IntelliJ IDEA 2020.1 Help

Search for a target within a file

You can search for a text string in a currently opened file in the editor. Using different options, you can narrow your search process, use regular expressions in your search, and manage your search results.

Find the search string in a file

  1. Open your file in the editor.

  2. Press Ctrl+F or select Edit | Find | Find from the main menu.

  3. In the search field that opens, enter your search string. IntelliJ IDEA highlights the results of your search in the file. Alternatively, in the editor, highlight the string you want to find and press Ctrl+F. IntelliJ IDEA places the highlighted string into the search field.

    search string

Find in selection

You can search for a text string inside the multi-line selection.

  1. Select a multi-line fragment and press Ctrl+F.

  2. Enter your search string. IntelliJ IDEA will search for the target inside the selected fragment first.

    If you press Ctrl+F again, IntelliJ IDEA will switch the search process back to the whole file.

    If you want to search for the multi-line fragment itself, select it and press Ctrl+F twice.

    Multi-line selection search

Manage your search

IntelliJ IDEA lets you adjust your search process and perform various actions with the displayed search results.

  • If you want to see the list of previous searches, press ⌥↓ in the search field.

    search history
  • If you want to enter a multi-line string, click the Enter a new line icon in the search field for a new line.

  • With Regex checkbox selected, IntelliJ IDEA automatically escapes special regex symbols with backslash \ when you search for a text string that contains them.

    Escape regex symbols

    For more details on regex, refer to the search with regex documentation.

  • Use the Previous occurence and Next occurence arrows to navigate to the previous or the next occurrence.

  • Work with the list of occurrences Alt+F7 in the Find tool window, where you have other options, for example, to group your results or to open them in a separate window.

    Found Occurrences in the Find tool window
  • Click the Add selection for the next occurence or deselect the previous occurrence icon to add a selection of the next occurrence or deselect the previous occurrence Alt+J or Shift+Alt+J.

  • If you want to quickly replace the target of your search in the whole file, press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J and type a new string.

  • You can narrow your search when you select the Words, Match case checkboxes on the search pane, or click the filter filter icon to select a scope for your search.

  • You can press ⌥X (previously known as ⌥G) to quickly select or clear the Regex checkbox. You can use regular expressions to opt for more challenging searches.

  • Press Ctrl+F7 to see usages of any element in the opened file.

    If you don't want IntelliJ IDEA to highlight all found usages in the file, open the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S and on the Editor | General page clear the Highlight usages of element at caret option.

    Press Alt+F7 to search for usages beyond the current file or Ctrl+Alt+F7 to open the search results in a separate popup. If you need to configure some options before the search, press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F7 to open the Find Usages dialog.

Replace the search string in a file

  1. Press Ctrl+R to open the Replace in File window.

  2. In the top field, enter your search string. In the bottom field, enter your replacement string.

    Replace in file pane

    Click Multi-line for a multi-line replace. For example, if you want to replace a comma with a comma and a new line, enter a comma in the search field and a comma and the new line in the replace field.

  3. Click Replace to replace items one by one, Replace all to replace all items in your file, and Exclude to omit some items from replacing.

The options that appear in the Replace window, are similar to the Find window and you can refer to the manage the search results section.

Last modified: 15 April 2020