Excluded Files Colors

Learn about File Colors, Scopes and Excluded files


JetBrains editors are truly great for all kinds of projects, whatever big they are. However, once you’ve started working on big projects, you’re beginning to notice that it’s getting harder finding your way through open files, the project tree, the search results and so on.

Therefore, the IDEs have a nifty feature called File Colors. It allows developers to add custom colors to specific groups of files according to a pattern. For example, it could be:

  • Excluded Files
  • Tests
  • Erroneous files
  • Build Files
  • Logs
  • etc…

You can even set specific folders representing different parts/modules of your project.

These colors will be then displayed in different parts of the IDE, namely:

  • Project Tree
  • Editor Tabs
  • Find in Path Dialog
  • Search Everywhere dialog
  • Navigate to file/class/symbol dialog
  • And other places…

This will considerably reduce the time looking for a file and navigating thanks to color grepping.


The JetBrains editors come prebundled with at least two File Colors:

  • Excluded files, or files that are Marked as Excluded, and therefore excluded for indexing, searching and navigation, resulting in huge performance boosts. Such examples are node_modules, logs, vendors, gradle etc… You can mark a directory for exclusion by clicking right on the directory and select Mark Directory as…
  • Tests, which is the test directory in gradle/rails/symfony…

Specific IDEs might have other File Colors preinstalled.

You can see them in Settings → Appearance & Behavior → File Colors.

File Colors
File Colors

There you can add new Local colors, share them across projects, disable them on the project view/tabs/both, and last but not least you can reorder them to give precedence to one in case two or more file colors are falling in the same pattern rules.


These two options are pretty limited, but you can add your own file colors according to certain patterns. For example, differentiating between the docs directory than the rest of the source.

To do so, one must create a Scope. There you can define your pattern rules, which directories are included in the scope, which are excluded, and so on. Finally, add your new created scope in the File Colors list, and rise it up to the top, so it won’t be shrouded by previous file colors.


See more at File Colors

Material File Colors

Excluded Files Theme Color

File Colors are pretty neat, but the current prebundled File Colors are adapted for the Darcula/IntelliJ look and feels, not for the Material Themes.

To remedy this, the Material Theme is also coming prebundled with File Colors, specifically for Excluded files.

However, because the File Colors are user settings, and because the user could quite possibly have modified the default Excluded Files’ file colors, the plugin could not override this setting with a better suited color. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the user to change the color of the Excluded Files.

To do so, open the File Colors Settings (Appearance > File Colors), select the scope you want to change the color (for instance, “Excluded Files”) and click to the Edit button. There you’ll see a list of predefined colors, as well as one specific color named Theme, which corresponds to the current theme’s Excluded Color.

Excluded Files Color
Excluded Files Color

Moreover, if you select this color and switch to another theme, the selected theme’s excluded color will be applied without the need to reopen the settings.

However, just like many of the features of the plugin, this color option is set at the start of the IDE, meaning that if you switch to another theme you’ll need a full restart to see the new colors applied.

The excluded files color is set by the theme
The excluded files color is set by the theme

Color Reference

Deep ocean
Monokai pro
Github dark
Arc dark
One dark
One light
Solarized dark
Solarized light
Night owl
Light owl