PhpStorm 2017.1 Help

Debug Tool Window. Variables

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The Variables pane enables you to examine the values stored in the objects of your application.

When a stack frame is selected in the Frames pane, the Variables pane displays all data within its scope (method parameters, local and instance variables). In this pane, you can set labels for objects, inspect objects, evaluate expressions, add variables to watches and more.

User-defined constants are grouped under a separate Constants node which is by default collapsed. Once expanded or collapsed, the Constants node preserves this state across the debugging sessions. This means that is you expand or collapse the node, stop or complete the current debugging session, and then start a new one, the node is shown as it was during the previous debugging session, that is, expanded or collapsed respectively.


This toolbar appears only when the Watches pane is hidden so the configured watches are displayed in the Variables pane. Hiding/showing the Watches pane is controlled through the /help/img/idea/2017.1/show-watches.png toggle button:

  • When the button is pressed, which is its default status, the Watches pane is hidden and the toolbar is shown in the Variables pane. So doing, the focus is with the Debugger tab.
  • When the button is released, the toolbar moves to the Watches pane.

addAlt+InsertClick this button to create a new watch.
deleteAlt+DeleteClick this button to remove the selected watch from the list.
/help/img/idea/2017.1/arrowUp.png/help/img/idea/2017.1/arrowDown.pngAlt+UpAlt+DownUse these buttons to change the order of watches.
/help/img/idea/2017.1/copy.gifCtrl+DUse this button to create a copy of the selected watch.
/help/img/idea/2017.1/show-watches.pngShow watches in Variables tab Use this toggle button to have the Watches pane hidden or shown. By default, the button is pressed and displayed on the toolbar of the Variables pane. Consequently, the Watches pane is hidden and the watches are shown in the Variables pane.
  • To have the Watches pane displayed separately and view the configured watches in it, release the Show watches in Variables tab toggle button. The Watches pane appears with the Show watches in Variables tab toggle button on the toolbar.
  • To hide the Watches pane and view the watches in the Variables pane, press the /help/img/idea/2017.1/show-watches.png toggle-button on the toolbar of the Watches pane. The toggle button returns to the default location on the toolbar of the Variables pane.

Context menu

InspectN/AThis command is available for fields, local variables and reference expressions, and opens a non-modal Inspection window, where you can concentrate on a particular reference. You can open as many Inspection windows as required. The view in the Inspection window is the same as in the Watches pane, but requires less screen space.
Mark ObjectF11Use this command to add an object label.
Set ValueF2Use this command to change the runtime value of a field or a variable.
Copy ValueCtrl+CUse this command to copy the value of the selected variable to the Clipboard. If multiple items are selected, not only variables' values, but also their structure is copied, so that when you copy-paste the selection to a text file, the indentation mimics the tree output of the debugger to produce an easy-to-read output.

Alternatively, hover your mouse cursor over a value and view its contents in the tooltip.

Copy Value AsN/AThis menu item is available only in the PHP context.

Choose this command to copy the selected variable to the Clipboard in one of the following formats:

Copy JSONThis menu item is available only in the JavaScript context. Choose this command to copy the selected value in the JSON format.
Compare Value with ClipboardN/AUse this command to compare the selected value with the value currently in the Clipboard.
Copy NameN/AUse this command to copy the name of the selected variable to the Clipboard.
/help/img/idea/2017.1/evaluateExpressionIcon.pngEvaluate ExpressionAlt+F8Use this command to evaluate the selected variable in the dialog that opens.
Evaluate In ConsoleN/AThe option is available in the JavaScript context only.

Choose this option to have the selected variable copied as input in the Console pane. When you switch to the Console pane, the variable name is shown in green at > and its value is displayed below in blue.

Alternatively you can type the name of any variable at > in the Console manually and press Enter to have its value displayed. Code completion is at your disposal: as you type the name of a variable, PhpStorm displays a suggestion list. Note that this functionality is available only when the Use Console Input toggle button is pressed.

To evaluate a previously evaluated variable without searching for it in the Variables pane, find the variable in question using the Up and Down arrows on you keyboard and press Enter.

/help/img/idea/2017.1/watches-add.pngAdd to WatchesN/AThis command is available for all nodes except static ones. Use this command to create an expression that references the node and add this expression to the Watches pane.
Show Referring ObjectsN/AUse this command to display a list of objects referring to the currently selected variable.
Jump to SourceF4This command opens the source code of the selected variable or field in the editor and places the caret in the corresponding line.
Jump to Type SourceShift+F4 Use this command to navigate to the definition of the class of the selected variable or field. Suppose, you have $my_car = new Car();. If you select $my_car in the Variables pane, then choosing Jump To Source will bring you to $my_car = new Car(); while choosing Jump To Type Source will bring you to class Car().

Variable types

The icon on the left of each variable indicates its type:
  • 1_debuggerStatic.png: static
  • /help/img/idea/2017.1/global_variable.png: global
  • 1_debuggerField.png: field
  • 1_debuggerArray.png: array
  • 1_debuggerPrimitive.png: primitive
  • 1_debuggerObject.png: object

See Also

Last modified: 19 July 2017