Downloading and Installing NetBeans IDE

These instructions describe how to download and install NetBeans, a commonly used IDE for Java programming. Using an IDE means that you have all of the tools you need in one place (your "development environment") instead of having to organize things manually. Use the instructions in Step 2 to write a simple Java program called "" and then compile and run it.

5. NetBeans - Tips & Tricks: General Usage

These are the features that I find to be most useful in NetBeans:

  1. Maximizing Window (double-click): You can double-click on the "header" of any panel to maximize that particular panel, and double-click again to restore  it back. This is particularly useful for editing source code in full panel.
  2. Code Auto-Complete (or Intelli-Sense) (ctrl-space): Enter a partial statement (e.g., Sys) and press control-space to activate the auto-complete, which displays all the available choices.
  3. Javadoc (ctrl-space, alt-F1): Place the cursor on a method or class, and press ctrl-space to view the javadoc; or right-click ⇒ Show Javadoc (alt-F1) to open it on a browser.
  4. Code Shorthand (tab): For example, you can enter "sout" and press TAB for "System.out.println "; "psvm" for "public static void main(String[] args) { } " or "fori" + tab for a for-loop. To view and configure code template, choose "Tools" menu ⇒ "Options" ⇒ "Editor" ⇒ "Code Templates".
  5. Formatting Source Code (alt-shift-f): Right-click on the source (or from the "Source" menu) ⇒ Choose "Format". NetBeans will layout your source codes with the proper indents and format. To configure the formatting, choose "Tools" menu ⇒ "Options" ⇒ "Editor" ⇒ "Formatting".
    You can also select the section of codes to be formatted, instead of the entire file.
  6. Hints for Correcting Syntax Error: If there is a syntax error on a statement, a red mark will show up on the left-margin on that statement. You could click on the "light bulb" to display the error message, and also select from the available hints for correcting that syntax error.
  7. Rename (Refactor) (ctrl-r): To rename a variable, place the cursor on that variable, right-click ⇒ "Refactor" ⇒ "Rename" ⇒ Enter the new name. All the appearances of that variables in the project will be renamed.
  8. Small Programs: You can keep many small toy programs (with main()) in one Java project instead of create a new project for each small program. To run the desired program, on the "editor" panel ⇒ right-click ⇒ "Run File".
  9. Source Toggle Comment: To temporarily comment-off a block of codes, choose "Source" ⇒ "Toggle Comment".
  10. Error Message Hyperlink: Click on an error message will hyperlink to the corresponding source statement.
  11. Command-Line Arguments: To provide command-line arguments to your Java program in NetBeans, right-click on the "project" ⇒ "Set as Main Project" ⇒ "Set Configurations" ⇒ "Customize..." ⇒ "Run" ⇒ select the "Main" class ⇒ type your command-line arguments inside the "Arguments" field ⇒ choose "Run" menu ⇒ "Run Main Project".
  12. Line Numbers: To show the line numbers, right-click on the left-margin ⇒ "Show Line Numbers".
  13. Changing Font Face and Size: Tools ⇒ Options ⇒ Fonts & Colors ⇒ In "Category", select "Default" ⇒ In "Font", choose the font face and size.
  14. Resetting Window View: If you mess up the window view (e.g., you accidentally close a window and cannot find it anymore), you can reset the view via "Window" menu ⇒ "Reset Windows".
  15. Code Templates: For example, when you create a new Java class, NetBeans retrieves the initial contents from the "Java Class" code template. To configure code templates, select "Tools" menu ⇒ "Templates" ⇒ Choose the desired template ⇒ "Open in Editor". To set a value of a variable used in the all the code templates (e.g., $User ), select "Tools" menu ⇒ "Templates" ⇒ "Settings".
  16. Displaying Chinese Character: Need to choose a font that support chinese character display, such as "Monospace", in Tools ⇒ Options ⇒ Fonts & Colors ⇒ Syntax ⇒ default.
  17. Changing the JDK Location: The Netbeans configuration file is located at "etc\netbeans.conf". Edit the directive "netbeans_jdkhome ".