Quick Eclipse Tip

March 13th, 2013 Jim Kiley, Consultant  (email the author)

Thanks to tabbed web browsers and Office, I am in the habit of using control-tab (and its spouse, control-shift-tab) to switch between tabs in applications.

I want to use these bad boys to flip through my editors in Eclipse.  Does anybody know the default keybinding for “next editor” and “previous editor” in Eclipse? Anybody? It’s control-F6 and control-shift-F6.  I can do control-tab without moving my hands from the keyboard, but control-F6? F6 is a full astronomical unit*† away from my fingertips.

If I’m using a highly-customizable tool like an IDE, I make a point of figuring out how to fix anything that annoys me.  So here’s how to fix this keybinding issue in Eclipse. It’s super easy.

Go to Windows > Preferences > General > Keys

Click on the text box near the top, and search for “next editor”. Eclipse narrows down its results set as you type, so as soon as you see the “next editor” row in the result set, click on it.

Now, in the “binding” text area, click the mouse, then hit backspace to delete the mapping that’s already in there (ctrl + F6). Then hit ctrl + tab, and click Apply.

Next repeat the above process to replace ctrl + shift + F6 with ctrl + shift + tab:

In the search area search for “previous editor” and click on the result row when it comes up. In the “binding” text area, click the mouse, then hit backspace to delete the mapping that’s already in there (ctrl + shift + F6), then hit ctrl + shift + tab, and click Apply.

Then click OK.

And your life improves just a little bit.

* Approximately 93 million miles
† It isn’t actually that far

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ben Northrop  |  March 14th, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Great tip. Thanks!

  • 2. @iamcoder  |  April 22nd, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    why you are not using { alt+ -> && alt + <- } ?

  • 3. Jim Kiley  |  April 23rd, 2013 at 10:04 am

    @iamcoder — I’m sure there are plenty of other shortcuts that work great. I’m not trying to tell folks how to work. My fingers are very very used to control-tab for navigating among tabs, so I implemented that here. This particular part of Eclipse can be used to help the Eclipse UI better fit your own personal preferences.

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