Flash Builder Keyboard Shortcuts

Very cool news this morning for Flex developers – Flash Builder 4 was released last night. You can get it now.

I’m a long time Visual Studio user, and I knew every keyboard shortcut I needed to know to spend my days developing software without touching the mouse. For some reason with all the time I spent developing Java and ActionScript code recently, I still hadn’t figured out the essential keyboard shortcuts so I spent a few minutes with it. And for your benefit, here’s what I found.

A couple of the shortcuts fall back to using Ctrl-3 (or Cmd-3 on the Mac). This opens a great Eclipse dialog that lets you type in the name of any Eclipse command, in the menus or elsewhere, and execute it. You can also abbreviate based on the capital letters in the command – so, for example, to get to the Variables view you can hit Cmd-3-vv-Enter.

There are things like Ctrl-Alt-Q-D to get to the Declarations view, but I find it easier to remember to hit Ctrl-3-DEC. Plus the Ctrl-3 window remembers previous choices so eventually if you use this view a lot it will be Ctrl-3-DE or Ctrl-3-D.


Shortcut Description
Ctrl-Space Auto-completion
Ctrl-1 Offers a menu of items that are relevant to the current cursor location. This can
include quick fixes for errors, and refactoring options. (This is more of a Java shortcut).
Ctrl-O Opens a picker for functions in the current file
Ctrl-/ Comment out (or un-comment out) the selection
Ctrl-Shift-L List ALL current keyboard shortcuts for the current context
Ctrl-. Auto-completion
Ctrl-Space Pops up a list of symbols relevant in the current context
Ctrl-Alt-Q Switch views – Pops up a list of views
Ctrl-E Opens a menu of all currently-open files for quick switching
Ctrl-Shift-R Open Resource – open any file in the workspace by typing its name
Ctrl-Shift-T Open Type – open the source for any class typing its name
Ctrl-L Go to line
F3 Go to the declaration of the current symbol
Ctrl-Q Go to last edit location


Shortcut Description
Ctrl-Shift-B Toggle breakpoint
F11 start debugging the project whose file you’re currently editing
F5 Step Into
F6 Step Over
F8 Continue Execution
Ctrl-3 Terminate Terminate execution

I’m not saying these are all the useful shortcuts – scroll through the Ctrl-Shift-L list sometime for lots more – but these are the ones I find myself using frequently.

If you are willing to touch the mouse sometime, here’s a great navigation tip: Hold down Ctrl or Cmd when hovering over any symbol and it turns into a hyperlink. Click on it, and it takes you to the definition.

BTW I saw something interesting on the weekend – the Electronic Arts Download Manager, which they use for electronic software distribution on Mac and PC – uses AIR for it’s GUI front end. Nice way to cut down on cross-platform development cost.