The Workspace Areas of Xcode - dummies

By Neal Goldstein, Dave Wilson

Command central for Xcode is the Workspace window, where you’ll do all the things you need to do to develop your app. The Workspace is divided into four areas, as follows:

  • Editor area (always shown)

  • Navigator area

  • Utility area

  • Debug area

    All the sections in the XCode workspace, explained.

You can configure the Workspace area in a number of ways. Right off the bat, you can choose to hide and/or show various areas in various combinations. (Note that the Editor area is always present.). The Debug and Utility areas are already configured with panes, but in the Debug area, you can select the pane configuration.

Editor area (always present)

The Editor area is always present. If you want, you can show or hide various “editors” contained within the Editor area; you do so using the Editor selector, the group of buttons in the toolbar you can see in this figure.

These buttons allow you to show or hide sections of the Xcode workspace.

The term editor here is really a misnomer, even though that’s the term used in the documentation. The “editors” you can select in the Editor area are really editor area configurations, within which you use the content editors available to you.

The editors (configurations) you have available are as follows:

  • Standard editor: The button for this Editor area configuration is on the left side of the Editor selector. The Standard editor displays a single pane for editing and is always shown.

    Standard editor button

  • Assistant editor: Select this Editor area (configuration) using the center button. This adds an additional pane to the Editor area, with a content editor in each. You can further split this pane into two panes.

    XCode's assistant editor.

  • Version editor: Open this editor using the right button on the Editor selector. This enables you to compare two different versions of files you have saved in repositories.

    The version editor in Xcode.

Additional areas to view as needed

You use the View selector (see the figure) to toggle between showing and hiding any of the optional areas. Optional means that you can open and close these areas as needed.

Xcode's view selector

  • Navigator area (left button): No further configuration is possible (you don’t divide this area into other views).

    Navigation area button

  • Debug area (center button): Displays various panes depending on what you need to see (the Console pane, which displays debugging information or program output for example, or the Variables pane which displays your program’s variables and their values).

    Xcode's debug area button.

    You change panes using the Debug area Scope bar, shown in this figure.

    the Debug area Scope bar

    The Debug area Scope bar toggles from one to another of the following:

    • Variables pane only (left button)

    • Both Variables and Console panes (center button)

    • Console pane only (right button)

  • Utility area (right button): Is further configured with two panes (either can be expanded to hide the other):

    • Inspector pane

    • Library pane

      Utility area button in Xcode.

When you hover your mouse pointer over a toolbar button, a tooltip describes its function.