Editor Tabs annoying



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?


Thankfully IDEA has gotten better with it's tab management as of recent (2018.3+), but there are still issues with the default settings.

What I like to do is use multiple monitors and categorize open tabs, grouped by using editor splits.
but even then there's a problem because the minimum width you can size a split to is huge
(should be 10px (customizable) before appending a 8px (customizable) drag-bar to the side)
the height is also huge, but not as bad
(should be customizable to the height of the tab bar before appending a 8px (customizable) drag-bar to the top/bottom)

you can probably guess I prefer screen real-estate, so I prefer my tabs in a single bar.
thankfully the overflow/drop-down box makes up for this,
but the enforced auto-closing of tabs is unacceptable, so I've increased my tab limit to 100.

I also show the side-bars and bottom bar just because I like to overlay the file structure by clicking on the [Project] button/tab

so yeah, it's not uncommon for me to have 300 tabs open, organized within 12 editor splits denoting program sections.
that's what an IDE is designed for after all. :P


done, thank you for the references. ;)

hopefully this puts effort into making IDEA something a little more worth supporting.
(pretty sad when free IDEs like Eric and PySide have better functionality in areas that only take basic common sense to figure out)
^ why not use them? because intellisense (not just Code Completion) in IDEA is superior to all except VS.


@Tcll: In regards to handling large numbers of tabs, what has improved since 2018.3? I am using the EAP but do not notice any improvement in this area.


@Dotan Cohen: I haven't tested every last version because I usually run an update for a long period of time.
(to set an example, one of my machines has been (and is still) running for 43 days, just imagine IDEA not being closed on it)
I just referenced the version I'd been using for that time as I was unsure if the feature had been added prior... :P

I'll admit though I may have left out some initial information needed to fuzz the major version used.

> Wayne Ritchie Wrote:
> Sounds like L V is a VS fanboy and should just stick that.
FWIW: still using IntelliJ, 10 years later now
I solved my problem long ago by using vertical tabs on the right side (which supports much more of them since it's vertical) and having them in alphabetical order :)

@L V: I'm glad you did, but I'm doing this for everyone
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one noticing the lack of common sense in IDEA's development ;)

this area with the tabs and window splits is only 1 major part, there's a ton more I'm trying to cover for everyone's sake.

for example, custom wine runners for windows-based interpreters, which is something I'd brought up a few years ago that still doesn't exist.
(specifying a local wine executable and prefix)
^ I have 3 wine installations, and being able to specify which one to load for my interpreter would be better than relying on the system default I don't have.


@Tcll: No matter which version, to which improvements are you referring to with this comment:

> Thankfully IDEA has gotten better with it's tab management as of recent 

I have not seen any improvement in a long time, which is why I filed a feature request to add an "Open Files" view to the Project Pane:


@Dotan Cohen: I was mainly referring to the stability of the dropdown button...
I do remember that used to jump about in earlier versions (I think 2015 or so, not real sure there) and be an utter pain to manage.

The only major grievance I have with it is the 15 tab limit before it starts auto-closing tabs, which shouldn't be there but only as a workaround for a memory bug to soon be fixed in the next few patches, if not an optional preference disabled by default.
NOTE: this is logic, not an opinion, I speak with common sense options for everyone, not bias options I happen to really like.
When dealing with a large project (as IDEs are meant to manage), it's really distracting to have to close tabs.
Closing tabs is more of a valid excuse for ETEs like Sublime which aren't meant for large projects like IDEs are.

So yeah, having tabs in a single row has actually gotten manageable in recent versions if you increase the tab limit to 100 or so per editor.

The only other issue I've really had is with focus when opening documents, but that's on me :P
But the documents always open to the right of the current document and not randomly about the tab bar.
Though when dragging a selection of documents to the tab bar, the order does appear to open randomly >.>
(had to deal with that when a workspace restoration referred to another root directory, causing all my splits to only have 1 of the same document open)


Please sign in to leave a comment.