IntelliJ IDEA 2017.3 Help

Tuning IntelliJ IDEA

In this part:

Changing IntelliJ IDEA properties

IntelliJ IDEA makes it possible to change the *.vmoptions and the idea.properties files without editing them in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder.

To create an empty idea.properties file or to copy the *.vmoptions file, choose Help | Edit Custom Properties... or Help | Edit Custom VM Options... from the main menu respectively.

Managing the *.vmoptions file

The location of the *.vmoptions file depends on your operating system:

  • For Windows: <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea.exe.vmoptions or <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea64.exe.vmoptions
  • For *NIX: <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea.vmoptions or <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea64.vmoptions
  • For macOS, you need to make a copy of the idea.vmoptions file in the IDE preferences folder and then edit this copy. The reason is that the app bundle is signed and you should not modify any files inside the bundle.

To avoid editing files in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder, do one of the following:

  • From the main menu, choose Help | Edit Custom VM Options to create a copy of the idea.vmoptions file in the user home directory.
  • Copy the existing file from the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder somewhere and save the path to this location in the IDEA_VM_OPTIONS environment variable (IDEA64_VM_OPTIONS for 64 bit systems).
  • Copy the existing <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea.exe.vmoptions or the <IntelliJ IDEA installation folder>/bin/idea64.exe.vmoptions file from the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder into your user home directory.

Then edit this file in the new location.

If the IDEA_VM_OPTIONS (IDEA64_VM_OPTIONS for 64 bit systems) environment variable is defined, or the *.vmoptions file exists, this file is used instead of the one located in the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder.

Example: Increasing the heap size

To increase IntelliJ IDEA heap size, you should copy the original idea.vmoptions file to the above-mentioned location, and then modify the -Xmx setting.

Managing the idea.properties file

The idea.properties file located in the bin directory of the IntelliJ IDEA installation folder should not be edited. Instead of editing the original idea.properties file, create an idea.properties file in the following location, open it for editing and add the required properties:

  • For Windows: %\USERPROFILE%\\.IntelliJIdeaXX\config or %\USERPROFILE%\\.IdeaICXX\config
  • For *NIX: ~/.IntelliJIdeaXX/config or ~/.IdeaICXX/config
  • For macOS: ~/Library/Preferences/IntelliJIdeaXX/config or ~/Library/Preferences/IdeaICXX/config

To open the idea.properties file in the editor, choose Help | Edit Custom Properties. If the file does not exist yet, IntelliJ IDEA creates it and opens in the editor.

Example: Changing the 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 idea.native2ascii.lowercase system property. By default, upper-case characters are used.

If you wish to use lower-case characters, create the idea.properties file in the location specified above, open it for editing and add the following line:

idea.native2ascii.lowercase=true

Specifying custom JDK, properties, or vmoptions files across platforms

A custom JDK, as well as *.properties and *.vmoptions files are specified across platforms in a unified way.

All launchers look at the following environment variables:

  • $<IDE-NAME>_JDK (<IDE-NAME>_JDK_64)
  • $<IDE-NAME>_PROPERTIES
  • $<IDE-NAME>_VM_OPTIONS
Last modified: 11 October 2017

See Also