Code Editor

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The Code Editor and the Form Designer occupy the center pane of the IDE window. The Code Editor is a full-featured, customizable UTF8 editor that provides syntax highlighting, multiple undo capability, and context-sensitive help for language elements.

As you design the user interface for your application, RAD Studio generates the underlying code. When you modify object properties, your changes are automatically reflected in the source files.

Because all of your programs share common characteristics, RAD Studio autogenerates code to get you started. You can think of the autogenerated code as of an outline that you can examine to create your program.

Code Editor Context Menu describes the context menu commands for the Code Editor.

The video RAD Studio Code Editor, by Mike Rozlog provides good hints and tips.

To help you write code, the Code Editor provides the features described in this section.

Change Bars

The left margin of the Code Editor displays a green change bar to indicate lines that have not been changed in the current editing session. A yellow change bar indicates that changes have been made since the last File > Save operation.

You can, however, customize the change bars to display in colors other than the default green and yellow. Select Tools > Options > User Interface > Editor Options > Color. In the Element drop-down menu, select Modified Line then change the foreground and the background colors.

Indenting Code

You can use the Tab key to indent the current line of code or a block of code in the Code Editor. The number of spaces that the Tab key indents is determined by the Block indent option on the Tools > Options > User Interface > Editor Options > Source option.

  • To indent a line of code, place the cursor at the beginning of the line and press Tab.
  • To indent an entire block of code, highlight the code block and press Tab.
  • To move text to the left ("outdent"), use Shift + Tab.

Formatting Code

RAD Studio provides the customizable source code formatter. Editing Delphi or C++ code in the Code Editor, you can apply the Format Source context menu command (or the Edit > Format Source menu command) to format the source code. You can set the Indentation, Spaces, Line Breaks, Capitalization, and Align formatting options under the Formatter group in the Options dialog box (Tools > Options > Formatter). Notice that the Format Source command implements automatic formatting of your code. It takes into account only formatting options specified in the Options dialog box and totally overwrites all your manual formatting implemented in the Code Editor. For example, it ignores your manual code indenting. You can select a block of code and call the Format Source command, so that only this block will be formatted.

Note: The Editor Options pages of Tools Options provide additional code formatting options, including Source Options, Color, Display, Key Mappings, and Code Insight Options. See Customizing the Code Editor.

Code Insight

Code Insight refers to a subset of features embedded in the Code Editor (such as Code Completion, Code Parameter Hints, Code Hints, Index for C++ Insights, Block Completion, Help Insight, Class Completion, Error Insight, and Code Browsing) that aid in the code writing process. These features help identify common statements you want to insert into your code, and assist you in the selection of properties and methods. For more details about these features, go to Code Insight Reference.

To enable and configure Code Insight features, choose Tools > Options > User Interface > Editor Options > Source and click on |Code Insight option.

Note: The Code Insight features are now defined per Language.

Code Completion — Ctrl+Space

The Code Completion feature displays a drop-down list of all items that contain the typed string anywhere in an identifier. To invoke Code Completion, press Ctrl+Space while using the Code Editor. Select the character and press Enter to insert the text in the code at the cursor location.

For example:

  • C++


Note: For the Clang-enhanced compiler, this feature uses a Language Server Protocol server. It is asynchronous and non-blocking.
  • Delphi


Note: Matching is case-insensitive.

Navigation Toolbar

The Navigation Toolbar is displayed at the top of the Code Editor, and it helps you move through your code.

Navigation Toolbar.png

From left to right, the Navigation Toolbar contains the following controls:

  • Used Units: The drop-down menu attached to this button UsedUnits.png displays the list of all the units that the current unit uses. Chose a unit from the list to open such unit. The menu displays the units in declaration order. You can also open the drop-down menu pressing the shortcut CTRL+ALT+N & CTRL+ALT+U.
  • File Sections: The drop-down menu attached to this button UnitSections.png displays a list of the sections in the file. These sections can include Top of File, Interface Section, Interface Uses Clause, Implementation Section, Implementation Uses Clause, Initialization Section, and Bottom of File. Choose one of these sections to display it, and to place the cursor at the beginning of such section. You can also open the drop-down menu pressing the CTRL+ALT+N & CTRL+ALT+S shortcut.
  • Types: This combo box includes the names of all the types that the current unit declares. Choose one of these types to move the cursor to the declaration of that type. The CTRL+ALT+N & CTRL+ALT+T shortcut opens the types combo box.
  • Methods: This combo box includes the names of all procedures and functions of the current unit. Choose one of these items to move the cursor to the implementation of the procedure or function. The CTRL+ALT+N & CTRL+ALT+P shortcut opens the methods combo box.
  • Project Symbol Search: The Glass.png button allows you to search for all symbols in the active selected project. The CTRL+ALT+N & CTRL+ALT+F shortcut opens the project symbol search tool. The project symbol search filters as you type. The search window displays any search that matches a substring of the symbol name; for example, about matches AboutBox, TAboutBox, and reabout.

To hide the Navigation Toolbar, follow the steps defined in: How to Hide the Navigation Toolbar.

For further details, see How to Use the Navigation Toolbar.

Code Navigation

The sections below describe features that you can use to navigate your code while you are using the Code Editor.

Method Hopping

You can navigate between methods using a series of editor hotkeys. You can also lock the hopping to occur only within the methods of the current class. For example, if class lock is enabled and you are in a method of TComponent, then hopping is only available within the methods of TComponent.

The keyboard shortcuts for Method Hopping are as follows:

  • Ctrl+Q^L -- toggles class lock.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Up arrow -- moves to the top of the current method, or the previous method.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Down arrow -- moves to the next method.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Home -- first method in source.
  • Ctrl+Alt+End -- last method in source.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Mouse_Wheel -- scrolls through methods.

Finding Classes

Allows you to find classes. Use the Search > Find Class command to see a list of available classes that you can select. After you choose one, the IDE navigates to its declaration.

Finding Units

If you are programming in the Delphi language, you can use a refactoring feature to locate namespaces or units. Use the Find Unit command to locate and add units to your code file.

Finding the Next and Previous Changes

As you edit code, you can use keystrokes to quickly navigate to the Next and the Previous changes that you have made. The keyboard shortcuts are:

  • Ctrl+Shift+F7 -- moves to the previous line modified since the file was opened (green marking in the gutter).
  • Ctrl+Shift+F8 -- moves to the next line modified since the file was opened (green marking in the gutter).
  • Alt+Shift+F7 -- moves to the previous line modified since the last save (yellow marking in the gutter).
  • Alt+Shift+F8 -- moves to the next line modified since the last save (yellow marking in the gutter).

If the next or previous line is in an elided (folded) block, the block is unfolded. Code folding is described later in this topic.

Keystrokes are the same for the following keyboard mappings: Default, IDE classic, Brief, and Epsilon. The Visual Studio and Visual Basic keyboard mappings do not have keystrokes for Next/Previous change.

Searching Source Code for Usages

If you are programming in the Delphi language, you can use the Search for Usages feature to find usages of classes, methods, variables, and overriding methods, derived classes and implemented interfaces in your source code projects.

Live Templates

Live Templates allow you to have a dictionary of pre-written code that can be inserted into your programs while you're working with the Code Editor. This reduces the amount of typing that you must do.

Use the links at the end of this topic to learn more about creating and using Live Templates.

Code Folding

Code folding lets you collapse or expand regions or blocks of code. Collapsing your code creates a hierarchical view of the code and makes it easier to read and navigate. The collapsed code is not deleted, but hidden from view until you expand it. Code folding is on by default.

To use code folding, click the plus (+) and minus (-) signs located on the left edge of the Code Editor:

  • Click the plus (+) sign to expand the associated region of code.
  • Click the minus (-) sign to collapse the associated region of code.

To enable/disable code folding:

  • Use the Code Folding check box on the Tools > Options > User Interface > Editor options.
  • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+K+O.

You can also use the context menu Fold command to fold specific types of regions, such as Types, Methods, XML Doc comments (for Delphi), and the 'Nearest' region. The Fold and Unfold commands are described in Code Editor Context Menu. For more information about code folding, including how to create code folding regions, see Using Code Folding.


Refactoring is the process of improving your code without changing its external functionality. For example, you can turn a selected code fragment into a method by using the extract method refactoring. The IDE moves the extracted code outside of the current method, determines the needed parameters, generates local variables if necessary, determines the return type, and replaces the code fragment with a call to the new method. Several other refactoring methods, such as renaming a symbol and declaring a variable, are also available.


Video! Video: Sync Editing in RAD Studio, by Mike Rozlog

The Sync Edit feature lets you simultaneously edit identical identifiers in code. As you change the first identifier, the same change is performed automatically on the other identifiers. You can also set jump points to navigate to specific sections of your code.

To-Do Lists

A To-Do List records tasks that need to be completed for a project. After you add a task to the To-Do List, you can edit the task, add it to your code as a comment, indicate that it has been completed, and then remove it from the list. You can filter the list to display only those tasks that interest you.

Keystroke Macros

You can record a series of keystrokes as a macro while editing code. After you record a macro, you can play it back to repeat the keystrokes during the current IDE session. Recording a macro replaces the previously recorded macro.


Bookmarks provide a convenient way to navigate long files. You can use two different types bookmarks in the Code Editor: Toggle Bookmarks and Stack Bookmarks.

Toggle Bookmarks

You can mark a location in your code with a toggle bookmark and jump to that location from anywhere in the file.

When you set a bookmark, a book icon Bookmark icon is displayed in the left gutter of the Code Editor. You can use up to ten bookmarks, numbered 0 Bookmark0.png through 9 Bookmark9.png, within a file.

You can drag-and-drop bookmark icons in the gutter of the Code Editor, and a moved bookmark has the number of the original bookmark.

For further details, see Using Bookmarks.

Stack Bookmarks

You can use stack bookmarks to navigate through your code. You can drop stack bookmarks in different places of your code adding them in a pile order; you can then navigate back through the pile.

When you place a stack bookmark, this icon Stack Bookmark is displayed in your code indicating the position of the stack bookmark.

For further details, see Using the Bookmark Stack.

Synchronizing Prototypes

RAD Studio provides the Sync Prototypes feature to synchronize the interface and implementation copies of your Delphi method prototypes.

The Sync Prototypes feature is only for Delphi; and allows you to sync the type of method (function, procedure, constructor, or destructor), its parameters, parameter types, parameter modifiers, and the function return type. You cannot sync the function name or the function modifiers.

If you want to sync a method prototype:

  1. Make any modification in the interface or implementation of your method prototype.
  2. Press the Sync Prototypes shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+P, or Sync Prototypes in the context menu.
  3. RAD Studio synchronizes the prototypes, making any necessary changes.

The Sync Prototypes feature helps you to keep the interface and the implementation of your prototype methods synchronized.

If RAD Studio does not find any method to synchronize, the following message is displayed: No synchronizable method found.

Limitations: Bear in mind the following limitations:

  • Overloaded methods cannot be synchronized.
  • Synchronizing prototypes of methods does not change the prototype of the methods in ancestor or descendant classes.

Structural Highlighting

Structural Highlighting

RAD Studio highlights the code structures with lines, such as begin-end blocks. The structural highlighting of RAD Studio provides enhanced syntax highlighting to help you to keep your code and your work process organized.

Structural highlighting keeps blocks of code grouped together and identifies the relevant keywords. Structural highlighting uses an alternating sequence of four colors to distinguish the depth of a particular block.

You can enable or disable the structural highlighting, and configure the colors of the lines from the structural highlighting options page.


Flow Control Highlighting

RAD Studio highlights the use of procedures that interrupt the linear flow execution in your code. The flow control highlighting of RAD Studio provides a visual reminder for lines of code that interrupt the linear execution of your project.

The icons can either appear in the gutter of the code editor, or at the end of the line that contains the flow change.

You can enable or disable the control flow highlighting, and configure the location of the icons from the structural highlighting options page.


Smart Keys

Smart Home Key

The Smart Home Key provides a shortcut to position the cursor at the beginning of the line, and at the beginning of the text.

Pressing the HOME key when you are in the Code Editor, positions the cursor at the beginning of the line where the cursor was located; pressing the HOME key again places the cursor right before the text starts in the same line. If you keep pressing the HOME key, the cursor position toggles between the beginning of the line, and the beginning of the text.

You can enable or disable the Smart Home Key in Tools > Options > User Interface > Editor Options > Key Mappings.

Smart Surround Keys

The Smart Surround Keys provide a fast way to surround your code with "()", "[]", or "{}".

To surround your code with "()", "[]", or "{}", select the text you want surround in the Code Editor, an click "(", "[", or "{". The Code Editor surrounds the selected text with "()", "[]", or "{}" according with the character you typed.

You can enable or disable the Smart Surround Keys in Tools > Options > User Interface > Editor Options > Key Mappings.

Selection Expansion

The Selection Expansion is a keyboard-only feature that allows you to select the word/identifier under the cursor and then expand the selection to larger syntactic groups such as statement, line, block, method, and so on.

Pressing the CTRL+W shortcut selects the identifier under the cursor. If you keep pressing the CTRL+W shortcut, the Code Editor expands the selection by logical groups, selecting the current expression, statement, block, and so on until you select the entire method, the whole implementation section, and finally the entire document.

Block Comments

You can comment-out a section of code by selecting the code in the Code Editor and pressing Ctrl+/ (slash). Each line of the selected code is prefixed with // and is ignored by the compiler. Pressing Ctrl+/ adds or removes the slashes, based on whether the first line of the code is prefixed with //. When using the Visual Studio or Visual Basic key mappings, use Ctrl+K+C to add and remove comment slashes.

Using F1 Help

What happens when you press F1, when the Code Editor is focused?

  • Pressing F1, when an identifier corresponding to a name of a procedure, function, constant, property, variable, field, type, program, unit, library, or package described in installed CHM help files is pointed, instructs the IDE to open a help topic describing this identifier.
    • If the installed CHM help files contain exactly one help topic describing this identifier, then this topic opens.
    • If more than one of the installed CHM help files contain topics describing this identifier, then the IDE opens the prompt dialog box listing CHM files containing such topics. If the selected CHM file contains more than one topic describing the identifier, the IDE opens the prompt dialog box listing all topics describing the identifier. Select the desired one. If the selected CHM file contains exactly one topic describing the identifier, then the IDE opens this help topic.
Note: In case of multiple topics describing an identifier, you can additionally detail the identifier selecting a qualified identifier. The syntax of a qualified identifier is: identifier1.identifier2. Where identifier1 qualifies identifier2. For example, if you point an identifier Clear, then the IDE finds hundreds of topics describing this identifier and it is rather complicated to select the desired topic. However, you can select the qualified identifier as TCollection.Clear. Then pressing F1 directly opens the uniquely defined System.Classes.TCollection.Clear topic.
If more than one help topic is associated with this token, then the IDE opens the prompt dialog box listing all topics describing the token. Select the desired topic. For example you can see this prompt dialog box, when you point the while reserved word and press F1.
  • In all other cases, pressing F1 opens this Code Editor help topic.
  • You can see topics associated with identifiers in the Index tabs of the system.chm, fmx.chm, vcl.chm, libraries.chm, codeexamples.chm, data.chm help files describing supplied libraries. Index entries in these CHM files are generated automatically during generation of CHM files from corresponding Wikis. These index entries are generated from the identifiers used in titles of Wiki topics and from global identifiers described inside topics.
  • You can see topics associated with words (tokens) corresponding to reserved words, directives, or C++ keywords in the Index tab of the topics.chm help file. These index entries should be written manually in the Index topic.

Syntax Highlighter

This feature selects and displays which syntax highlighter to use for the current file. In the Code Editor status bar the options are: Delphi, C/C++, IDL, C#, SQL, HTML, Style Sheet, PHP, JAva Script, INI File, or None.

Customize Editor's Font Size

You can set the editor's font size using the horizontal scroll bar from the Code Editor status bar.

The minimum value you can set for font size is 6 points, and the maximum is 30 points.

File Encoding

This feature selects and displays which file encoding to use for the current file. In the Code Editor status bar the options are: Text Form, Binary Form, Binary, Big Endian UCS-2, Little Endian UCS-2, Big Endian UCS-4, Little Endian UCS-4, UTF8, and ANSI. The default file encoding is set to ANSI.

See Also