Managing Maven Archetypes in IntelliJ

Recently I started using IntelliJ for Scala development. When you install IntelliJ you can also install it’s Scala plugin and hit the ground running using SBT. However, I needed a maven project.

Starting maven projects is much easier when you start from a maven archetype. An archetype is a template of a project. In my case, I wanted to use a basic Scala archetype which provided everything I would need to write my application and tests in Scala.

If you take a look at the list of default archetypes that IntelliJ knows about at install, you will see one named scala-archetype-simple. You might think that is the perfect archetype for my needs, however I wasn’t able to get it to work and every online source pointed me towards using a different archetype, which we need to add to IntelliJ.

Adding an Archetype to IntelliJ

The “Add Archetype…” button is what we want (duh). A simple dialog pops up and we can enter the GroupId, ArtifactId, and Version of the archetype we would like to add. In my case I entered:

groupId: net.alchim31.maven
artifactId: scala-archetype-simple
version: 1.6

When we click “OK”, the archetype is added to the list in the IntelliJ create project wizard. Every time we start a new Maven project, we should see the new archetype in the list.

What if we speed through this process and make a typo? What if we accidently add the same Archetype twice? … I did these things, and my archetype list got a little cluttered… but how do we remove elements from the archetype list?

Removing an Archetype from IntelliJ

Unfortunately, there is no simple “Remove Archetype” button. Luckily, all the archetypes added by users are stored in a simple XML file which we can edit. The trick is finding where the UserArchetypes.xml file is our computer.

It varies based on operating system. Here are all the locations I could find online:

  • Mac: ~/Library/Caches/IntelliJIdea12/Maven/Indices/UserArchetypes.xml
  • Linux: ~/.IntelliJIdea10/system/Maven/Indices/UserArchetypes.xml
  • Windows: C:\Users\[USR]\.IdeaIC2017\system\Maven\Indices\UserArchetypes.xml

Note: For the windows path, replace [USR] with your PC username. You may also have to change the name of the .IdeaIC2017 folder depending on what version of IntelliJ you are using.

Open the UserArchetypes.xml file in your favorite text editor, find the line which specifies the archetype you would like to remove from the IntelliJ list. Delete the XML entry, save the file, and restart IntelliJ. You should see that archetype is no longer in the list!