IntelliJ IDEA 2023.1 Help

Run/debug configurations

IntelliJ IDEA uses run/debug configurations to run, debug, and test your code. Each configuration is a named set of startup properties that define what to execute and what parameters and environment should be used.

There are two types of run/debug configurations:

  • Temporary — created every time you are running a class that does not have a permanent configuration. It provides the bare minimum that allows a class with the main() method to run.

  • Permanent — created explicitly from a template or by saving a temporary configuration. Permanent configurations remain as part of your project until you remove them.

So whenever you run/debug or test your code, IntelliJ IDEA either uses an existing permanent run/debug configuration or creates a new temporary one.

Permanent configurations have opaque icons while the icons of temporary configurations are semi-transparent.

Permanent and temporary configurations have different icons

The maximum number of temporary configurations is 5. The older ones are automatically deleted when new ones are added. If necessary, you can increase this limit in Settings | Advanced Settings | Run/Debug | Temporary configurations limit.

Create permanent run/debug configurations

IntelliJ IDEA provides the following ways to create a permanent run/debug configuration:

Create a permanent run/debug configuration from an executable method or class

  1. Place the caret at the declaration of an executable method or class (for example a class with the main() method or a test suite) and press Alt+Enter. IntelliJ IDEA creates a permanent run/debug configuration of the corresponding type.

    Create run configuration for a class
  2. Set up the run/debug configuration parameters. For the detailed description of the template, see List of run/debug configurations.

Save a temporary configuration as permanent

  • Select a temporary configuration in the run/debug configuration switcher and then click Save Configuration.

    Save a temporary run configuration
  • Alternatively, select a temporary configuration in the Run/debug configurations dialog and click Save on the toolbar.

IntelliJ IDEA provides run/debug configuration templates for different languages, tools, and frameworks. The list of available templates varies depending on the installed and enabled plugins.

Create a run/debug configuration from a template

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

    Run/Debug Configurations popup
  2. In the Run/Debug Configuration dialog, click App general add on the toolbar or press Alt+Insert. The list shows the run/debug configuration templates. Select Application.

    Selecting a new run/debug configuration template
  3. Specify the run/debug configuration name in the Name field. This name will be shown in the list of the available run/debug configurations.

  4. In the Build and run section, specify the parameters listed below. To access the fields using keyboard, hold Alt and use the shortcut according to the hints that appear.

    • JDK or JRE – the JDK or JRE that will be used for running your program.

    • Main class – the main class defines the entry point of your application. The main class must contain the public static void main(String[] args) method.

    • Program arguments – the command-line arguments to be passed to your application. At runtime, they will be available as strings in the args array. If an argument has spaces inside, enclose it in double quotes, for example: arg1 arg2 "long argument".

  5. If you want to fine-tune the way your application should be launched, click Modify options to access more advanced run/debug configuration features. When you select an item, it is added to the dialog. Similarly, you can remove unused options.

    The following options are available:

    • Allow multiple instances – select if you want to allow multiple instances of this program to run at the same time. If this option is disabled, attempting to re-run the application will terminate the active session.

    • Environment variables – specify the environment variables for the process as key-value pairs and separate them with semicolons, for example, HOME=/home/me.user;MY_APP_DATA=/home/me.user/appdata. You can override system variables as well as define your custom ones.

      To manage environment variables in a separate dialog with a table, the Edit environment variables icon.

    • Redirect input – allows you to take program input from a file instead of the console.

    • Do not build before run – select to run the program straight away without launching the build process.

    • Add VM options – specify the VM options for running the application. Options are separated using spaces. If an option has spaces inside, enclose it in double quotes. If double quotes is a part of an option, escape them using backslash, for example, -Dsome_option=\"value\". Also, you can pass environment variables to an option, for example, -Dsome_option=${ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE}.

    • Use classpath of module – the module whose classpath will be used. The classpath specified in VM options takes precedence over this one.

    • Shorten command line – specifies the command line shortener. Use this option when the program wouldn't launch because the classpath exceeds the limit imposed by the OS. You can pass the classpath to a temporary JAR, a text file, or use the default from idea/workspace.xml (for legacy projects).

    • Logs – for information on setting up logging, refer to View logs.

    • Code Coverage options – for information on setting up coverage, refer to Configure coverage.

    • Before launch – define whether you want to perform any specific actions before launching the application, for example, compile the modified sources or run an Ant or Maven script.

  6. Apply the changes and close the dialog.

Share run/debug configurations

If you are working in a team, you might want to share your run/debug configurations so that your teammates could run the application using the same configuration or enable them to remotely attach to the process you are running.

For these purposes, IntelliJ IDEA provides a mechanism to store your run/debug configurations as project files and share them through VCS. The same mechanism can also be used when you want to send your configuration as a file to someone else. This saves a lot of time as run/debug configurations sometimes get sophisticated, and keeping them in sync manually would be tedious and error-prone.

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

    Run/Debug Configurations popup
  2. Select the run/debug configuration you want to share, enable the Store as project file option, and specify the location where the configuration file will be stored.

    If compatibility with IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3 and earlier is required, store the file in the default location.

    Store as project file box
  3. (Optional) If the .idea directory is added to VCS ignored files, the .idea/runConfigurations subfolder will be ignored, too. If you use Git for your project, you can share .idea/runConfigurations only and leave .idea ignored by modifying .gitignore as follows:

    /.idea/* !/.idea/runConfigurations

Run/debug configuration templates

All run/debug configurations are based on templates, which implement the startup logic, define the list of parameters and their default values. The list of available templates is predefined in the installation and can only be extended via plugins. However, you can edit default parameter values in each template to streamline the setup of new run/debug configurations.

Configure the default values for a template

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

    Run/Debug Configurations popup
  2. In the left-hand pane of the run/debug configuration dialog, click Edit configuration templates….

    Run/Debug templates
  3. In the Run/Debug Configuration Templates dialog that opens, select a configuration type.

    Run/Debug templates
  4. Specify the desired default parameters and click OK to save the template.

Run/debug configuration folders

When there are many run/debug configurations of the same type, you can group them in folders so they become easier to distinguish visually.

Once grouped, the run/debug configurations appear in the list under the corresponding folders.

Rc folders

Create a folder for run/debug configurations

  1. From the main menu, select Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, press Alt+Shift+F10, then 0.

    Run/Debug Configurations popup
  2. In the Run/Debug Configurations dialog, select a configuration type and click the New Folder icon on the toolbar. A new empty folder for the selected type is created.

    Rc create folder
  3. Specify the folder name in the text field to the right or accept the default name.

  4. Select the desired run/debug configurations and move them under the target folder.

  5. Apply the changes. If a folder is empty, it will not be saved.

When you no longer need a folder, you can delete it Delete. The run/debug configurations grouped under this folder will be moved under the root of the corresponding run/debug configuration type.

Last modified: 02 June 2023