How to Use the Jump Bar in Xcode4 - dummies

By Neal Goldstein, Dave Wilson

Here’s how to navigate the files in your iOS6 application project using the Jump bar and the navigators, as well as how to work with the source editor to enter code. And for when you are confused, or simply just curious, you can access the documentation and Xcode’s Help system.

A Jump bar appears at the top of each Editor area pane to provide an alternative way to navigate through the files and symbols in your project. You can use the Jump bar to go directly to items at any level in the Workspace.

A Jump bar is an interactive, hierarchical mechanism for browsing items in your workspace. Each editor area includes a Jump bar, as do Interface Builder and the documentation organizer. The configuration and behavior of each Jump bar is customized for the context in which it appears.

The darker Jump bar you see in the figure indicates that the Standard editor pane is the active pane.

The Standard editor Jump bar

The Standard editor Jump bar has the basic configuration, which includes the following:

  • Context-related items: Click the Related Items menu (represented by an icon showing a cluster of tiny rectangles on the far left side) to see additional selections relevant to the current context, such as recently opened files or the interface (.h) header file for an implementation (.m) code file you’re editing.

    The Related Items icon in Xcode.

  • Previous and Next buttons: These are the left- and right-arrow buttons on the left side of the Jump bar. You use these to step back and forth through your navigation history.

    Previous and next button.

  • A hierarchical path menu: This menu shows the same structure that you see in the Project navigator, down to individual files and the symbols inside the files. The path you would see in the source editor in the Standard editor pane is shown in this figure.

    The Xcode workspace with the hierarchical path menu highlighted.

The hierarchical path menu lets you quickly choose a file. For example, in this figure, you get an overview of all the RoadTrip files when you select the RoadTrip project in the hierarchical path menu.

Drop down menu that appears when you click the hierarchical path menu.

Selecting the last item in the hierarchical path menu provides a list of all the symbols in that file, as shown.

A displayed documentation organizer in Xcode.

Another example of a Jump bar with the basic configuration is in the Documentation Organizer. It simply allows you to select documents from installed libraries. Other Jump bars have more components.

The Assistant modes and the Jump bar

When you use the Assistant, you’ll find that the Jump bar differs somewhat from the Jump bar of the Standard editor. The Assistant’s Jump bar has two modes: Tracking (or Automatic) mode and Manual mode.

  • Tracking mode: The default behavior for the Assistant is to display the counterpart of the file displayed in the Standard editor pane. That is, if you’ve opened an implementation file, Assistant displays the corresponding header file, and vice versa.

    You can choose any of several other possible criteria to be used by the Assistant with the help of the Assistant pop-up menu (the first item in the path shown in the Jump bar above the Assistant editor). As you can see in this figure, the choices offered depend on the type of file being edited (a source file, for example, as shown, or the storyboard).

    The Xcode workspace.

  • Manual mode: You select the file to display in the Assistant pane on your own, rather than have the Assistant choose for you. (As mentioned previously, you can also split the Assistant editor pane to create multiple assistant editors.)

Hold down the Option key when selecting an item in the Project navigator to open the Assistant and display that item in the Assistant editor pane.

If you have any questions about what something does, just position the mouse pointer above the icon; a tooltip appears to explain it.