Sync Your IntelliJ Settings Between Machines

I recently learned that it was possible to share one's IntelliJ settings between multiple machines.

Basic Setup

To do so, first install the Settings Repository plugin. Then, follow these instructions. However, do not complete step 3 (which seems inconsistent with the actual UI), but instead, redo step 2 on each machine on which you want to sync your settings (except you should use "overwrite local" or "merge" instead of "overwrite remote").

It's done! The settings should sync automatically, but you can force a re-sync by using an action of the VCS > Sync Settings menu.

Keybinding Troubles

I use IntelliJ on both Windows and MacOS.

As you may know, Macs keyboard have this layout on the bottom left of the last row:

fn | control | alt | command

On the other hand, classical IBM-style keyboard (which I use on my Windows machine) have this layout:

control | win | alt

Moreover, in MacOS, most shortcuts where control is used on Windows use command instead.

I like to keep things as similar as possible, which is why I inverted command and controlon MacOS (in System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys...).

But now I have an issue in IntelliJ: I want keybinds that use control on Windows to use command on MacOS, and vice-versa. IntelliJ is not able to make this conversion for me.

What I ended up doing was building two scripts: and (you can find them along with my IntelliJ config here).

These scripts take the MacOS / Windows version of the keymap file, and convert it to the equivalent in the other OS by converting between control and command keys (note that internally, IntelliJ calls the command key meta).

A Failed Attempt to Automate Things

This is good and well, but running these commands each time I make a change to my keybindings gets tiresome quickly.

So I tried to automate it using git hooks. I succeeded, but only when using git on the command line. My suspicion is that IntelliJ uses some kind of library that do not execute hooks.

Nevertheless, I wrote the explanation while developing it on the command line, so here it is anyway. It at least taught me how git hooks work, as well as the smudge / clean feature (which I didn't end up using).

Automating with Git Hooks

I use a pre-commit and a post-commit hook. This was based off an idea I found on Stack Overflow.

I've pushed the hooks to the same repository as my settings (look for the files named pre-commit and post-commit). To install them, you need to copy or symlink them to the .git/hooks directory of your repository.

The solution is not perfect. Namely if both the Windows and the Mac keymap have changed, the script will give up and ask you to resolve the conflict manually. Still, it works well enough for my purposes.

Locating the IntelliJ Settings Repository

To install this stuff, you'll need to locate your settings repository.

For IntelliJ 2016.3 (and presumably, it's similar for most other versions) lives in C:\Users\<USERNAME>\.IdeaIC2016.3\config\settingsRepository\repository on Windows.

On MacOS, it's /Users/<USERNAME>/Library/IdeaIC2016.3/settingsRepository/repository.