How to create a Live Template in PHPStorm and WebStorm

Use Live Templates to create custom code snippets that you can quickly insert into your code by typing a custom abbreviation. This is extremely handy for commonly used code blocks, such as the echo statement in php or inserting a php block into html.

In this example I’ll demonstrate how to create a php block (<?php ?>) with the cursor moved into the block, ready for the php code. The trigger for the Live Template will be ppp.

A Live Template to insert a PHP block

Note that this walkthrough is for PHPStorm, but the process should be the same or very similar for many of the JetBrains editors, such as WebStorm and IntelliJ.

  1. Open the editor and click CMD + , to open the IDE’s preferences.
  2. Navigate to Live Templates > HMTL/XML:
    PHPStorm Live Template preferences
  3. Click the ‘+’ icon in the right pane to add a new template (option 1 if prompted).
  4. Give the new template an abbreviation (the trigger text) and a description:
    PHPStorm creating a Live Template for a PHP block
  5. Add the template text. In this case, we want to create a php block in an html file and move the cursor to inside the code block, which is achieved using the IDE parameter $SELECTION$:
    PHPStorm creating a Live Template for a PHP code block
  6. Set the application context to ‘HTML Text’ and click ‘Apply’ to add the new live template:
    PHPStorm creating a Live Template for a PHP code block, assigning its context to 'HTML Text'
  7. Finally, use your new live template by typing ppp and hitting enter:
    PHPStorm using a Live Template to insert a PHP code block


Writing simple Live Templates like the one above dramatically reduces the time spent on tiny, but regular tasks.