Shortcuts essentials in Xcode to speed up your workflow

Making use of essential shortcuts in Xcode can speed up development and keep you in your flow. Xcode allows you to customize a lot, but most of the shortcuts are easy to adopt by default without custom settings.

Run without building

Sometimes during development, it can be useful to run the same build again, without rebuilding to quickly test the app in certain states. This can be done by combining ^ ctrl + ⌘ command + R.

  • Run without building ^⌘R

Show document items

Within classes and files, we often search for a certain method or parameter. The document items navigator is useful for quickly navigate in files. It’s even more useful when used from a shortcut, which for Xcode by default is the combination of ^ ctrl + 6. As a bonus, ⌘ command + L makes it possible to quickly navigate to a specific line.

  • Show Document Items ^6
  • Goto line ⌘L

Jump to definition directly

Command-click no longer jumps to definition by default since Xcode 9 is introduced. It opens up a handy menu instead with a lot of options for quick editing. You can read more about this in my blog post Command-click on code options and possibilities in Xcode.

To directly jump to a definition, you can combine ^ ctrl + ⌘ command + click.

  • Jump to definition: ^⌘Click

Combing the option key (alt) with the Assistant editor

The Assistant button splits the Xcode editor in two, with your primary work document on the left and a secondary document on the right. Quite known workflows with the assistant editor:

  • Writing code on the left in combination with the Interface Builder on the right
  • Writing implementations on the left and tests on the right
  • Writing implementations on the left and headers on the right (with Objective-C)

When adopting the Assistant editor with programming in Xcode you will see that your speed of development improves. By adopting the usage of the option key, often labeled with “alt” on the keyboard, you can easily load new files in the Assistant editor.

  • ⌥ option + Clicking a search result
  • ⌥ option + Clicking an open quickly result
  • ⌥ option + Clicking a file in the file browser
  • ⌥ option + Clicking "Jump to definition" in the actions menu

Basic shortcuts you should know

A list of shortcuts which you probably already use. If not, try them out and see how they can improve your workflow.

  • Build ⌘B
  • Run ⌘R
  • Test ⌘U
  • Stop ⌘.
  • Switch between navigators ⌘(1-9)
  • Go forward ⌃⌘→
  • Go back ⌃⌘←
  • Show completions ⌃Space
  • Clean ⇧⌘K
  • Find in file ⌘F
  • Find in project ⇧⌘F

Other useful less known Xcode tips

Can’t get enough of these tips and want to learn even more? Check out my blog post Useful less known Xcode tips to improve your workflow.


Originally published at SwiftLee.

More posts and updates: @twannl