Make PHPStorm even more awesome!

A few steps to get more out of PHPStorm

PHPStorm out of the box is pretty fantastic and definitely my favourite PHP IDE. But I have tweaked it a bit to cater to my current workflow and make writing code that much more efficient.

Look and Feel

Starting from a default setup (and default keymap) the first thing I did was install the Material Theme UI plugin ( and select the Material Oceanic colour scheme.
It's by bar the nicest theme I have personally used, and you can get it for a bunch of other editors so switching between them doesn't feel weird.
As for a font, I'm currently using Fira Code ( which turns common multi-character symbols in popular programming languages into single character symbols which I personally find easier to read and nicer to look at.


To edit go to preferences->keymap

I used to have the idea that its silly to learn how to use an IDE, and that writing code using a lightweight text editor or full-blown IDE should make no difference. And while I still mostly agree with that sentiment, there is no denying that IDE's have powerful features, and leveraging them can really boost your performance as a programmer.

This is my default view when working in the editor.

I normally don't need any of the extra panes open so I hide them as they can not only be distracting but a temptation to "quickly" use the mouse to navigate. Using the mouse is normally always slower and I try as hard as I can to not use it.

Open/Close the project pane by pressing CMD + 1
Use CMD+UP to quickly navigate folders

On that note, a nice way to quickly navigate the project panel is to select the 'Autoscroll from source' feature which automatically goes to your current file in the project pane

Another setting I changed is the ability to select a word and surround it with quotes automatically

So now when you highlight a work and press the open quote key the work will go from THIS to "THIS"

A useful shortcut I have made is to use CTRL+v to Split a pane vertically and then use ALT+Tab to move between the windows. You can then (as per Sublime) set CMD+p to open a file

To quickly navigate to Classes or declarations you can use CMD+down

While that's not everything I've done. it makes up 90% of my workflow.

One other thing I've done is that when deciding on making my own shortcuts. I've opted to use the same methodology behind all of them namely, use the keys CMD+SHIFT+{keypad key}. Also, try to group similar shortcuts on the same row in the number pad.

I haven't needed all keypad keys yet but what I have set are:

CMD+Shift+0 to mark all messages as read. Phpstorm warns you about a lot of things, most of the time its just noise and this is the easiest way I've found to just make them go away.

CMD+Shift+1 Git history
CMD+Shift+2 resolve conflicts.
CMD+Shift+4 local history

When working in a team these are very handy...

CMD+9 open the database tool. This is not something I use very often, but having it as a shortcut is sometimes easier than using a 3rd party tool.

Code Formatting

Shortcut to format code: CMD+ALT+L

To edit these settings go to preferences->editor->code style->PHP

While the default formatting is very good, I've made a couple of adjustments to match the way I format code without a formatter.

Namely the way I align arrays and assignments:

I've also found that a quick way to stop making silly errors is to add a comma to the last element of an array. PHPStorm can help with that also!

These are just a few of the things I've done to improve my experience using PHPStorm. It's a great tool and I recommend it quite highly above all other PHP IDEs based on its performance, stability and feature set.