How To Format Code In Intellij

Java Programming

As a developer who has spent countless hours writing and formatting code, I understand the importance of having a reliable and efficient coding environment. One of the tools that I rely on heavily for my day-to-day coding is IntelliJ IDEA. In this article, I want to share my personal insights and tips on how to effectively format code in IntelliJ, making the coding experience more enjoyable and productive.

Setting Up Code Styles

IntelliJ IDEA provides a powerful feature called Code Styles, which allows you to define and enforce consistent formatting rules across your codebase. To access this feature, navigate to the “File” menu, select “Settings,” and then expand the “Editor” section. From there, choose “Code Style” and then the specific language you want to define the code style for. Personally, I prefer a clean and consistent code style, which helps improve readability and maintainability.

Customizing Code Style Rules

Within the Code Style settings, you can customize a wide range of formatting rules, including indentation, spacing, wrapping, and more. For example, I like to set the indentation to use spaces instead of tabs and ensure that the maximum line length is limited to 120 characters. These rules are not only personal preferences but also adhere to best practices, making the code easier to collaborate on with fellow developers.

Auto-Formatting Code

In addition to defining code styles, IntelliJ IDEA offers the convenience of auto-formatting code with a simple keyboard shortcut. By selecting the code or entire file and pressing “Ctrl + Alt + L” (or “Cmd + Option + L” on Mac), IntelliJ will automatically apply the defined code style rules to the selected code. This capability saves me a significant amount of time and ensures that my code always aligns with the established conventions.

Utilizing Code Cleanup

To take code formatting a step further, IntelliJ’s Code Cleanup feature allows for bulk formatting of an entire project according to the defined code style. This is especially useful when inheriting a codebase or before committing changes to version control. Running a code cleanup not only standardizes the formatting but also helps catch any potential formatting inconsistencies that may have slipped through during the development process.

Integrating with Version Control

When working in a team environment, maintaining consistent code formatting becomes essential. With IntelliJ IDEA, I can configure code style settings to be applied automatically when committing or pushing changes to version control, such as Git. This ensures that any code modifications adhere to the defined code style, preventing unnecessary conflicts and ensuring a seamless collaboration experience.


In conclusion, IntelliJ IDEA offers robust tools and features for formatting code, allowing developers to maintain a clean and consistent codebase. By taking advantage of Code Styles, auto-formatting shortcuts, and version control integration, I’ve been able to streamline my coding process and focus more on building great software. With these tips and personal insights, I hope you can enhance your own coding experience within IntelliJ IDEA.