Improved "Open Quickly" Feature in Xcode 3.1

Xcode 3.1 has an updated version of the "Open Quickly" dialog. The purpose of the dialog has always been to jump to a specific header file, but the UI has been changed to make it far more effective. It probably seems like a minor feature overall, but it's something that you may use dozens of times per day.

Xcode Open Quickly 1

You open the dialog by going to File → Open Quickly or by typing Command-Shift-D. Now simply start typing the name of a header file, and the results will be narrowed down for you as you type. When you select one of the results, the path to the file is shown in the path control along the bottom.

Xcode Open Quickly 2

There are, of course, other ways to open header files. You can hold down Command and double-click on class or method name anywhere in your code to go its declaration, but this is just one more option. It's particularly useful if you don't remember the exact name of the thing you're looking for.
Design Element
Improved "Open Quickly" Feature in Xcode 3.1
Posted Jul 19, 2008 — 9 comments below


Hugh Bien — Jul 19, 08 6171

I think it's a great feature addition, it's one of the features I've always missed when doing Cocoa work (used to do all of my programming in TextMate).

Paul D. Waite — Jul 19, 08 6172

Yeah, TextMate’s “Open in Project” command works like this. I don’t use a mouse, so I find it invaluable.

Jussi — Jul 19, 08 6173

The Open Quickly feature has surely improved, but it is in need of further improvement. The new implemntation still does not allow searching substrings. In most cocoa projects one has same prefix on almost all files, so writing it is quite useless, and in may cases finding the files ending "Additions" or "Controller" would be the quickest way to filter the list and go to the wanted file.

I and others have submitted this to Apple as a bug. Hopefully it will be in Xcode 3.2.

Dustin Bachrach — Jul 19, 08 6174

Just thought I'd add that you can use open quickly to open not just header files but .m files too. I find this incredibly useful when I have a large project with 100s of source files. Instead of having to scroll down in the sidebar to find my files, I can just open quickly any of them in a few keystrokes.

Ahruman — Jul 20, 08 6175

There is one feature the old implementation had that the new one does not: with no project file open, you could still use Open Quickly to open headers in standard frameworks. Since switching to 3.1, I’ve discovered that I used that surprisingly often.

Scott Stevenson — Jul 20, 08 6177 Scotty the Leopard

@Ahruman: one feature the old implementation had that the new one does not: with no project file open, you could still use Open Quickly to open headers in standard frameworks

This works fine for me in Xcode 3.1.

Rob Keniger — Jul 21, 08 6178

It doesn't just open headers and .m files, it will also search the headers for method names and provide appropriate header and implementation files.

For example, try typing:


You get all the headers containing a method with that signature, such as -dictionaryWithObjectsAndKeys:.

cc — Jul 25, 08 6182

does the page auto grow?

dd — Jul 25, 08 6183

yes,it is auto-grow.


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