A scope is a subset of files, packages and/or directories in your project, to which you can limit the application of specific operations, for example search, code inspection, insertion of copyright notices, etc. Besides, you can configure coloring for each scope to see at once what sort of file you are dealing with.
Scopes get more helpful as your project grows larger. There is a number of predefined scopes that cover basic cases. Additionally, it is possible to add custom scopes to your project. For example, you can create custom scopes for tests or for the files you are responsible for in your team.
Types of scopes
Scopes can be either shared or local:
Local scopes are intended for personal use only and are stored in your workspace (.iws file in the file-based project format, or in the workspace.xml file under .idea in the directory-based format).
You can quickly share a local scope (or make a shared scope local) by using the Store as project file checkbox on the page of the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S. For more information on managing scopes, see Configuring Scopes and File Colors.
IntelliJ IDEA provides a special language that enables you to flexibly define the sets of entities included in a scope.
See Scope language syntax reference for details.
To create and edit scopes, use the Scopes page of the Settings/Preferences dialog.
Scopes are defined in the following modes:
Manually, by specifying file masks according to the scope language syntax in the Pattern field.
By selecting files and folders and clicking the buttons Include, Include Recursively, Exclude, and Exclude Recursively. Based on the inclusion/exclusion, IntelliJ IDEA creates an expression and displays it in the Pattern.
Refer to the section Configuring Scopes and File Colors.
To view the available scopes, click the (next to the Project header of the Project tool window.
Files that belong to different scopes can be highlighted in different colors throughout the IntelliJ IDEA's user interface: in navigation lists, in the editor tabs, in the Project tool window. This allows much faster and easier navigation in large projects.
If some file is included into several scopes, the order of the scopes becomes important: IntelliJ IDEA uses the color of the uppermost scope (shown in the Scopes settings page) to highlight such file. Of course, you can change the order of the scopes, and thus the resulted highlighting.
For detailed instructions on how to configure the scope order and scope-color associations, see Configuring Scopes and File Colors.
IntelliJ IDEA provides a number of predefined scopes, for example:
Problems. This scope includes the files within the project content roots in which syntactic errors are found.
Project and Libraries. This scope includes all the files within the project content roots, and also all module dependencies, libraries and SDKs.
In the Project tool window, this scope corresponds to the scope view All.
Project Production Files. This scope is similar to the Project Files scope. The difference is that the test source roots are not included. In the Project tool window, this scope corresponds to the scope view Production.
Project Test Files. This scope is limited to the project test source roots. In the Project tool window, this scope corresponds to the scope view Tests.
Non-Project Files. This scope is available only as a view in the Project tool window. It is limited to module dependencies (libraries and SDKs).
Changed Files. This scope corresponds to all changed files, that is, ones associated with all existing changelists.
Default. This scope corresponds to the files associated with the
<name>'. This scope corresponds to a list of favorite items with the specified name.
Open files.This scope corresponds to the files opened in IntelliJ IDEA editor.
Current file. This scope corresponds to the file currently active in IntelliJ IDEA editor.
Selected files. This scope corresponds to the files currently selected in IntelliJ IDEA (for example in the Project tool window).
Predefined scopes cannot be edited.