The most obvious benefit of knowing your tools is that you save time. It also makes it easier to keep a good work flow, especially if you’re working as a pair. It is understandable that the pair navigator has a harder time to focus on the task at hand if the driver is clicking around in menus instead of using key short-cuts.

So here are a few things that I find very helpful, both when working alone or when acting as a navigator in a pair programming session.

General environment short-cuts

  • Ctrl + ← and Ctrl + →    Making the cursor jump between words works in most environments I know of, and is applicable everywhere. After starting to use this, I tend to use the mouse much less. Ctrl + Delete and Ctrl + Backspace are useful as well.

IDE short-cuts

A lot of the functionality below can be reached via right-clicking on the code editing window. Still, using the short-cuts is something everyone should move towards..

Short-cut values are Eclipse IDE defaults.

  • Remove line. Ctrl + D. Probably the short-cut I use the most.
  • Create and jump to the next line. Shift + Return. Saves a fraction of a second if you’re in the middle of a line. Very similarly, Ctrl + Return pushes down the text on the current line .
  • Search for resources and types.  Ctrl + Shift + R. You can definitely do fine without removing lines quickly, but searching for resources (or restricted to type – Ctrl + Shift + T), you can’t.
  • Copy lines. Ctrl + Alt + Down/Up. Both this one, and move line below, is hugely convenient during refactoring.
  • Move lines. Alt + Down/Up.
  • Move to next compilation error or warning. Ctrl + . (dot). Not as important, but helpful. When you’re editing a file that is larger than it probably should be.
  • Run test. While in test window,  Shift + Alt + X (release keys) + T. Probably the  most complicated, and one that is rarely used in my experience. Still helpful. Pressing J instead of T runs the file as a Java Application.
  • Refactor. Shift + Alt + R. Can be used on filenames, classnames and all members, and saves a lot of name refactoring grief.
  • Correct indentation. Ctrl + I. Corrects the indentation on selected lines.
  • See where method is called. Ctrl + Alt + H. Very good to have around when getting to know someone else’s code (or maybe your own if it was some time ago).
  • See declaration of type or member.  F3. Basically jumps to the top of chosen type or class member. Extremely helpful.
  • Type hierarchy. F4.

You can bind short-cuts to everything you can imagine, just check out Windows > Preferences > General > Keys.