Sometimes you may need to create temporary notes or draft up some code outside the project context. Instead of switching to a different application, you can use scratch files and scratch buffers.
Scratch files support syntax highlighting for the corresponding file type, and you can use them to draft any code instances, from C/C++ constructs to JSON documents. For example, while working on one project, you may come up with an idea for a method that you could later use in another project. You can create a scratch file with a draft of the method, which is not stored in your project directory but can be accessed and opened from another project.
Scratch buffers are simple text files without any coding assistance features. Scratch buffers can be used for simple task lists and notes to yourself. They are also not stored in the project directory and can be opened from any other project. You can create up to five scratch buffers with default names, which are rotated and reused by clearing the content.
Create a scratch file
From the main menu, selector press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Insert.
Select the language of the scratch file. Scratch files of the same type are automatically numbered and added to the Scratches and Consoles directory of the Project view.
Alternatively, you can create a new scratch file with the contents of the current selection in the editor. Select some text or code, press Alt+Enter and then select Create new scratch file from selection. CLion will attempt to detect the language of the selected fragment and use the appropriate type and extension. If it can't detect the language of the selection, CLion will create the file with the same type and extension as the original file.
CLion numbers scratch files sequentially starting from 1. If you close a tab with an empty scratch file, CLion deletes it.
Create a scratch buffer
There is no dedicated menu item for the action to create a new scratch buffer, but you can use the Find Action popup Ctrl+Shift+A and run the New Scratch Buffer action.
You can also add a shortcut for the New Scratch Buffer action as described in Keyboard shortcuts.
CLion creates a text file named buffer1.txt. The next scratch buffer you create is named buffer2.txt, and so on up to buffer5.txt. When CLion reaches that limit, it will recreate buffer1.txt and suggest clearing the content for it. If you want to make sure CLion does not clear the scratch buffer after you have five, you can rename it.
View all scratch files and buffers
Open the Project view and expand.
Use the Find Action popup Ctrl+Shift+A to invoke the Show Scratch Files action and view all available scratch files in a popup:
Location of scratch files and buffers
By default, CLion stores scratch files and buffers in the IDE configuration directory under scratches. They are available from any IDE and project that uses this configuration directory.
To change the location of the Scratches and Consoles directory, use the
idea.scratch.path platform property. To change the location of just the Scratches directory, use the
idea.scratch.path/scratches platform property. For more information, see Advanced configuration.
Include a scratch file into your project
If a scratch file grows into something that you want to use in your project, move it into the desired directory of your project structure.
Open a scratch file in the editor or select it under thedirectory in the Project view, press F6, and select the target directory in your project.
Drag a scratch file from thedirectory in the Project view to the target directory in your project.
Select a scratch file in thedirectory in the Project view and press Ctrl+X, then select the target directory in your project and press Ctrl+V.
Change the language of a scratch file or buffer
In the Project tool window, open the .
Right-click a scratch file or buffer and then click Change Language.
Select the desired language. You can start typing the name of the language to narrow down the list.
View documentation for scratches
Select any scratch file or buffer in the Project tool window and press Ctrl+Q to view quick documentation with the location, type, size, creation and modification date of the file.