IntelliJ IDEA 2016.1 Help

Installing and Launching

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IntelliJ IDEA editions

There are two IntelliJ IDEA editions: Community and Ultimate.

The Community Edition is free and open source but has less features. The Ultimate Edition is commercial but provides an outstanding set of tools and features. (You can evaluate IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate for free for 30 days.)

For more information, see feature-by-feature Editions comparison matrix.

Downloading and installing IntelliJ IDEA

You can download the latest version of IntelliJ IDEA from the JetBrains website. (There are the versions for Windows, OS X and Linux.)

Earlier versions are available on the Previous IntelliJ IDEA Releases page.

Depending on your operating system:

  • Windows: Run the .exe file and follow the instructions of IntelliJ IDEA Setup wizard.
  • OS X: Open the .dmg package, and drag IntelliJ IDEA to the Applications folder.
  • Linux: Unpack the .tar.gz archive into any directory within your home directory.

Refer to the section Starting IntelliJ IDEA on the various platforms for details.

Starting IntelliJ IDEA on the various platforms

Starting IntelliJ IDEA on Windows

If during the installation you selected to create a shortcut on your desktop, double-click that shortcut.

Otherwise, go to the <IntelliJ IDEA>\bin folder (e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\JetBrains\IntelliJ IDEA 14.0.2\bin) and run idea.exe or idea.bat.

See also, Importing IntelliJ IDEA usage preferences from a previous version.

Starting IntelliJ IDEA on OS X

If you are using the versions of Java over 6, then note that Java version specified in the file takes precedence over that specified in info.plist. If you want to change the Java version without modifying the file info.plist, you can just change the value of JVMVersion property as required, for example, JVMVersion = 1.6+.

Thus the entire procedure is:

  1. Make sure that you have an appropriate version of Java (JRE or JDK) installed. This may be Java 6 from Apple, or Java 7 or a later version from Oracle.

    (You can try to start IntelliJ IDEA right away. If there is no Java on your computer, IntelliJ IDEA will notify you about that.)

  2. If necessary, do the following:
    1. Copy the file from /Applications/IntelliJ IDEA<version>.app/Contents/bin to ~/Library/Preferences/IntelliJ IDEA<version>
    2. Open ~/Library/Preferences/IntelliJ IDEA<version>/ for editing.
    3. Change JVMVersion=1.6* to JVMVersion=1.6+.
    4. Save and close the file.

    Note that the default value is JVMVersion=1.6+.

  3. Go to your /Applications folder and run the IntelliJ IDEA application.

See also, Importing IntelliJ IDEA usage preferences from a previous version.

Starting IntelliJ IDEA on Linux

Before you start

Make sure that you have an Oracle JRE or JDK version 6 or later installed on your computer. Refer to the section Installing Oracle JDK.

Launching IntelliJ IDEA

To launch IntelliJ IDEA on Linux, follow these steps:

  1. Download the ideaIC or ideaIU-*.tar.gz file from the Download page.
  2. Unpack the ideaIC or ideaIU-*.tar.gz file to an empty directory using the following command:
    tar xfz ideaIC or ideaIU-*.tar.gz
  3. Because running IntelliJ IDEA from wherever you downloaded the file to may be inconvenient, it is recommended that you move the extracted or unpacked archive folder to the desired location using the mv command in one of the following formats:
    • mv <path to extracted archive folder> <new archive folder>
      For example:
      mv /downloads/ideaIC or ideaIU-* my/desired/location
    • mv <path to ideaIC or ideaIU-*.tar.gz> <new archive folder>
      For example:
      mv /downloads/ideaIC or ideaIU-*.tar.gz my/desired/location
  4. Switch to the bin directory in the new location:
    cd <new archive folder>/ideaIC or ideaIU-*/bin
    For example,
    cd my/desired/location/ideaIC or ideaIU-*/bin
  5. Run ideaIC or from the bin subdirectory.

Additional launchers

Additionally, you can create a desktop shortcut and a command-line launcher, and use them to start IntelliJ IDEA:

See also, Importing IntelliJ IDEA usage preferences from a previous version.

Creating a desktop shortcut

To create a desktop shortcut for IntelliJ IDEA, use the Create Desktop Entry command. This command is available:

  • In the Customize IntelliJ IDEA wizard - when you run IntelliJ IDEA for the first time.
  • On the Welcome screen: Configure | Create Desktop Entry.
  • In the main menu: Tools | Create Desktop Entry.

You can choose to create the shortcut:

  • For all of your computer users: In this case, the jetbrains-idea.desktop entry file is created in /usr/share/applications.
  • Only for yourself: The jetbrains-idea.desktop entry file is created in ~/.gnome/apps and ~/.local/share/applications.

Importing IntelliJ IDEA usage preferences from a previous version

When you start IntelliJ IDEA for the first time, the Complete Installation dialog opens, and you have an option of importing IntelliJ IDEA usage preferences and license information from a previous version.


Select one of the following options and click OK.

  • I want to import my settings from a previous version (<path>). If this option is present in the dialog, the directory that contains the IntelliJ IDEA settings and license information is found at its default location. (The corresponding path is shown within the option name in parentheses.) Most likely, this is the option that you want.
  • I want to import my settings from a custom location. You may have the directory with the settings and license information available but not at its default location. If the option discussed above is missing, IntelliJ IDEA doesn't know where this directory is; the path initially shown in the field is just a guess, and there's no guarantee that the necessary folder is really there. To import the settings in this case, you can specify the folder with the settings (if you know where it is) , or an installation folder of the previous IntelliJ IDEA version. To do that, click browseButtonOneDot and select the folder in the dialog that opens .
  • I do not have a previous version of IntelliJ IDEA or I do not want to import my settings. If this is your case, select this option.

See also, Running IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate for the First Time and Exporting and Importing Settings.

For Eclipse and NetBeans users

Your transition to IntelliJ IDEA may be easier, if you look at these pages:

See Also

Last modified: 13 July 2016