IntelliJ Platform Plugin SDK Help


The IntelliJ Platform user interface makes extensive use of popups \- semi-modal windows that have no chrome (explicit closing buttons) and disappear automatically on focus loss. Making use of these controls in your plugin ensures a consistent user experience between your plugin and the rest of the IDE.

Popups can optionally display a title, are optionally movable and resizable (and support remembering their size), and can be nested (show another popup when an item is selected).

The JBPopupFactory interface allows you to create popups that display different kinds of components, depending on your specific needs. The most commonly used methods are:




Generic, allows showing any Swing component.

Example: IntentionPreviewPopupUpdateProcessor creating a popup rendering the intention preview.


For choosing one or more items from a plain java.util.List.

Example: ShowMessageHistoryAction creating a popup with recent commit messages history in the commit message text area.


For choosing between two options, and performing different actions depending on which option is selected.

Example: VariableInplaceRenamer creating confirmation popup after invalid variable name is provided in the inplace rename action.


Show actions from an Action Group and executes the action selected by the user.

Example: ShowRecentFindUsagesGroup invoked via Edit / Find Usages / Recent Find Usages and showing recent find usages group popup.

Action Groups

Action group popups support different ways of choosing an action from the keyboard, in additional to the normal arrow keys. By passing one of the constants in the JBPopupFactory.ActionSelectionAid enumeration, you can choose whether an action can be selected by pressing a key corresponding to its sequential number, typing part of its text (speed search) or pressing a mnemonic character. For popups with a fixed set of items, the recommended selection method is sequential numbering; for popups with a variable and potentially large number of items, speed search typically works best.

List Popups

If you need to create a list-like popup which is more flexible than a simple JList but don't want to represent the possible choices as actions in an action group, you can work directly with the ListPopupStep interface and the JBPopupFactory.createListPopup() method. Normally you don't need to implement the entire interface; instead, you can derive from the BaseListPopupStep class. The key methods to override are getTextFor() (returning the text to display for an item) and onChosen() (called when an item is selected). By returning a new popup step from the onChosen() method, you can implement hierarchical (nested) popups.

Showing Popup

Once you've created the popup, you need to display it by calling one of the show() methods. You can let the IntelliJ Platform automatically choose the position based on the context, by calling showInBestPositionFor(), or specify the position explicitly through methods like showUnderneathOf() and showInCenterOf().

If you need to perform some action when the popup is closed, you can either attach a listener to it using the addListener() method, override a method of the popup contents such as PopupStep.onChosen(), or attach an event handler to your own component within the popup.

Last modified: 28 April 2023