Using NetBeans IDE on Mac OS X

The following is an overview of useful information that we hope will help you to get NetBeans IDE up and running in Mac OS X.

System Requirements and Installation

For the minimum and recommended hardware configuration, see the NetBeans IDE 8.0 Release Notes.

For Mac OS X installation instructions, see the NetBeans IDE 8.0 Installation Instructions for Mac OS X.

Issues and FAQs

See the following documents for Mac-related issues and FAQs.

Shortcuts on Mac OS X

The IDE has a default set of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to invoke functions. In some cases, the default IDE shortcuts can conflict with default Mac OS shortcuts. In particular, some function keys used by the Mac OS are known to conflict with some default IDE shortcuts. If you find that some keyboard shortcuts are not behaving as expected, you can modify the shortcut for a particular IDE function by choosing NetBeans > Preferences (Cmd-,) from the main menu and clicking Keyboard in the Options window. You can modify the default Mac OS shortcut by opening System Preferences and clicking Keyboard & Mouse. For more, see the Apple Help topic Using function keys on portable computers.

For a list of NetBeans' Source Editor keyboard equivalents on Mac OS X, see the following table:

Scrolling and Selecting
Keys Action
Cmd-[ Moves the insertion point to the highlighted matching bracket. Note that this shortcut only works when the insertion point is located immediately after the opening bracket.
Cmd-Shift-[ Selects the block between a pair of brackets. Note that this shortcut only works when the insertion point is located immediately after either the opening or closing bracket.
Ctrl-G Jumps to any specified line.
Cmd-A Selects all text in the file.

Modifying Text
Keys Action
Cmd-Shift-J Opens the Internationalize dialog box that you can use to insert an localized string at the insertion point.

Code Folding
Keys Action
Cmd-Minus (-) Collapses the block of code in which the insertion point is currently located.
Cmd-Plus (+) Expands the block of code which is adjacent to the insertion point.
Cmd-Shift-Minus (-) Collapses all blocks of code in the current file.
Cmd-Shift-Plus (+) Expands all blocks of code in the current file.

Recording Macros
Keys Action
Cmd-J then S Initiates the recording of key sequences for a macro.
Cmd-J then E Stops the recording of key sequence for a macro and opens the Recorded Macro dialog enabling you to name the new macro.

Cutting, Copying, Pasting, and Deleting Text
Keys Action
Cmd-Z Undo. Reverses a series of editor actions one at a time (excluding Save).
Cmd-Y Redo. Reverses a series of Undo commands one at a time.
Cmd-X Cut. Deletes the current selection and places it on the clipboard.
Cmd-C Copy. Copies the current selection to the clipboard.
Cmd-V Paste. Pastes the contents of the clipbard at the insert point.
Delete Delete. Deletes the current selection.
Cmd-E Deletes the current line.
Cmd-K Copies the word preceding the insertion point and then pastes it after the insertion point (the insertion point must be in the whitespace preceeding or following a word). Press K multiple times to cycle through preceding words in succession.
Cmd-L Copies the word following the insertion point and pastes it at the insertion point (the insertion point must be located in the whitespace preceeding or following a word.) Press L multiple times to cycle through consecutive following words.

Searching for Text
Keys Action
Cmd-G Selects the next occurrence of the word found during the search.
Cmd-Shift-G Selects the previous occurrence of the word found during the search.
Cmd-F Opens the Find dialog box.
Cmd-R Opens the Find and Replace dialog box.

Setting Tabs
Keys Action
Tab Shifts all text to the right of the insertion point one tab stop to the right.
Cmd-T Shifts text in the line containing the insertion point to the right one tab stop.
Cmd-D Shifts text in the line containing the insertion point to the left one tab stop.

Modifying Code
Keys Action
Ctrl-Spacebar Opens the Java code completion dialog box.
Shift-Enter Enters the text that is selected in the code completion box into your file.
Ctrl-I Opens the Insert Code pop-up menu.
Ctrl-Shift-I Adds an import statement to the import section of the code when the cursor is over the class name to be imported.
Shift-Spacebar Adds a space without checking for abbreviations to expand.

Using Bookmarks
Keys Action
Cmd-F2 Sets or unsets a bookmark at the current line.
F2 Goes to the next bookmark.

For a complete list of NetBeans IDE keyboard equivalents, check the Keyboard Shortcuts Card by choosing Help > Keyboard Shortcuts Card. Alternately, you can reference the Keyboard Shortcuts section of the NetBeans IDE built-in Help.

You can access the Options window on Mac OS X by selecting NetBeans > Preferences (⌘-,) in the main menu.

Tips & Tricks

The following are some techniques you can use to get more out of NetBeans IDE on Mac OS X.

  • To emulate right mouse click behavior.

    Use Ctrl-click by pressing and holding the Control button while clicking. Also see issue #32463 regarding right-click emulation on multiple files.

  • To specify which JDK to run NetBeans on.

    Use the --jdkhome <path> option when starting NetBeans. <path> is the root of the JDK installation. The NetBeans installer looks for suitable JDK installations available on user's system and allows you to select the one you want to run NetBeans on. However, the setting may become obsolete when the user installs a new JDK later, or may be inconvenient if you want to run the IDE with another JDK. That's where the --jdkhome switch comes in handy.

    Note: If you want to set the <path> option permanently, you can do so in the netbeans.conf file as described below.

  • To make custom startup parameters permanent.

    If you want NetBeans to always start with specific options such as --userdir, --jdkhome, --fontsize, etc., so that you don't have to type them on the command line at every launch, the most convenient way is to add your custom options directly to the NetBeans configuration (netbeans.conf) file.

    To do this, Control-click the NetBeans application icon and choose Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. In the Finder window that appears, navigate to the Contents/Resources/NetBeans/etc/ directory, Control-click netbeans.conf, choose Open With from the contextual menu, and select your preferred text editor. Then add the custom parameters you wish to use and save your changes.

    The netbeans.conf file can include the following entries:

    • netbeans_default_userdir: the default location and name of the userdir. Note that this entry is only valid in the global configuration file. It cannot be redefined in the local netbeans.conf file, because the launcher already needs to know the location of the userdir when the local netbeans.conf file is being processed.
    • netbeans_default_options: any parameters passed to NetBeans or the JVM such as memory configuration parameters, debugging options, --fontsize, various experimental switches, etc.
    • netbeans_jdkhome: the default location of the JDK to run NetBeans on. Note that this can be overridden with the --jdkhome switch.

More Information

For more information, visit

You can also find news, articles, additional modules, and other useful information on the NetBeans project web site. Since NetBeans is an open-source project, the web site also provides access to source code, a bug database, information on creating your own NetBeans modules, and much more.


If you encounter any Mac OS X-specific problems, please let us know by filing a bug, but don't forget to specify that you are using the Mac OS X operating system.

You can also keep up to date on NetBeans IDE and interact with the NetBeans community by signing up for NetBeans project mailing lists at

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