WebStorm 2023.3 Help

How to move from VS Code to WebStorm

In this section, you’ll find some tips on how to migrate from VS Code to WebStorm.

If you’re looking for an overview of the features WebStorm offers, we recommend checking out this page.

Open or create your first project

One of the first things that you’ll notice once you download and install WebStorm is that you need a project to get started. The project-first approach helps WebStorm understand the context better and provide more advanced coding assistance.

To start with your first project, you can choose one of these options:

  • New Project – Create an empty project or generate a project from an existing template, like ones for React, Angular, or Vue.

  • Open – Open a project stored on your machine.

  • Get from VCS – Get an existing project from a version control system like Git or GitHub.

Once you’ve opened a project, you can start coding as usual. Go ahead and create your first file – here’s how.

Welcome screen

Configure shortcuts

If you’ve never used WebStorm or other JetBrains IDEs before, getting used to new shortcuts can be challenging. Here are a few tips that can help you with that.

Switch to the VS Code keymap

If you aren’t ready to say goodbye to VS Code shortcuts just yet, you can switch to the VS Code keymap. To do so, go to Settings | Keymap, set VSCode or VSCode (macOS) as your default keymap, and save the changes.

Note that the keymap might not be bundled in some versions of WebStorm. To install it, go to Settings | Plugins and look for vscode there.

Once you've installed the keymap, you can go to Settings | Keymap and set it as the default one.

Set the VS Code keymap as default

Learn WebStorm shortcuts

Learning WebStorm shortcuts will come in handy even if you decide to switch to another JetBrains IDE later on – the shortcuts are the same in almost all of them. Here’s what can help you learn them faster:

  • Memorize WebStorm’s most universal shortcut – double Shift or Search Everywhere. You can use it to find any file, action, class, or symbol, and see all the matches in one place.

  • Install Key Promoter X – this extension helps you learn essential shortcuts while working. When you use the mouse on a button inside the IDE, Key Promoter X shows you the shortcut you could have used instead.

  • Use the WebStorm shortcut cheat sheet – You can download the default WebStorm keymap reference for macOS or Windows and Linux and print it out as a card.

WebStorm suggests a predefined keymap based on your environment. You can find this keymap in Settings | Keymap. If you change the shortcut for an action, WebStorm will store those changes in a copy of the predefined keymap and use that copy by default moving forward.

Set up your work environment

One of the key differences between WebStorm and VS Code is that you don’t need to install a lot of extensions to make WebStorm more powerful. Just about everything is already there. See this section to learn about the technologies supported by WebStorm. From there, you can also jump to specific instructions on how to get started with each of them.

For a general overview of the features WebStorm offers, check out this page or watch the video below.

Customize WebStorm

WebStorm’s UI might look overwhelming at first. Fortunately, you can customize it and turn off anything you don’t need. Here are some general customization tips.

Install extensions

In JetBrains IDEs, we refer to extensions as plugins. They work pretty much the same way extensions do in VS Code, allowing you to extend the built-in functionality and customize your IDE. To explore the available plugins, go to the Marketplace tab under Settings | Plugins.

Here’s what WebStorm looks like with the popular Rainbow Brackets plugin installed. You can read this blog post to learn about some other popular plugins, including the minimap one.

Customize WebStorm: Rainbow Brackets plugin installed

Change the UI theme

WebStorm comes with only a few predefined themes, but there’s a variety of custom options to choose from. To explore them, go to Settings | Plugins and search for theme in the Marketplace tab.

Customize WebStorm: select UI theme

You can then go back to the editor and check what the themes you’ve installed look like. Select View | Quick Switch Scheme from the main menu or press Ctrl+` and select Theme. From there, you’ll be able to preview the available themes all in one go, as shown here.

Switch to Zen mode

Like in VS Code, you can switch to Zen mode whenever you want to focus on coding. From the main menu, select Navigate | Search Everywhere and type enter zen mode. Do the same but select Exit Zen Mode when you’re done.

Customize WebStorm: Zen mode

Replicate common VS Code workflows

Let’s see how you can set up a few things to work like they do in VS Code.

Command Palette

Search Everywhere is your replacement for VS Code’s Command Palette. You can use it to find any file, action, class, or symbol, and see all matches in one place. Open it from Navigate | Search Everywhere in the main menu or by clicking the magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of the editor.

Customize WebStorm: Command Palette

Search and replace

Although WebStorm’s search and replace workflow is slightly different from the one in VS Code, the principles are the same. WebStorm lets you find and replace text strings within both specific files and entire projects.

To get started, select Edit | Find from the main menu, then choose either Find to search only through the current file or Find in Files to search across the entire project. To replace a text string, select Replace or Replace in Files under the same submenu instead.

Customize WebStorm: search and replace

Change the defaults for the Project view

WebStorm has its own Explorer, the Project view, and it works a bit differently. For instance, you need to double-click a file to open it in the editor. Here’s how you can change the default setup to match what you were used to in VS Code:

Customize Project view

You can go to the Project view settings and select any or all of these options:

  • Open Files with Single Click – Open files in the editor with one click.

  • Always Select Opened File – Auto-select the file that’s currently open in the Project view.

  • Enable Preview Tab – Preview files you have selected in the Project view in the editor.

Set up actions on save

You can configure WebStorm to perform a specific action or run a tool like Prettier or ESLint every time you save your modified file. To do this, go to Settings | Tools | Actions on Save and tick the necessary boxes there. For more information about performing actions on save, refer to this section.

Customize WebStorm: set up actions on save

How to get support

You can check out our community forum to find answers to many common questions and ask other WebStorm users for help.

Also, you can always get in touch with our support team if you get stuck. To submit a new ticket, select Help | Contact Support from WebStorm’s main menu. To report a bug or ask for a new feature, create a new issue here.

Last modified: 20 February 2024