‘Forcing’ Line Breaks in Oracle SQL Developer

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Oracle SQL Developer is at its heart, an Interactive Development Environment (IDE.) So it comes with the territory that developers should expect to be able to write good code quickly. One of the many code ‘helpers’ that a good IDE will provide is a Formatter.

Formatters, or code beautifiers as they’re also known, take poorly formatted text and make them readable again.

This generally comes down to good management of whitespace.

Let’s look at a very quick example:

Raw, Unformatted SQL

Hard to read, much?

Ctrl+F7 = Presto-changeo!

Formatted SQL


But My Formatter is Broken!

Generally speaking, when SQL Developer is doing something you don’t like, there’s an option for that. The Formatter has an entire page of it’s preferences, and you can even set different formatting styles for Oracle and…well, non-Oracle SQL statements.

There’s one particular preference that has kicked me in the pants more than once. Let’s take a look at a much simpler, smaller bit of SQL:

Small statement, still hard to read (for me)

Ctrl+F7 = Nada!?!

Threshold for small SQL

Line Breaks are inserted when you format your SQL statements. There’s one preference that can get in the way, ‘Oracle – Line Breaks – Threshold for small SQL.’

This tells SQL Developer to not make 1 line into multiple lines.

If I change that preference from 80 to something like ’15,’ then my formatted SQL statement now looks like this:

If you don’t like this, then set the options more to your liking.

Now if you’re afraid of breaking something with your formatting preferences, you can preview the code being formatted live in the preference dialog as you toggle and change the options. So you don’t have to guess so much as to what the settings actually do.

Why am I blogging this particular option? Because it’s gotten me in trouble more than once, and now I have a great reminder for the fix when it rears its ugly head again!

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