WebStorm 2020.1 Help

Auto-Completing Code and Paths

Code completion is one of the essential features of the WebStorm editor. To show you completion suggestions, WebStorm goes through the project files with the source code and adds classes, methods, functions, and variables defined in them to a special internal index. Additional information from JSDoc comments, TypeScript type definitions, and so on can also significantly improve completion.

Completion also works for symbols from third-party code. In most cases all you need is to add the required files to your project, see Configuring JavaScript Libraries for details.

This section covers various techniques of context-aware code completion that allow you to speed up your coding process.

Basic completion

Basic code completion helps you complete the names of classes, methods, fields, and keywords within the visibility scope. When you invoke code completion, WebStorm analyses the context and suggests the choices that are reachable from the current caret position (suggestions also include Live templates).

Invoke basic completion

  1. Start typing a name. By default, WebStorm displays the code completion popup automatically as you type.

    Completion popup
    Alternatively, press Ctrl+Space or choose Code | Code Completion | Basic from the main menu.

  2. To get more suggestions, press Ctrl+Space for the second time (or press Ctrl+Alt+Space).

  3. To narrow down the suggestions list, type any part of the expected name or keyword (even characters from somewhere in the middle are accepted) or invoke code completion after a dot separator. WebStorm shows the suggestions that include the typed characters in any positions.

    Suggestions list narrowed down as you type

Accept a suggestion from the list in one of the following ways

  • Press Enter or double-click the relevant list item to insert it to the left of the caret.

  • Press Tab to replace the characters to the right from the caret.

  • Use Ctrl+Shift+Enter to make the current code construct syntactically correct (balance parentheses, add missing braces and semicolons, and so on).

  • Use specific language and context-dependent keys to insert the selected completion suggestion, see Configuring completion settings for details.

View reference for the selected suggestion

  • For quick documentation look-up, select an item in the suggestion list and press Ctrl+Q. WebStorm shows you quick documentation for it in the Documentation popup.

    Basic completion: documentation look-up
  • To view the documentation in a tool window with more controls, pin the Documentation popup. To switch between the Documentation popup and the Documentation tool window, press Ctrl+Q sequentially.

  • To view the definition of the selected suggestion, press Ctrl+Shift+I.

    Basic completion: definition look-up

View code hierarchy

  • Select an entry in the suggestions list and press one of the following shortcuts:

    • Ctrl+H to view type hierarchy

    • Ctrl+Alt+H to view view call hierarchy.

    • Ctrl+Shift+H to view method hierarchy.

Suggestions for the names of new variables and parameters

Besides completing calls of existing symbols, WebStorm suggests names for new variables and parameters during their declaration. These suggestions are based on the names of classes, types, and interfaces that are defined in your project, in the libraries you are using, and in standard APIs.

Suggested names for a newly declared variable

To turn this functionality off, open the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, go to Editor | General | Code Completion, and clear the Suggest variable and parameter names checkbox in the JavaScript section.

Completion from the TypeScript Language Service in JavaScript

You can enhance basic code completion in JavaScript files by using suggestions from the TypeScript Language Service. Learn more from Verifying TypeScript.

  1. Open a jsconfig.json or tsconfig.json file and add 'allowJS' : true to it.

  2. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, go to Languages and Frameworks | TypeScript.

  3. On the TypeScript page that opens, make sure the TypeScript Language Service checkbox is selected.

Statement completion

You can create syntactically correct code constructs by using statement completion Ctrl+Shift+Enter. It inserts the necessary syntax elements (parentheses, braces, and semicolons) and gets you in a position where you can start typing the next statement.

  • To complete a method declaration, start typing function and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. WebStorm creates an entire construct of a method and places the cursor inside the method body.

  • To complete a code construct, start typing it, for example, type if, and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. WebStorm automatically adds the required punctuation and places the cursor at the next edit point.

Hippie completion

Hippie completion is a completion engine that analyses your text in the visible scope and generates suggestions from the current context. It helps you complete any word from any of the currently opened files.

Expand a string at caret to an existing word

  1. Type the initial string and do one of the following:

    • Press Alt+/ or choose Code | Code Completion | Cyclic Expand Word to search for matching words before the caret.

    • Press Shift+Alt+/ or choose Code | Code Completion | Cyclic Expand Word (Backward) to search for matching words after the caret and in other open files.

    The first suggested value appears, and the prototype is highlighted in the source code.

  2. Accept the suggestion, or hold the Alt key and keep pressing / until the desired word is found.

Postfix code completion

Postfix code completion helps you reduce backward caret jumps as you write code. You can transform an already-typed expression to a different one based on a postfix you type after the dot, the type of expression, and its context.

WebStorm is shipped with a set of predefined postfix templates and lets you define your own custom ones for JavaScript and TypeScript. Custom templates can be copied, updated, and removed. For predefined templates you can only change their postfixes, for example to replace a long key with a shorter one.

  • To view a full list of available postfix templates, in the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, go to Editor | General | Postfix Completion.

  • Select Tab, Space, or Enter to expand postfix templates.

Completion of overrides

When you want to override a method from the parent class or interface and select this method from the list of completion suggestions, WebStorm automatically adds parameters, generates a super() call, and adds the type information, if possible.

To turn off generation of method bodies for overrides

  1. In the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, go to Languages and Frameworks | JavaScript.

  2. On the JavaScript page that opens, clear the Expand method bodies in completion for overrides checkbox.

Completion of tags, attributes, and properties

WebStorm automatically completes names and values of tags and attributes in many file types:

Completion of tags and attribute names is based on the DTD or Schema the file is associated with. If there is no schema association, WebStorm will use the file content (tag and attribute names and their values) to complete your input.

  1. Press < and start typing the tag name. WebStorm displays the list of tag names appropriate in the current context. Use the Up and Down buttons to scroll through the list.

  2. Press Enter to accept a selection from the list. If your file is associated with a schema or a DTD, WebStorm automatically inserts the mandatory attributes according to it.

Configuring code completion settings

To customize the default completion behavior, open the Settings/Preferences dialog Ctrl+Alt+S, go to Editor | General | Code Completion, and on the Code Completion page update the default completion settings. To tune completion in the JavaScript context, use the controls in the JavaScript area.

To display the suggestions list automatically as you type

  • Select the Show suggestions as you type checkbox. If the checkbox is cleared, you have to call code completion explicitly by pressing Ctrl+Space for basic completion or Ctrl+Shift+Space for smart completion.

    You can also choose to automatically insert suggestions when there's just one option: select the completion type under Automatically insert single suggestions for.

To show suggestions in the alphabetic order

  • Select the Sort suggestions alphabetically checkbox. By default the checkbox is cleared and suggestions are sorted by their relevance.

  • Alternatively use Sort Alphabetically or sort by relevance in the lower-right corner of the suggestions list to toggle these modes. Note that these icons appear are not displayed for lists containing just a few entries.

To include suggestions in the list with respect to case

  • Select the Match case checkbox and choose whether you want to match case for first letters only, or for all letters.

To turn on automatic documentation look-up

To use specific keys to insert suggestions

  • Select the Insert selected suggestion by pressing space, dot, or other context-dependent keys checkbox. These keys depend on the language and the context where completion is invoked.

Completing a path

This type of completion speeds up selection of files and folders. The dialog used for that purpose is called rather often, for example, when you specify the installation folder of an external tool or a Version Control engine or configure a Node.js interpreter.

  1. Open the Select Path dialog by choosing Open File on the File menu or by clicking Browse the Browse button next to the field where a path is required.

  2. Make sure that the Path field is visible. If the field is hidden, click the Show path link.

  3. Start typing a path. WebStorm suggests a list where you can quickly find the needed directory. As you type, the suggestion list shrinks to show the matching paths only. You can also press Ctrl+Space to show the suggestion list.

  4. Select the relevant suggestion from the list.


If code completion doesn't work, this may be due to one of the following reasons:

  • The Power Save Mode is on (File | Power Save Mode). Turning it on minimizes power consumption of your laptop by eliminating the background operations, including error highlighting, on-the-fly inspections, and code completion.

  • Your file doesn't reside in a content root, so it doesn't get the required class definitions and resources needed for code completion.

  • The file with the symbols to be used in code completion is marked as a plain text file.

  • The third-party file with the symbols to be used in code completion is not configured as an external JavaScript library.

Last modified: 8 April 2020