Auto-Replace in Oracle SQL Developer?

thatjeffsmith SQL Developer 24 Comments

Tell Others About This Story:

I get this question every few months, and I got it again last week in Denver –

How can we setup auto-replace in SQL Developer? If I accidentally type ‘form’ I want it to come out as ‘from’ for example.

I’m not a huge fan of the IDE ‘automatically’ doing things with my editor text. What if I really wanted to type ‘form?’ BUT, we can get you there with the SQL Editor Code Templates.

Go to the preferences :)

Go to the preferences 🙂

So type, then hit Ctrl+Spacebar to activate.

Or watch the movie:

type and ctrl+spacebar to activate the replacement

type and ctrl+spacebar to activate the replacement

Tell Others About This Story:

Comments 24

  1. Hi Jeff,
    I have a problem to get this working. I am using a german keeboard. Even the predifined code templates do not work propably. Any thoughts what could be the problem?

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
  2. This is the app installed on remote machine, I think this is the issue I have to live with 🙂 Thank you a lot for explaining the reason. of my issue. Will read all your blogs further, they are really usefull.

  3. Hello Jeff,

    Thank you a lot for sharing all the informationyou gathered. I have a question for me ctr+space bar does not work, do you have any idea why? Might it be that this short cut is not set in preferences? If so which action has to be shortcuted?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. thatjeffsmith Post

      it’s probably not working b/c the parser can’t ID what text you have at the cursor – the most basic test is something like the following in a completely blank worksheet:

      select * from scott.

      Does that bring up the list of tables from SCOTT like BONUS, DEPT, EMP?

      1. Nope, nothing happens. Does this SCOTT a regular table which is present like a dummy information in all the DBs? When I’m typing my ‘auto replace word’ tooltip appears with the ‘to replace’ code, but nothing happens on hitting ctr+space, I can just double click it by mouse, but the thing is that it looks after this like ‘auto replace word”to replace’ . What I’m expecting is to see only ‘to replace’ part within worksheet.

        Best regards,

      2. thatjeffsmith Post

        Sorry, I got off on the wrong track when you brought up ctrl+spacebar – I was thinking of the code insight, not the auto-replace. I found some bugs in that in an earlier release. What version of the tool are you using today?

      3. thatjeffsmith Post
  4. Hi Jeff!

    Is there any chance that some day we would be able to write code like this:

    1) sf table_name (of course I expect autocomplete to suggest the table_name)
    2) press Tab
    3) IDE generates ‘SELECT ? FROM table_name’ with cursor placed at question mark to continue with query editing.

    I’m so tired of having to type ‘SELECT * FROM table_name’ and then get back to ‘*’ to finish the query autocompleting column names.

    1. thatjeffsmith Post

      Maybe. You should suggest that on the Exchange as a new feature.

      I commend you on not using select * queries though – explicitly named columns is one of my favorite best practices. Have you noticed the hover/expand feature for ‘*’ in 4.0 though? If you pick up your mouse you can hover/click to explode the * to the fully qualified list of columns. Not what you want, but maybe just a bit less frustrating?

  5. Hi ,
    In PL-SQL Developer , we used to have a Auto Replace functionality which automatically import all the auto_replace.dfn (A definition file ) with multiple shortcuts at a go . Looks like that is not the case here and you need to type each one of them separately .

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
      1. That sure would be a nice feature to have…
        for example in my case I work in several environments and would be nice to have an easy way to export-import them.

        anyway do you have to activate this somewhere?
        because I do type ctrl+space after my auto-replace and nothing seems to happen.

        maybe I have to set it up somewhere else before?

      2. thatjeffsmith Post
      3. yeah I was not so smart.
        I kept reading the rest of the comments and found your answer about similar problem and yes I am also in 3.0 release.
        Will have to try and ask my company to update our sql developer version…

        but mainly I just commented on this reply because I was also expecting to find such a feature of export-import of the auto replaces.
        maybe I can find it somewhere in the configuration folders… most likely not

      4. thatjeffsmith Post
      5. ok it work in the 4.0.2 thanks.
        by the way is there a way to change the trigger from ctrl+space to something else?

      6. thatjeffsmith Post
  6. I ran into the exact same issue as Brian. Following Jeff’s suggestion – I renamed the top-level directory and tried again. That sorted the issue.

    This is fishy!

    1. thatjeffsmith Post
  7. I really enjoy your blog.
    A quick issue here.

    I’ve reinstalled the most recent SQLDeveloper today ( and installed jdk-7u51-windows-x64.exe

    When i start sqldeveloper.exe i get the following message..
    “Warning – could not install some modules: Dynamic Module Config – No module providing the capability org.netbeans.Netbinox could be found.”

    My sql developer 3.2 works just fine.
    What could be the issue ?



    1. thatjeffsmith Post

      I have guesses:

      1) bad download
      2) you extracted it into an existing directory (the word reinstall makes me nervous, ALWAYS extract to a fresh directory)
      3) Do you have a org-netbeans-modules-netbinox.jar file in your 4.0.1 ‘install?’

      You might want to post this over onto the OTN forums as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *