PhpStorm 2020.2 Help

Sass, Less, and SCSS

PhpStorm integrates with compilers that translate Sass, Less, and SCSS code into CSS. To use a compiler in PhpStorm, you need to configure it as a File Watcher based on the relevant predefined template.

Before you start

  1. Make sure you have Node.js on your computer.

  2. Make sure the File Watchers and Less or Sass bundled plugins are enabled on the Settings/Preferences | Plugins page, see Managing plugins for details.

Installing Sass/SCSS

  • In the embedded Terminal (Alt+F12) , type:

    npm install -g sass

    Learn more from the Sass official website.

Installing Less

  • In the embedded Terminal (Alt+F12) , type:

    npm install --global less

    Learn more from the Less official website.

You can also install the less package on the Node.js and NPM page as described in npm and Yarn.

Compiling your code into CSS

To compile your code automatically, you need to configure a Sass, Less, or SCSS File Watcher which will track changes to your files and run the compiler.

When you open a file, PhpStorm checks whether an applicable File Watcher is available in the current project. If such File Watcher is configured but disabled, PhpStorm displays a popup that informs you about the configured File Watcher and suggests to enable it.

If an applicable File Watcher is configured and enabled in the current project, PhpStorm starts the compiler automatically upon the event specified in the New Watcher dialog.

  • If the Auto-save edited files to trigger the watcher checkbox is selected, the File Watcher is invoked as soon as any changes are made to the source code.

  • If the Auto-save edited files to trigger the watcher checkbox is cleared, the File Watcher is started upon save (File | Save All, Ctrl+S) or when you move focus from PhpStorm (upon frame deactivation).

Learn more from File Watchers.

PhpStorm creates a separate file with the generated output. The file has the name of the source Sass, Less, or SCSS file and the extension .css. The location of the generated files is defined in the Output paths to refresh field of the New Watcher dialog. However, in the Project Tree, they are shown under the source file which is now displayed as a node.

Create a File Watcher

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, click File Watchers under Tools. The File Watchers page that opens shows the list of already configured File Watchers.

  2. Click Add button or press Alt+Insert. Depending on the tool you are going to use, choose the Less, Sass, or SCSS predefined template from the list.

  3. In the Program field, specify the path to the compiler archive depending on the chosen predefined template.

    • lessc for Less.

    • sass for Sass/SCSS.

    If you followed the standard installation procedure with npm, PhpStorm locates the required files itself and fills in the field automatically. Otherwise, type the path manually or click the Browse button and choose the file location in the dialog that opens.

  4. Proceed as described in File Watchers.

Configuring syntax highlighting

You can configure Less/Sass/SCSS-aware syntax highlighting according to your preferences and habits.

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, go to Editor | Color Scheme | Less/Sass/SCSS.

  2. Select the color scheme, accept the highlighting settings inherited from defaults or customize them as described in Configuring colors and fonts.

Last modified: 23 June 2020