Flex Builder Shortcuts and Timesavers

Posted on: August 19, 2008

These are a few shortcuts that I’ve worked into my development routine that I couldn’t live without.


  1. Go to Definition:  Ctrl+Click on function name or variable to go to it’s definition.
  2. Auto Complete:  Ctrl+Space will bring up that handy list of auto-completion options.
  3. Ctrl+/:  Comments or uncomments the selected line(s).
  4. Ctrl+Shift+C:  Adds or removes block comment to selection.
  5. Quick Outline:  Press Ctrl+O when editing an .as or .mxml file to get a list of class variables and functions.  You can type a few characters to filter the list, and when you select one, the editor will jump to the definition.  This is way faster than using the outline window or Ctrl+F to search for something.
  6. Ctrl+Shift+T:  Browse all class types, select one to view the class definition.
  7. Alt+Down & Alt+Up:  Moves the selected line(s) up or down.  This is great for re-ordering variable declarations, mxml attributes, etc.
  8. Ctrl+Alt+Down & Ctrl+Alt+Up:  Copies the selected line(s) and pastes them above or below.  Combines 3 steps (select, copy, paste) into one!
  9. Alt+Left & Alt+Right:  Work like your browser’s back and forward buttons for your navigation history.  This is especially useful when you are control-clicking or “quick-outlining” to function or variable definitions.

Other Savory Tips:

  1. To create a series of nested folders in the project navigator, open the new->folder dialog and enter a path (e.g. com/rphelan/controls).  Eclipse will automatically create all folders in the path if they don’t already exist.  This is very useful when first creating a project.
  2. You can double-click to maximize/restore any panel in Eclipse.  I frequently expand my editor window to show the maximum amount of code possible.  (Note:  this does not legitimize writing super long lines of code.  I recommend wrapping at around 80 characters)

If several of these are new to you, try out just one or two at a time and see how you like them. Once they are second nature, try adding a few more. My theory is that the less I have to rely on my mouse when developing the better.

Want to learn more? Don’t forget that you can bring up a list of relevant shortcut key options at any time by pressing Ctrl+Shift+L.

Note: Mac users – just swap out the command key for control in each of these combos.

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