IntelliJ Platform Plugin SDK Help


Extensions are the most common way for a plugin to extend the IntelliJ Platform's functionality in a way that is not as straightforward as adding an action to a menu or toolbar.

The following are some of the most common tasks accomplished using extensions:

  • The com.intellij.toolWindow extension point allows plugins to add tool windows (panels displayed at the sides of the IDE user interface);

  • The com.intellij.applicationConfigurable and com.intellij.projectConfigurable extension points allow plugins to add pages to the Settings/Preferences dialog;

  • Custom language plugins use many extension points to extend various language support features in the IDE.

There are more than 1000 extension points available in the platform and the bundled plugins, allowing to customize different parts of the IDE behavior.

Exploring Available Extensions

Extension Point List contains all available extension points in IntelliJ Platform and from bundled plugins in IntelliJ IDEA. Additionally, dedicated Extension Point Lists specific to IDEs are available under Part VIII - Product Specific. Browse usages inside existing implementations of open-source IntelliJ Platform plugins via IntelliJ Platform Explorer.

Alternatively (or when using 3rd party extension points), all available extension points for the specified namespace (defaultExtensionNs) can be listed using auto-completion inside the <extensions> block in plugin.xml. Use View | Quick Documentation in the lookup list to access more information about the extension point and implementation (if applicable). See Explore the IntelliJ Platform API for more information and strategies.

Declaring Extensions

  1. Add an <extensions> element to your plugin.xml if it's not yet present there. Set the defaultExtensionNs attribute to one of the following values:
    • com.intellij, if your plugin extends the IntelliJ Platform core functionality.

    • {ID of a plugin}, if your plugin extends the functionality of another plugin (must configure Plugin Dependencies).

  2. Add a new child element to the <extensions> element. The child element name must match the name of the extension point you want the extension to access.

  3. Depending on the type of the extension point, do one of the following:
    • If the extension point was declared using the interface attribute, for newly added child element, set the implementation attribute to the name of the class that implements the specified interface.

    • If the extension point was declared using the beanClass attribute, for newly added child element, set all attributes annotated with the @Attribute annotations in the specified bean class.

To clarify this procedure, consider the following sample section of the plugin.xml file that defines two extensions designed to access the com.intellij.appStarter and com.intellij.projectTemplatesFactory extension points in the IntelliJ Platform and one extension to access the another.plugin.myExtensionPoint extension point in another plugin another.plugin:

<!-- Declare extensions to access extension points in the IntelliJ Platform. These extension points have been declared using "interface". --> <extensions defaultExtensionNs="com.intellij"> <appStarter implementation="com.myplugin.MyAppStarter" /> <projectTemplatesFactory implementation="com.myplugin.MyProjectTemplatesFactory" /> </extensions> <!-- Declare extensions to access extension points in a custom plugin "another.plugin" The "myExtensionPoint" extension point has been declared using "beanClass" and exposes custom properties "key" and "implementationClass". --> <extensions defaultExtensionNs="another.plugin"> <myExtensionPoint key="keyValue" implementationClass="com.myplugin.MyExtensionPointImpl" /> </extensions>

Extension Default Properties

The following properties are available always:

  • id- unique ID

  • order- allows to order all defined extensions using first, last or before|after [id] respectively

  • os- allows restricting extension to given OS, e.g., os="windows" registers the extension on Windows only

If an extension instance needs to "opt out" in certain scenarios, it can throw ExtensionNotApplicableException in its constructor.

Extension Properties Code Insight

Several tooling features are available to help configure bean class extension points in plugin.xml.

Properties annotated with @RequiredElement are inserted automatically and validated (2019.3 and later). If the given property is allowed to have an explicit empty value, set allowEmpty to true (2020.3 and later).

Property names matching the following list will resolve to FQN:

  • implementation
  • className
  • serviceInterface/ serviceImplementation

  • ending with Class (case-sensitive)

A required parent type can be specified in the extension point declaration via nested <with>:

<extensionPoint name="myExtension" beanClass="MyExtensionBean"> <with attribute="psiElementClass" implements="com.intellij.psi.PsiElement"/> </extensionPoint>

Property name language (or ending in *Language, 2020.2+) resolves to all present Language IDs.

Similarly, action resolves to all registered <action> IDs.

Specifying @org.jetbrains.annotations.Nls validates a UI String capitalization according to the text property Capitalization enum value (2019.2 and later).

Attributes with Enum type support code insight with lowerSnakeCased notation (2020.1 and later).

Last modified: 22 September 2021