IntelliJ IDEA 2017.1 Help

Extract Method


When the Extract Method refactoring is invoked , IntelliJ IDEA analyses the selected block of code and detects variables that are the input for the selected code fragment and the variables that are output for it.

If there is exactly one output variable, it is used as a return value for the extracted method. In case there are multiple output variables, the Extract Method refactoring may not be applied, and the error message appears.

There are several workarounds to allow Extract Method work in this case. For example, you may introduce a special data-class that contains all output values.

Java example

public void method() { int a=1; int b=2; int c=a+b; int d=a+c;
public void method() { int a=1; int b=2; int c=add(a,b); int d=add(a,c); } ... private int add(int a, int b) { return a+b; }
public ArrayList method() { String[] strings = {"a","b","c"}; ArrayList list = new ArrayList(); for (int i=0; i < strings.length; i++) {list.add(strings[i]);} return list;
public ArrayList method() { String[] strings = {"a","ab","abc"}; ArrayList list=add(strings); return list; } private ArrayList add(String[] strings) { ArrayList list = new ArrayList(); for (int i=0; i < strings.length; i++) {list.add(strings[i]);} return list; }
function MyFunction(a,b) { c = a + b; d = c * c; return d; }
function Sum(a,b) { return a + b; } function MyFunction(a,b) { c = sum(a,b); d = c * c; return d; }

Extracting a method

To extract a method, follow these steps

  1. In the editor, select a block of code to be transformed into a method or a function.
  2. On the main menu or on the context menu of the selection, choose Refactor | Extract | Method or press Ctrl+Alt+M.
  3. In the Extract Method dialog box that opens, specify the name of the new function.
  4. To create a static method, select the Declare Static check box.
  5. In the Parameters area, do the following:
    • Specify the variables to be passed as method parameters, by selecting/clearing the corresponding check boxes.

      If a parameter is disabled, a local variable of the corresponding type, with the initial value ... will be created in the extracted method, so that you will have to enter the initializer with an appropriate value manually.

    • Rename the desired parameters, by double-clicking the corresponding parameter lines and entering new names.
  6. In the Visibility area define the method's visibility scope.
  7. Check the result in the Signature Preview pane and click OK to create the method. The selected code fragment will be replaced with a method call. Additionally, IntelliJ IDEA will propose to replace any similar code fragments found within the current class.

Processing duplicates

IntelliJ IDEA detects the duplicated code fragments that may accept different values as parameters and shows the following suggestion in the format of the Defferences Viewer:


If you click the button Accept Signature Change, all the encountered duplicates will become highlighted, and IntelliJ IDEA will ask you for the confirmation:


Finally, after replacing the desired duplicates with the method call, you'll end up with the following code:


You can also extract methods from the repetitive code fragments, which IntelliJ IDEA finds in course of the duplicates analysis. The encountered duplicates display in the Duplicates tool window, where you can try to replace them with method calls.

See Also

Last modified: 18 July 2017