Editor Tabs annoying

Answered

Hello,

While working on code, the editor tabs on top show only a few of the many open documents. When I'm currently actively working on two java files, then it's very hard to make it so that both these java files are visible as a tab. It's possible by doing "close all" first and then opening your two java files. But that is annoying.

Some IDE's, make it so that you can have a lot of documents open. They all have a tab, but of course you don't see all these tabs due to space problem. They have a dropdown menu to open the other tabs. But the most important thing in these other IDE's is: the tabs that are visible, are those of the last documents you viewed/edited. So the visible tabs don't have a fixed order but represent the documetns you last viewed.

Visual Studio has some pretty good behaviour of these tabs imho.

Is it possible to have IntelliJ do something similar? Or some other way to easily switch between the documents I'm "Currently" viewing/editing?

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Hello L,

Please try the "Recently edited files" feature (Ctrl-E), the TabSwitch plugin
for IDEA 8 or the equivalent built-in functionality in IDEA 9.

Also, it helps to decrease the limit of tabs open at the same time.

While working on code, the editor tabs on top show only a few of the
many open documents. When I'm currently actively working on two java
files, then it's very hard to make it so that both these java files
are visible as a tab. It's possible by doing "close all" first and
then opening your two java files. But that is annoying.

Some IDE's, make it so that you can have a lot of documents open. They
all have a tab, but of course you don't see all these tabs due to
space problem. They have a dropdown menu to open the other tabs. But
the most important thing in these other IDE's is: the tabs that are
visible, are those of the last documents you edited. So the visible
tabs don't have a fixed order but represent the documetns you last
edited.

Is it possible to have IntelliJ do something similar? Or some other
way to easily switch between the documents I'm "Currently" editing?


--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"


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L.V.,

If you're using IDEA 8.1 or later, you can drag the tabs into the order you want. For earlier versions of IDEA the Tab Reorder plug-in provides the same functionality (plus keyboard-mappable tab relocation commands)

Randall Schulz

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It's 8.1.

I tried the TabSwitch plugin, but it's not what I'm looking for.

I tried with multiple rows of tabs enabled now.

What makes this very unworkable for me (maybe my mind just works that way), is that the tabs change location all the time. The rows move up and down. The thing is, when working with multiple files, somehow my mind maps where in these rows of tabs a file is. But when clicking on a tab to open another file, they all jump around, and then when going back to the previous file I have to search again in the tabs to find which file it was.

I'm not an MS fanboy or anything, but I've worked with Visual Studio at some company once, and I've never had any problem with the tabs there. The way the tabs work in visual studio is just Perfect (TM). Is there any way in which the tabs of IntelliJ could behave like that?

Why the visual studio tabs are perfect:
-they don't jump around and reorder (the biggest reordering that can happen is that in the series of visible tabs, a new one appears at the left and the rightmost one disappears)
-most recent edited files are on a predictable place (the left)
-you can drag a tab (you can in intellij if there's one row, but not if there are multiple)
-somehow VS manages to make each tab take less space and yet have the name of the file recognisable, so more space to show more tabs!
-you can have any amount of tabs open, only the most recent ones are visible
-there is always a working dropdown box to open other tabs (in intellij there is something like that only if you have one row of tabs and it only works if you didn't scroll to the rightmost tab)
-you can't scroll to invisible tabs, because it's not necessary (the dropdown box is handier)
-there is no setting needed to only open X tabs at the same time, it just handles any amount (in the dropdown box)
-somehow my mind always finds the tabs of the files I'm currently working on, immediatly there (and not in IntelliJ)

Maybe the tabs of IntelliJ aren't meant to be used like that? Is there any feature I should use instead?

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L V wrote:

Why the visual studio tabs are perfect:
-they don't jump around and reorder
-most recent edited files are on a predictable place (the left)

JOI, how does it achieve this? The two seem to be mutually exclusive...
N.

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I tried with multiple rows of tabs enabled now.


Multiple tabs are insane - in IDEA and anywhere else - because they are hard
to use.

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Aardwolf wrote:

I tried with multiple rows of tabs enabled now.


What makes this very unworkable for me (maybe my mind just works that way), is that the tabs change location all the time. The rows move up and down. The thing is, when working with multiple files, somehow my mind maps where in these rows of tabs a file is. But when clicking on a tab to open another file, they all jump around, and then when going back to the previous file I have to search again in the tabs to find which file it was.

. . .


Is there any feature I should use instead?

I had the same exact problem. Drove me nuts! My solution was to place the tabs on the right. When I started doing this I found that even without the multiple rows issue (i.e. when I only have a few tabs open) that my mind maps the files and their location much easier when they are list up and down. And you can arrange things in a sensible order. For example, it's easy to relate Interface --> AbstractClass --> SuperClass --> Subclass1, SubClass2 by simply placing the tabs in that order from top down. Obviously the one down side is you lose some screen real estate width wise. But with wide screen monitors, it's actually nice to have the extra height real estate.

So join the dark side... place your tabs on the side.

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I tried with multiple rows of tabs enabled now.

What makes this very unworkable for me (maybe my mind just works that way), is that the tabs change location all the time. The rows move up and down. The thing is, when working with multiple files, somehow my mind maps where in these rows of tabs a file is. But when clicking on a tab to open another
file, they all jump around, and then when going back to the previous file I have to search again in the tabs to find which file it was.


That's the reason why multiple rows of tabs are nightmare from a usability
perspective.

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[quote]

JOI, how does it achieve this?  The two seem to be mutually exclusive...

N.[/quote]



I wasn't completely right, it works like this in VS:


If a tab is visible, and you click on it, it stays where it was (very good, everything remains stable).

If a tab is not visible (either it's open but not shown, then it's in the dropdown menu, or, it's not open at all, you open a new document), then it appears on the left, and all other tabs shift one to the right.


The above combination makes for a relax atmosphere when working with the tabs

[quote]So join the dark side... place your tabs on the side.[/quote]


That would work if you could choose the size of the tabs. But instead the longest filename chooses that. It's too wide for me (even with show extension turned off). Maybe it would be a good feature if IntelliJ would be able to cut off part of the name? It doesn't have to be visible to me, I think the human mind is able to work when seeing part of the name IF the tabs stay stationary, because you remember the location. Also, an immediate tooltip that shows the full length name (0 seconds slowdown if mouse hovers over) could help there.

Or can maybe the font of the tabs be chosen somewhere to make it smaller?

EDIT: took me a long time to find a font that wasn't rendered ugly below 12px, but found one, "DejaVu Sans"

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Aardwolf wrote:


That would work if you could choose the size of the tabs. But instead the longest filename chooses that. It's too wide for me (even with show extension turned off). Maybe it would be a good feature if IntelliJ would be able to cut off part of the name? It doesn't have to be visible to me, I think the human mind is able to work when seeing part of the name IF the tabs stay stationary, because you remember the location. Also, an immediate tooltip that shows the full length name (0 seconds slowdown if mouse hovers over) could help there.

I agree this would be a great feature. There are two RFE's for this: http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEABKL-197 and http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEABKL-172. Both were opened in the old Tracker system JetBrains use to use and moved to JIRA in Feb 2005. They are currently filed under the IDEA backlog project. So not much hope of their resurrection from there. But it might be worth campaigning to get this moved onto an IDEA 9.x or IDEA 10 roadmap.

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Until I get to an absurd number of tabs, I generally don't have an issue with multiple tabs, especially when they stay in a fixed spot.  UE/UES and Firefox both keep tabs where you put them(and Firefox also has a Tabgroups Manager) that make multi-tab organization and use a breeze.  But, that is how I roll....YMMV.

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why use mouse to select tabs at all?

i usually press ctrl+tab (one or twice or more) and go to recent file
i got ctrl+tab from TabSwitch plugin

sometimes (but very rarely) i use mouse
then i just rearrange tabs as i like so they never change their positions
i use TabReorder plugin to drag tabs (idea's built-in feature to drag tabs is very strange for me, i don't use it at all)

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I'd still like to suggest looking into how it works in visual studio 2005. Somehow they managed to do it 100% right there. VS2005 is the only program I know where the files you're currently working in (= most recently viewed) are always visible clickable tabs on top while still allowing to have open 100s of files (the non visible tabs are automatically in an alphabetically sorted dropdown menu).

This is so natural to work with (no learning curve, it does immediatly what the mind expects), all other editors with tabs (geany, intellij, ...) all just annoy the hell out of me with the way they show tabs.

I think the main problem is that they treat every open file as a tab, even if only a few of the tabs are visible, instead of putting all non visible tabs in an alphabetical dropdown menu. So in those editors if you have many files open and recently viewed two of those files, chances are big that you don't see the tab of those two files at the same time...

And in intellij i know you can enable multiple rows of tabs, but why then does intellij then have to constantly switch the order of those rows? That again makes it unusable to have a natural way of seeing your most recently viewed files in the tabs. It's as if the tabs were designed to be annoying

Limiting amount of tabs doesn't help me either. Our project has many long class names (e.g. 43 characters - not my decision...), and tabs in IntelliJ need so much space that often only 3 go on one row! So even if I limit it to just 5, I STILL often don't see the tabs of the recently edited documents at the same time. So really, please do something about the size a tab takes, show only part of the filename and show the full name only in a mouse tooltip! No matter what I try, there's always something about the tabs that appears to be designed to be annoying, while those of VS2005 have never annoyed from the start! I'm not an MS fan, but they got those tabs right!

To add an example of why the tabs are annoying: if more tabs than the screen can show are open, there is sometimes a <>, sometimes a < symbol to the right of the tabs. If it's <>, then if you click it a dropdown with all tabs appears (not alphabetical, but better than nothing). If however the symbol is just "<", then you can't open a dropdown menu of the tabs (even if some are invisible to the left). Why not always allow this menu??

Actually I really don't understand, in my firefox I have many tabs open right here right now and see many tabs, even for webpages with long titles, while IntelliJ can't even show 4 tabs of java files with long names in a row. What makes it so that intellij needs so much space for those tabs? I already decreased the size of the gui font, turned off to show extension in the tabs, turned off the asterix and the close button...

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Hello L,

What's the big advantage of having open 100s of files compared to having
open 15 files and having very easy access to any other file you might need
(Ctrl-N, Ctrl-B and similar features)?

I'd still like to suggest looking into how it works in visual studio
2005. Somehow they managed to do it 100% right there. VS2005 is the
only program I know where the files you're currently working in are
always visible clickable tabs on top while still allowing to have open
100s of files.

---
Original message URL:
http://www.jetbrains.net/devnet/message/5245113#5245113

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"


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The big advantage is: with our long class names, often it can't even show 4 tabs at the same time on screen. So replace "100s" by "5". But in VS, it was actually workable with 100 open files, just to show how well it worked.

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Hello L,

The big advantage is: with our long class names, often it can't even
show 4 tabs at the same time on screen. So replace "100s" by "5".


To make tabs more compact, you can enable "Hide file extension in editor
tabs" and disable "Show close button on editor tabs" options.

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"


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I did both those and also disabled the asterix and set the font to DejaVu Sans 10 (smaller font in the tabs). With class names of for example respectively 29, 31 and 35 characters (such name sizes happens here often...), it can show max 3 tabs (with project overview on the left having a reasonable size) .

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If I'd want to, would it be possible for me to write a plugin that overrides the tabs with something completely different? Or is it impossible to change this component with a plugin?

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Hello L,

If I'd want to, would it be possible for me to write a plugin that
overrides the tabs with something completely different? Or is it
impossible to change this component with a plugin?


This part of the code is not pluggable.

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"


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My 2 pence: I like all of my tabs on one row and I think Firefox handles this very well. When it reaches a limit it scrolls the tabs out to the right hand side. You can then use your mouse wheel on the tab bar to scroll back and forth. I find this to be very intuitive.

Currently I've got IntelliJ setup using the multi-row tabs and while it is ok, it isn't ideal. I find myself using Command-Shift-N to open files that are already in my tab bar.

Thanks,

Damian.

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Mark,

Thanks for mining those gems from IDEA backlog  http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEABKL-197 and http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEABKL-172.
I use the tabs on the left, and the fact that my editor pane shifts over based on how long the filenames are in my tab list is annoying. I would keep the tabs a fixed width.

That would be a nice improvement if IDEA supports constant width tabs in all configurations (Left,Right,Top,Bottom).  I imagine many people are already used to the fixed width tabs in firefox.

-Alex

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yole wrote:

Hello L,

The big advantage is: with our long class names, often it can't even
show 4 tabs at the same time on screen. So replace "100s" by "5".


To make tabs more compact, you can enable "Hide file extension in editor
tabs" and disable "Show close button on editor tabs" options.

--
Dmitry Jemerov
Development Lead
JetBrains, Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com/
"Develop with Pleasure!"



Dmitry,

Please consider implemeting fixed (or max width) editor tabs for IDEA as mentioned by Mark above.   I used to have the tabs at the Top but was frustrated by the same issues mentioned in this thread.  Hiding file extension and disabling close button and asterisk doesn't do it when you have filenames like "MOEditGroupMembershipRequest.java".  Once I got a widescreen LCD, I switched to the tabs on the Left, and most of my issues went away, but that doesn't work nice for people without widescreen monitors.   My remaining issue is that the tabs on the left shift my editor left or right as I open/close files, depending on how long the filenames are.   I would rather have a fixed width panel, and truncate the names of long tabs.

Thanks,
-Alex

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In addition, in Visual Studio 2013 and up there is an option to display pinned tabs in a separate row. This is what makes the tab management great in Visual Studio for me. IDEA has a pin feature, but the pinned tab stays in the same spot. Is it possible to add the "Display pinned tabs in a separate row" option to IDEA? Is it possible to write a plugin to do so?

 

Thanks,

-Dan

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OK, so after yet day when tabs behaviour drove me nuts I started a bit of googling...

> What makes this very unworkable for me (maybe my mind just works that way), is that the tabs change location all the time. The rows move up and down. The thing is, when working with multiple files, somehow my mind maps where in these rows of tabs a file is. But when clicking on a tab to open another file, they all jump around, and then when going back to the previous file I have to search again in the tabs to find which file it was.

This! in Idea tabs behaviour fees completely random - I don't have problems with multiple tabs, but their position should be fixed! And new one should open at the end and then I know that that file was at this location and voila. I know this may be a bit different, but dismissing it by IDEA team with snarky "it's stupid, you should do it like that and that" is not the best response. Especially considering that majority of other multi-tab applications behaves in more sane way.

What I like:

* usually multi-line tabs (I can see all of them), ideally with fixed size;

* tabs should stay at their location and new ones should open at the end;

* in NetBeans there is this cool feature that each row of tabs represent single project (and while IDEA is way behind in handling multi-projects in the same easy manner as NB) it would be cool if it at least had option to display it on per-module basis (yes, this helps!) with side-scrolling.

 

Also - above links to the tracker returns errors/404s...

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I'll second, and third the idea that Studio's management of Tabs is nicely generic!!! It fits most use cases.

I got here because I spent 20 min meticulously finding opening and moving some 30 files, each representing a part of my build process, only to find that the first tabs were closed unknown to me. The goal was to click through the tabs (in order) so I can "see" the code in each of the tasks. YES I need lots of tabs open.

The tabs, don't scroll, or stack, or even placed in a dropdown... they don't have an overflow or any kind, they just close without being asked!!! This is awful. Never Undo what a user has done automagically!

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You can set tab limit in Settings(Preferences on Mac) | Editor | General | Editor Tabs to make the leas recently used ones to close or set it higher to never close any tabs. Also you can set placement left/right for the tabs.

Ctrl(Cmd)+E (Recent files) popup is handy for navigating between recent files in project.

See also https://www.jetbrains.com/help/idea/using-code-editor.html#manage_tabs https://www.jetbrains.com/help/idea/settings-editor-tabs.html for all the options.

You can also consider this 3rd party plugin: https://github.com/krasa/EditorGroups

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Since upgrading to 2018.2 yesterday, the set placement doesn't work for me.



Might be because I used an experimental tag to move the close button to the left in an earlier version? It was setting a variable in a text file which would put them on the left.

 

Unfortunately I can't locate the page which told me where to add that in order to take it out and see if that solved the problem...

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Hi. Could you please provide exact steps to reproduce a problem?

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Sounds like L V is a VS fanboy and should just stick that. Although I think it is the worst IDE p/dollar and the IntelliJ platform is the best. But for some that are not very tech savvy or just an ol' dog that can't learn new tricks; it might have too many options and they won't take the time to look into documentation. There is nothing that IntelliJ cannot do better than VS in regards to an IDE in general. ...except VS is much better at freezing, crashing and forgetting where I had all my tabs open.

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I've proposed adding an "Open Files" view to the Project Pane:
https://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/WI-46604

This would make navigating many open files much easier, I do this with 20+ files open in Kate (KDE editor) often. The files are shown in the directory tree, and can be shown and hidden easily with a keyboard shortcut to save screen space.

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