IntelliJ IDEA 2023.3 Help

Command-line interface

Use IntelliJ IDEA features from the command line: open files and projects, view diffs, merge files, apply code style, formatting, and inspect the source code.

Launcher for a standalone instance

The installation directory contains batch scripts and executables for launching IntelliJ IDEA, formatting the source code, and running inspections. To use them from the Command Prompt cmd.exe, add the location of the IntelliJ IDEA bin folder to the PATH environment variable. For example, if you installed IntelliJ IDEA to C:\Program Files\JetBrains\IntelliJ IDEA, you can use the following command:

set PATH=%\PATH%;C:\Program Files\JetBrains\IntelliJ IDEA\bin

This command changes the PATH environment variable for the current shell only (the current instance of cmd.exe). If you want to update it permanently for the current user, run setx:

setx PATH "%\PATH%;C:\Program Files\JetBrains\IntelliJ IDEA\bin"

To update it system-wide for all users, run setx /M instead of setx.

After you configure the PATH variable, you can run the executable from any working directory in the Command Prompt:

idea64.exe

Alternatively, you can use the batch script:

idea.bat

To run IntelliJ IDEA from the shell, use the open command with the following options:

-a

Specify the application.

-n

Open a new instance of the application even if one is already running.

--args

Specify additional arguments to pass to the application.

For example, you can run IntelliJ IDEA.app with the following command:

open -na "IntelliJ IDEA.app"

You can create a shell script with this command in a directory from your PATH environment variable. For example, create the file /usr/local/bin/idea with the following contents:

#!/bin/sh open -na "IntelliJ IDEA.app" --args "$@"

Make sure you have permissions to execute the script and since /usr/local/bin should be in the PATH environment variable by default, you should be able to run idea from anywhere in the shell.

If you do not have permissions to execute the script, run the following:

chmod +x /usr/local/bin/idea

On Linux, the installation directory contains the launcher shell script idea.sh under bin. For example, if you installed IntelliJ IDEA to /opt/idea, you can run the script using the following command:

/opt/idea/bin/idea.sh

You can create a symbolic link to the launcher script in a directory from the PATH environment variable. For example, if you want to create a link named idea in /usr/local/bin, run the following command:

ln -s /opt/idea/bin/idea.sh /usr/local/bin/idea

Since /usr/local/bin should be in the PATH environment variable by default, you should be able to run the idea command from anywhere in the shell.

If you installed IntelliJ IDEA as a snap package, you can use the corresponding launcher: intellij-idea-ultimate or intellij-idea-community.

Shell scripts generated by the Toolbox App

If you are using the Toolbox App to install and manage JetBrains products, you can use shell scripts for launching your IDEs from the command line.

Toolbox App generates shell scripts automatically and places them to the following folders:

%\LOCALAPPDATA%\JetBrains\Toolbox\scripts

By default, the Toolbox App puts shell scripts in a directory from the system PATH environment variable, so you can run the name of the script as a command to launch IntelliJ IDEA from any working directory.

Change shell scripts location

  1. Open the Toolbox App, click the Toolbox App menu icon in the top right corner, and select Settings.

    Toolbox App menu icon
  2. On the Settings tab, expand the Tools section, and specify another folder in the Shell scripts location field.

    Changing location of shell scripts

Rename shell scripts

If you have several versions of the same IDE, the Toolbox App generates a shell script for each version with a unique name. You can change the name of the shell script for an IDE instance in the settings for this specific instance.

  1. Open the Toolbox App.

  2. Click Tool actions next to an IDE instance and select Settings.

  3. At the bottom of the Configuration section, change the Shell script name field.

Toolbox App IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Settings
/usr/local/bin

or

~/Library/Application Support/JetBrains/Toolbox/scripts

By default, the Toolbox App puts shell scripts in a directory from the system PATH environment variable, so you can run the name of the script as a command to launch IntelliJ IDEA from any working directory.

Change shell scripts location

  1. Open the Toolbox App, click the Toolbox App menu icon in the top right corner, and select Settings.

    Toolbox App menu icon
  2. On the Settings tab, expand the Tools section, and specify another folder in the Shell scripts location field.

    Changing location of shell scripts

Rename shell scripts

If you have several versions of the same IDE, the Toolbox App generates a shell script for each version with a unique name. You can change the name of the shell script for an IDE instance in the settings for this specific instance.

  1. Open the Toolbox App.

  2. Click Tool actions next to an IDE instance and select Settings.

  3. At the bottom of the Configuration section, change the Shell script name field.

Toolbox App IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Settings
~/.local/share/JetBrains/Toolbox/scripts

By default, the Toolbox App puts shell scripts in a directory from the system PATH environment variable, so you can run the name of the script as a command to launch IntelliJ IDEA from any working directory.

Change shell scripts location

  1. Open the Toolbox App, click the Toolbox App menu icon in the top right corner, and select Settings.

    Toolbox App menu icon
  2. On the Settings tab, expand the Tools section, and specify another folder in the Shell scripts location field.

    Changing location of shell scripts

Rename shell scripts

If you have several versions of the same IDE, the Toolbox App generates a shell script for each version with a unique name. You can change the name of the shell script for an IDE instance in the settings for this specific instance.

  1. Open the Toolbox App.

  2. Click Tool actions next to an IDE instance and select Settings.

  3. At the bottom of the Configuration section, change the Shell script name field.

Toolbox App IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Settings

Command-line arguments

The launcher script accepts commands, options, and other arguments to modify its behavior. Without any arguments, the script launches IntelliJ IDEA. If you specify the path to a file or directory, IntelliJ IDEA will open the specified file or directory. For more information, refer to Open files from the command line.

Commands

diff

Open the diff viewer to see the differences between two specified files.

For more information, refer to Compare files from the command line.

merge

Open the Merge dialog to merge the specified files.

For more information, refer to Merge files from the command line.

format

Apply code style formatting to the specified files.

For more information, refer toFormat files from the command line.

inspect

Perform code inspection on the specified project.

For more information, refer to Run code inspections from the command line.

installPlugins

Install plugins by plugin ID from the JetBrains Marketplace or a custom plugin repository.

For more information, refer to Install plugins from the command line.

Options

nosplash

Do not show the splash screen when loading IntelliJ IDEA.

dontReopenProjects

Do not reopen projects and show the welcome screen. This can help if a project that was open crashes IntelliJ IDEA.

disableNonBundledPlugins

Do not load manually installed plugins. This can help if a plugin that you installed crashes IntelliJ IDEA. You will be able to start the IDE and either disable or uninstall the problematic plugin.

--wait

Wait for the files to be closed before returning to the command prompt.

For example, you can open file.txt with the following command:

idea --wait file.txt

The shell will be waiting until file.txt is closed.

Last modified: 22 February 2024