IntelliJ IDEA 2020.2 Help

File templates

File templates are specifications of the default contents to be generated when creating a new file. Depending on the type of file you are creating, templates provide initial code and formatting that is expected to be in all files of that type (according to industry standards, your corporate policy, or for other reasons).

IntelliJ IDEA provides predefined templates for all supported file types, which are suggested when you are creating a new file (Ctrl+Alt+Insert). The set of suggested file types depends on the module and configuration, as well as the properties of your current location in the Project tool window. For example, IntelliJ IDEA will not suggest creating a Java class file outside of the Java source or test directories (for more information, see Content roots) .

File templates are managed on the Editor | File and Code Templates page of the Settings/Preferences Ctrl+Alt+S. This settings page can be configured in one of two scopes:

  • The Default scope controls templates that pertain to the entire workspace. They are stored in the IDE configuration directory under fileTemplates.

  • The Project scope controls templates on a per-project basis. They are stored in the project folder under .idea/fileTemplates. These templates can be shared among team members.

By default, the list of templates contains only predefined templates provided by IntelliJ IDEA. Some of them are internal, which means they cannot be deleted or renamed. The names of internal templates are shown in bold. The names of templates that you modified, as well as custom templates that you created manually, are shown in blue.

IntelliJ IDEA uses several types of templates, separated into the following tabs:

  • The Files tab contains file templates that can be used for creating new files.

  • The Includes tab contains templates of reusable content that can be inserted into file templates (for example, headers).

  • The Code tab contains internal templates for code fragments (snippets) used by IntelliJ IDEA for generating various constructs. You can edit the available snippets on this tab, but you cannot create new ones.

    To create custom code snippets, use Live templates.

  • The Other tab contains templates used by various application servers and frameworks. You can edit existing built-in templates on this tab, but not create new ones.

The following procedures describe how to create file templates. Similar procedures can be used for creating include templates.

Create a new file template

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, select Editor | File and Code Templates.

  2. On the Files tab, click the Create Template button and specify the name, file extension, and body of the template.

  3. Apply the changes and close the dialog.

Copy an existing file template

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, select Editor | File and Code Templates.

  2. On the Files tab, click the Copy Template button and modify the name, file extension, and body of the template as necessary.

  3. Apply the changes and close the dialog.

Save a file as a template

  1. Open a file in the editor.

  2. Choose Tools | Save File as Template from the menu.

  3. In the Save File as Template dialog that opens, specify the new template name and edit the body, if necessary.

  4. Apply the changes and close the dialog.


File and code templates are written in the Velocity Template Language (VTL), which lets you use the following constructs:

  • Fixed text (markup, code, comments, and so on), which is rendered as-is.

  • Variables, which are replaced by their values.

  • Various directives, including #parse, #set, #if, and others.

Fore more information, see the VTL reference guide.

The following example shows the default template for creating a Java class in IntelliJ IDEA:

#if (${PACKAGE_NAME} != "")package ${PACKAGE_NAME};#end #parse("File") public class ${NAME} { }

In this template:

  • The #if directive is used to check whether the package name is not empty, and if so, add the name to the package statement passed as the ${PACKAGE_NAME} variable.

  • The #parse directive is used to insert the contents of another template named File

  • Then the template declares a public class with the name passed as the ${NAME} variable (name of the new file).

When you create a new Java file, this template generates a file with contents similar to the following:

package demo; /** * Created by IntelliJ IDEA. * User: John.Smith * Date: 6/1/11 * Time: 12:54 PM * To change this template use File | Settings | File and Code Templates. */ public class Demo { }
Last modified: 14 September 2020