PyCharm 2020.1 Help

Scopes and file colors

A scope the Scope icon is a group of files and folders in a project. You can use scopes to visually distinguish project items in different IDE views and to limit the range of specific operations.

Scopes are designed to logically organize files in your project: test sources can go to the test-related scope, and production code can be associated with the scope of production files. These logical chunks make your project easier to manage. For example, running test-related inspections only in test classes takes less than if you run them in all files in your application.

PyCharm comes with a set of predefined scopes, but you can also create custom scopes. There, you can include any files and folders. For example, a custom scope can include only those files in the project for which you are responsible.

In PyCharm, scopes are used in code inspections, some refactorings, search, in copyright settings, in various features for code analysis, and so on.

There are 2 types of scopes: local and shared.

  • Local scopes are stored in the IDE configuration directory, that is why they are not shared through VCS and are not available to other members of your team.

  • Shared scopes are added to a VCS so that people who work on a project can use the same scopes. These scopes are stored together with the project in the scopes folder under .idea. Each scope is saved as a file with the .xml extension (for example: MyProject/.idea/scopes/shared-scope.xml).

Using shared scopes makes sense if your project is under version control. If you don't use a VCS, local scopes will be sufficient to cover your needs.

Define a new scope

In PyCharm, there's a set of predefined scopes, but you can also define your own scopes.

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, select Appearance & Behavior | Scopes.

  2. Click the Add Scope button and select what kind of scope you want to define: local or shared.

    You can change the state of the selected scope (local or shared) later using the Share through VCS checkbox.

  3. In the dialog that opens, name the new scope and click OK.

  4. Add files to the new scope. Select the necessary items in the project tree and click one of the options located on the right from the tree:

    • Include: include the selected items. If you are including a folder, this action adds only the files located inside this folder. All nested subfolders and their contents will not be included.

    • Include Recursively: include the selected folder together with the nested subfolders and their contents.

    • Exclude: exclude the selected items from the scope. If you are excluding a folder, this action removes only the files located inside this folder. All nested subfolders and their contents will remain in the scope.

    • Exclude Recursively: exclude the selected folder together with the nested subfolders and their contents.

    As you add files to the scope, PyCharm creates an expression and displays it in the Pattern field. Instead of using the buttons, you can also type a pattern in the Pattern field manually using the scope language syntax reference.

  5. Apply the changes and close the dialog.

When you add items to the scope, their names change the color accordingly:

  • the green color sample Green: folders and files included in the scope.

  • the dark blue color sample Blue: folders that contain both excluded and included files and folders.

  • the black color sample Black: files and folders whose names are written in black are excluded from the scope.

After you create a custom scope, you can find it in the Project tool window and in all dialogs that allow you to limit the number of files to which you want to apply an action.

Associate scopes with colors

Files that belong to different scopes can be highlighted in different colors in search results, in editor tabs, and in the Project tool window.

Scope highlighting in the editor tabs and search results

To each scope, you can assign its own color. For example, you can assign a color to the Open Files scope and configure the IDE to show this color in the Project tool window. In this case, the files that you are currently working with in the editor will be colored in the project tree. This makes project navigation faster and simpler. Note that file colors work only in association with scopes.

Similarly to scopes, color associations can be local and shared.

  • Local colors are only visible to you and are not shared through VCS.

  • Shared colors are placed under version control so that people who work on a project can use the same color associations. They are stored in the project folder under .idea in the fileColors.xml file (for example: MyProject/.idea/fileColors.xml).

Create a new color association

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, select Appearance & Behavior | File Colors.

  2. Make sure that the Enable File Colors checkbox is selected, and then choose where you want to use the colors: select Use in Editor Tabs or Use in Project View.

    If you select the Use in Project View checkbox, you will see colors in the Project tool window and in search results (for example, in the Find in Path dialog Ctrl+Shift+F).

  3. Choose whether you want to configure local or shared colors and click Add icon in the corresponding section of the dialog.

    You can always share local color associations and vice versa, make shared colors local, using the the Share button (Share) and the Unshare button (Unshare) buttons.

  4. In the Add Color Label dialog, select a scope and pick a color for it. Click OK.

  5. Apply changes and close the dialog.

If a file is included in several scopes, the order of the scopes becomes important: PyCharm processes the scopes from the top to the bottom starting from local scopes. It means that the IDE will apply the color of the last scope in the list to such a file.

You can change the order of the scopes if you want PyCharm to process color associations in a different order.

Change the order of scopes

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, select Appearance & Behavior | Scopes.

  2. Select the scope that you want to move and click the Move Up button (Alt+Up) or the Move Down button (Alt+Down).

  3. Apply the changes and close the dialog.

Last modified: 25 May 2020