WebStorm 2021.2 Help

Scratch files

Sometimes you may need to create temporary notes or draft up some code outside of the project context. Instead of switching to a different application for this purpose, you can use scratch files and scratch buffers.

  • Scratch files are fully functional, runnable, and debuggable files, which support syntax highlighting, code completion, and all other features for the corresponding file type. For example, while working on one project, you may come up with an idea for a method that you could later use in another project. You can create a scratch file with a draft of the method, which is not stored in your project directory but can be accessed and opened from another project. You can use scratch files to draft code constructs, HTTP requests, JSON documents, and so on.

  • Scratch buffers are simple text files without any coding assistance features. Scratch buffers can be used for simple task lists and notes to yourself. They are also not stored in the project directory but can be accessed and opened from another project. You can create up to five scratch buffers with default names, which are rotated and reused by clearing the content.

Scratch files and buffers are stored in the IDE configuration directory under scratches.

Create scratch files

  1. From the main menu, select File | New | Scratch File or press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Insert.

  2. Select the language of the scratch file. Scratch files of the same type are automatically numbered and added to the Scratches and Consoles directory of the Project tool window.

Alternatively, you can create a new scratch file with the contents of the current selection in the editor. Select some text or code, press Alt+Enter and then select Create new scratch file from selection. WebStorm will attempt to detect the language of the selected fragment and use the appropriate type and extension. If it can't detect the language of the selection, WebStorm will create the file with the same type and extension as the original file.

WebStorm numbers scratch files sequentially starting from 1. If you close a tab with an empty scratch file, WebStorm deletes it.

Create scratch buffers

  • There is no dedicated menu item for the action to create a new scratch buffer, but you can use the Find Action popup Ctrl+Shift+A and run the New Scratch Buffer action.

Find the New Scratch Buffer action

View the available scratches

  • To see the list of created scratch files and buffers, open the Project tool window and select Scratches and Consoles | Scratches:

    Scratches in the Project window

  • By default, scratch files and buffers are sorted alphabetically by their names and next by their extensions (types), which automatically means that buffer files always come first. To sort scratch files by types, click the Show Options Menu button or right-click the Project tab and select Sort by Type:

    The Sort by Type action
    WebStorm sorts scratches alphabetically based on their extensions:
    Scratches sorted by type

Rename scratches

  1. In the Project tool window, click Scratches under Scratches and Consoles, select the file to rename, and press Shift+F6.

  2. In the dialog that opens, type the new name. Note that specifying another extension does not affect the file type, use the Change Language action for that.

See Renaming files and folders for details.

Copy scratches

  1. In the Project tool window, in the Scratches and Consoles | Scratches directory, select the scratch file to copy.

  2. Press F5. In the dialog that opens, type the new filename. Here you can also specify another extension to change the file type. If necessary, select the folder where you want to save the copy.

See Copying files and folders for details.

Change the language of scratches

  1. In the Project tool window, click Scratches under Scratches and Consoles, and choose Change Language (<current language>) from the context menu of the scratch file to change the language for.

  2. Select the desired language. Note the following:

    • Four last used items are on top of the list, above the separator.

    • To narrow down the list, start typing the language name.

    • The Change Language action keeps extension in sync, if it exists.

You can assign a shortcut to the Change Language action as described in Configuring keyboard shortcuts.

Run and debug scratches

  1. Install the required packages and add the corresponding import statements to the scratch file. For example, to use JQuery:

    1. Open package.json and add the following packages to the dependencies property:

      "dependencies": { "jquery": "^3.5.0", "jsdom": "^16.2.2", "core-js": "^3.6.5", "nuxt": "^2.14.5" }
    2. From the context menu of package.json, select Run 'npm install'.

    3. Open your scratch file and add the following import statements:

      const {JSDOM} = require("jsdom"); const {window} = new JSDOM(""); const $ = require('jquery')(window);
  2. From the context menu of the scratch file, select Run <scratch_file_name>.

  3. To debug a scratch file, set the breakpoints as required and select Debug <scratch_file_name> from its context menu..

Productivity tips

View documentation for scratches

  • Select any scratch file or buffer in the Project tool window and press Ctrl+Q to view quick documentation with the location, type, size, creation and modification date of the file.

Move scratches

  1. In the Project tool window, open the Scratches and Consoles | Scratches directory and select the scratch file to move.

  2. Press F6 and select the target folder in the dialog that opens.

See Moving files and folders for details.

Run an SQL scratch file

To run an SQL scratch file, you need to have a connection to a data source. For this, attach a scratch file to the query console.

When you attach the console, WebStorm resolves the objects in your SQL code. As a result, you can navigate from the SQL code to the database tree.

  • Press Ctrl+Enter or click the Run button in the gutter. In the Sessions window, select a query console.

  • Click the <session>> on> switcher in the upper right corner of the window and select a console. The switcher menu includes consoles that are associated with the same language as your scratch file.

    If you want to attach a console from another DBMS, change the scratch file language. To change a language, right-click any area in the open scratch file and click Change Language.

  • Right-click any area in the open scratch file and click Execute. In the Sessions window, select a query console.

Last modified: 23 September 2021