WebStorm 2021.2 Help

LightEdit mode

When you need to edit just one file without creating or loading the whole project in WebStorm, you can use the LightEdit mode.

LightEdit mode

Keep in mind that the LightEdit mode works as a text-like editor, and it doesn't support the usual IDE editor features such as code completion, or code navigation. However, you can navigate to a specific line of code (Ctrl+G), fold or unfold parts of code, check, and change file encoding.

Open a file in the LightEdit mode

You can use several ways to open a file in the LightEdit mode.

Open a file from the command line

  • Depending on your OS, open the file from the command line:

    webstorm.bat -e myfile.txt

    You can find the executable script for running WebStorm in the installation directory under bin. To use this executable script as the command-line launcher, add it to your system PATH as described in Command-line interface.

    webstorm -e myfile.txt

    By default, WebStorm does not provide a command-line launcher. For information about creating a launcher script for WebStorm, see Command-line interface.

    webstorm.sh -e myfile.txt

    You can find the executable script for running WebStorm in the installation directory under bin. To use this executable script as the command-line launcher, add it to your system PATH as described in Command-line interface.

    Open a file in the Light Edit mode from the command line

Open and edit a file with the wait switch

You can interrupt a process in the command line and put terminal on hold until you're done editing a file in the LightEdit mode. For example, when you work in the command line and run a commit process to Git, you can pause the terminal and use a text editor in the LightEdit mode to quickly write a commit message.

  1. Depending on your OS, open the file adding the -e and -w commands before the name of your file.

    webstorm.bat -e -w myfile.txt

    You can find the executable script for running WebStorm in the installation directory under bin. To use this executable script as the command-line launcher, add it to your system PATH as described in Command-line interface.

    webstorm -e -w myfile.txt

    By default, WebStorm does not provide a command-line launcher. For information about creating a launcher script for WebStorm, see Command-line interface.

    webstorm.sh -e -w myfile.txt

    You can find the executable script for running WebStorm in the installation directory under bin. To use this executable script as the command-line launcher, add it to your system PATH as described in Command-line interface.

    WebStorm opens the file in the LightEdit mode, and displays a notification indicating that the command line is waiting for the opened file to close.

    the Command line waiting notification
  2. Click one of the notification's options or close the file to release the command line.

Work with code in the LightEdit mode

Even though the LightEdit mode doesn't support all of the WebStorm editor coding assistance, you can still use basic editing features and basic menu options.

  • Use the main menu to open recent files, show the line numbers, whitespaces, extend the code selection, and so on.

    When you select File | Open, WebStorm opens the Open File or Project dialog where you can quickly navigate to the opened file in the project's root directory. Click the Select opened file icon on the toolbar. Note that for macOS, the native dialog will open.

    When you edit a file, the blue color indication on the tab shows that the file content was changed.

    LightEdit mode: externally changed file
  • When external changes are made to the file you are working on, you can update it by selecting File | Reload from Disk from the main menu.

    LightEdit mode: reload file from disk
  • Use the context menu for pasting or folding your code as well as switching to column selection mode.

    LightEditor: the context menu
  • Use the status bar to go to the line you need, check the VCS, or toggle the Autosave mode.

Turn on autosave

  • Click Autosave: off on the Status bar and select the Save changes automatically in the popup that opens.

    LightEdit mode: turn on autosave

Exit the LightEdit mode

You can quit the LightEdit mode and switch from editing a single file to working on the entire project. To do so, use one of the following ways:

Status bar

On the status bar of the LightEdit mode, click Access full IDE and from the list of options, select how you want to proceed such as open the current file in the project, open the recent project, or open the new one.

Access full IDE
Find action window

Press Alt+Enter and select Open file in project.

Switch from LightEdit to editing the entire project (context action)
Main menu

Select File | Open File in Project from the main menu.

Switch from LightEdit to editing the entire project (File menu)
Last modified: 30 June 2021