The Toolbar and Tab Bar in Xcode

The toolbar in Xcode (shown in the figure) includes Workspace-level tools for managing and running schemes (instructions on how to build your application), viewing the progress of (executing) tasks, and configuring the Workspace window.

That’s a lot of tools, so to keep things straight, it’s best to think of the toolbar as actually having three parts: A Flow control part, an Activity Viewer part, and a Workspace Configuration part.

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Flow controls are for defining, choosing, running, and stopping projects. A scheme defines characteristics such as build targets, build configurations, and the executable environment for the product to be built in.

The Flow controls are as follows:

  • Run button: Clicking the Run button builds and runs the targets. (A target, in this context, is the product you want to build as well as the instructions for building that product from a set of files in a project or Workspace for the currently selected scheme).

    Pressing and holding the mouse button opens a menu (which is also available in the Product menu) that allows you to run, test, profile, or analyze your application.

  • Stop button: Terminates your executing application in either the Simulator or the device.

  • Scheme menu: Lets you select the scheme and build destination to use.

  • Breakpoints button: Activates or deactivates all breakpoints.

The Activity Viewer part of the toolbar shows the progress of tasks currently executing. This viewer displays status messages, build progress, and other information about your project. Click the Issues icon in the Activity viewer to open the Issue navigator.

You use the final part of the toolbar — the Workspace Configuration part — to configure the Xcode Workspace window to suit your needs. You can use these controls to select an editor type, show or hide optional view areas, and open the Organizer window.

The Tab bar is great for keeping track of where you’ve been and what you might want to go back to. Note, however, that showing the Tab bar is optional.

If you decide that the Tab bar is something you just can’t do without, choose View→Show Tab Bar from Xcode’s main menu. You can reorder tabs, close them individually, or drag them out of the bar to create a new window.

If you lose the toolbar (or Tab bar), you can always add it back to any window by selecting View→Show Toolbar (or View→Show Tab Bar). The View menu also allows you to configure the Workspace window.

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