Editor Tabs.

  2. In the Tab closing policy section, adjust the settings according to your preferences and click OK.

Hide editor tabs if there is no more space

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General | Editor Tabs.

  2. Select the Hide tabs if there is no space option. Extra tabs will be placed in the list located in the upper right part of the editor.

Split screen

You can use several options to split your screen.

  • In the editor, right-click the desired editor tab and select how you want to split the editor window (Split Vertically or Split Horizontally). CLion creates a split view of the editor and places it according to your selection.

  • If you want to move the file without splitting the editor, from the main menu, select Window | Editor Tabs and the Move Right or Move Down option.

Quick popups


Action / Access

Good to know

View quick definition of a symbol (tag, class, method/function, field, and so on.)


CLion displays the information in a popup. If you need, click the Pin button icon to open the Find tool window with the item's definition and its usages.

View quick documentation for a code element or a file.


CLion displays a popup with the appropriate information. You can press Ctrl+Q twice to open the popup in the Documentation tool window. (Press same shortcut to switch back to the popup).
If you need to change the font size of the text displayed in the popup window, click the Settings icon and in the window that opens, change the font size according to your preferences.
For code elements you can also view an external documentation while in the quick documentation popup. Click Previous or press Shift+F1.

If you invoke the quick documentation popup when you look for a class (Ctrl+N), you can look up the documentation on any class displayed in the list. To switch focus to the popup, press the same shortcut.

View the context information.


The action shows the current method or class declaration when it is not visible.

View a description of the error or warning at the caret.


Click the code analysis marker to see the list of found errors. Use F2 or Shift+F2 to navigate to next or previous error.

Copy tooltip text to the clipboard.

Hold Alt (on Linux, hold Ctrl+Alt) and click the tooltip

View all usages for code element.


To control the usages highlighting, select or clear the Highlight usages on element at caret option, in Settings/Preferences | Editor | General (the Highlight on Caret Movement area).

If you turn on the Power Save mode (File | Power Save Mode), the usages are not highlighted.

Enable/disable import popup messages.

Click Hector the Hector icon in the bottom right-hand corner and clear the Import popup checkbox.

Useful editor configurations

You can use the Settings/Preferences(Ctrl+Alt+S) dialog to customize the editor's behavior.

editor settings

Check the following popular configurations:

Configure code formatting

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | Code Style.

  2. From the list of languages select the appropriate one and on the language page, configure settings for tabs and indents, spaces, wrapping and braces, hard and soft margins, and so on.

Configure fonts, size, and font ligatures

  • In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | Font.

Change the font size in the editor

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General (Mouse section).

  2. Select the Change font size (Zoom) with Ctrl+Mouse Wheel option.

  3. Return to the editor, press and hold Ctrl ( on macOS), and using the mouse wheel, adjust the font size.

Configure the color scheme settings for different languages and frameworks

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | Color Scheme.

  2. Open the Color Scheme node and select the needed language or framework. You can also select the General option from the node's list to configure the color scheme settings for general items such as code, editor, errors and warnings, popups and hints, search results, and so on.

Configure code completion options

  • In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General | Code Completion. Here you can configure the case sensitive completion, auto-display options, code sorting, and so on.

Configure the caret placement

  • In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General. Use the Virtual Space section to configure the caret placement options.

    Select the Allow placement of caret after end of line option to place the caret at the next line in the same position as the end of the previous line. If this option is cleared, the caret at the next line is placed at the end of the actual line.

    Select the Allow placement of caret inside tabs option to help you move the caret up or down inside the file while keeping it in the same position.

Configure the behavior of trailing spaces on save

  • In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General. Use the Other section to configure options for trailing spaces.

    For example, when you save your code either manually or automatically and want to preserve trailing spaces on the caret line regardless of what option is selected in the Strip trailing spaces on save list, select the Always keep trailing spaces on caret line option.

Configure the editor appearance options

  • In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General | Appearance.

    For example, you can configure showing the hard wrap guide, or showing parameter hints.

Manage the appearance for long lines

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General

  2. In the Soft Wraps section, specify the appropriate options.

    For example, you can specify file types to which you want to apply soft wraps. It might be helpful when you write documentation in markdown files.

Configure smart keys

You can configure a certain behavior for different basic editor actions.

  • In the Settings/Preferences dialog (Ctrl+Alt+S), go to Editor | General | Smart keys


    For example, for SQL or Python, you can select the Jump outside closing bracket/quote with Tab option to enable navigation outside the closing brackets or quotes with Tab when you type your code.

Last modified: 24 July 2019