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Editor Bookmarks Improvements in NetBeans 7.2


Existing bookmarks support in NetBeans consists of three shortcuts:

  • Ctrl+Shift+M for Toggle Bookmark on current line in a currently focused document
  • Ctrl+Shift+< and Ctrl+Shift+> for cycling through bookmarks back/forward in a currently focused document.

So at the moment the navigation is limited to a single file only.

Bookmarks Storage

Bookmarks are physically stored in private.properties file inside a project in which the particular source file with the bookmark resides. This is generally a desirable approach however it means that the IDE always works with bookmarks from currently opened projects only.

Usecases and Scenarios

Navigation Across Files

Users want to navigate through bookmarks across files. Since a global list of bookmarks can become large it's desirable to have more navigation options than just for previous/next bookmark.

Bookmarks Management

They want to see a list of all bookmarks in a window (similarly like e.g. a list of all breakpoints).

Named Bookmarks

Some users want to create named bookmarks which many editors support. But they also want to retain unnamed bookmarks which are fast to create and work with.

Updated Bookmark's Definition

In addition to the current properties of a bookmark (which is a source-file and line-number) the bookmark would newly have a name ("bookmark1", "bookmark2" etc. for unnamed bookmarks) and a shortcut consisting of a prefix shortcut Ctrl+J followed by a digit or [a-z].

Bookmark Manager

A Bookmark Manager dialog would show all the known bookmarks (from all currently opened projects). On the left there would be a table showing each bookmark's properties: name, shortcut, source-file:line-number (tooltip would show full source path). On the right there would be a preview of the code where the bookmark is located. If a new bookmark was created by Ctrl+Shift+M the dialog would preselect it when invoked so that the user can easily turn the recently created unnamed bookmark to a named one.

Updated navigation

  • Ctrl+Shift+M would toggle (an unnamed) bookmark on a current line. Possibly a warning dialog could be shown when removing a named bookmark (no warning for an unnamed bookmark).
  • Ctrl+Shift+< and Ctrl+Shift+> semantics would be changed to navigate in Bookmarks History which would be similar to Jump List navigation (or a browser navigation history). A bookmark would be added to bookmark history when it gets created (by toggling) or when it's navigated explicitly (by "Ctrl+J then [0-9a-z]").
  • Ctrl+Shift+J (currently an unoccupied shortcut) would show Bookmark Manager dialog.
  • Ctrl+J then [0-9a-z] would navigate to a concrete bookmark.


Since bookmarks are stored on a per-project basis a conflict in name and shortcut may arise. Bookmark Manager dialog would warn about both conflicting name and/or shortcut by showing them in red in the table (tooltip would show conflicting bookmark description). When shortcuts would conflict the navigation would choose the bookmark from a project opened sooner.

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