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Efficiently Find Files with RubyMine's Navigation Bar

RubyMine’s powerful “Go to file” command allows you to quickly jump to a particular file in a project. This is a great way to get started, but a development session often ends up being confined to a small set of files and directories. It’s inefficient to constantly search project-wide. Instead, use RubyMine’s convenient inline navigation bar to find nearby files. In this post, we’ll take a look at it on OS X.

Navigation Bar Basics

Open the navigation bar with command + Up.

show navigation bar

Navigate the navigation bar with the arrow keys or control + N and control + P. If you know the name of the file or directory you’re looking for, start typing it to find it via search.

navigation bar speed search

This search bar supports many of the same fuzzy search features available in “Go to file”, command + shift + O.

The navigation bar can also be permanently docked. Use “Find Action”, command + shift + A, then search for “Navigation Bar”.

docked navigation bar

Managing Files

File management commands available in the Project tool window also work in the navigation bar.

  • command + N – create a new file or directory
  • F5 – copy a file or directory
  • shift + F5 – clone a file or directory
  • F6 – move a file or directory
  • shift + F6 – rename a file or directory
  • backspace or delete – delete a file or directory

Performing these commands from the inline navigation bar minimizes context switching. It also avoids wasting screen space on the Project tool window.

Preview files from the navigation bar with “Quick Definition”, option + spacebar.

navigation bar quick definition

Working Locally

Development of a particular feature or bug fix is often localized to a set of code and test files. An effective strategy is to find a known initial file with “Go to file”, command + shift + O, then work with and manage nearby related files and directories with the navigation bar. The navigation bar becomes a sort of local “Go to file” command.

  1. Ross says:

    Yet another awesome RubyMine feature I was unaware of. Great stuff Jared. For others on this page, don’t miss the prior article on quick commands:

    Now my question: Which keybindings are you using that map option + spacebar to “Quick Definition”?

  2. Jared Carroll says:

    Thanks Ross.

    I’m using the “Mac OS X 10.5+” keymap: . This PDF lists “Open quick definition lookup” as command + shift + I. However, this shortcut doesn’t work.

    When I search for “quick definition” in the “Find Action” search bar (command + shift + A) it lists the shortcut as option + spacebar.

    In the preferences dialog, the “Mac OS X 10.5+” keymap lists two “Quick Definition” shortcuts: option + spacebar, and command + Y.

  3. Nice article Jared. I find “command + E” also useful to open recent files.

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