PHPStorm tips for power users

A selection of less-known-yet-powerful features of PHPStorm.

Pane modes

Every pane in PHPStorm has several modes and can be configured either by hand or via key bindings.

Working with non-pinned panes will allow for a much cleaner editor view. Binding certain panes to a key combination will show them at will.


By default, PHPStorm will only auto-import namespaces if you're already in a namespaced file. Auto imports can be configured to also work in normal PHP files in Settings > Editor > General > Auto Import.

Code templates

You can change almost every template of auto-generated code in Settings > Editor > File and Code Templates For example: generate getters and setters without docblocks, generate test functions in another format and others.


String actions

When pressing alt + enter (Show Intention Actions) on a string, you'll get multiple useful actions. Things like replace quotes to toggle between single- and double quotes, split string to.. split the string, and more.

Copy paths

Two very useful commands:

This "current file" can be the file you're editing, but could also be the selected file in the tree view or navigation bar.

Commands to toggle options

Instead of opening the settings to toggle options, there are a lot of toggles you can manage from the command palette. For example: show or hide the tabs bar.

You can open the command palette with ⌘ ⇧ A on the default Mac keymap. If you want to lookup the keybinding on your system: the command is called Find Action.

Custom JVM options

PHPStorm runs on Java, and there's a file in which you can specify extra options for the JVM to optimise performance. I've written about those options here.

Distraction free mode

Distraction free mode will hide all panes by default, but you can easily bring them back via the command palette or key bindings.

Besides this "no clutter by default", your code will also align more centered. This can be a much more pleasant reading experience. The width of this centered code view is configured in Settings > Editor > Code Style > Hard wrap at.

Color inspection

Do you want to know why a word is highlighted or change it? There's a command called Jump to Colors and Fonts which will allow you to edit the color of your current scheme, for that entry.

Any more suggestions?

Let me know via Twitter or e-mail.

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