Utility Area of Xcode - dummies

By Neal Goldstein, Dave Wilson

The Utility area of Xcode has two panes: the Inspector pane and the Library pane. You can expand either pane to hide the other. When working within the Inspector pane, you click a button in the Inspector selector (shown in the figure) to select a particular inspector.

(Note that a previous navigator selection or Content editor selection may determine which inspectors are available.)


Your choices are as follows:

  • File inspector: For viewing (and managing) file metadata, such as a filename, type, and path.


  • Quick Help (second button): For viewing (applicable) details about what has been selected in an editor, such as an abstract or concise description, where and how it is declared, and selection-based information such as an element’s scope, the parameters it takes, its platform and architecture availability, references, sample code, and so on.


    These selections are supported:

    • Symbols, in the Source editor

    • Interface objects, in Interface Builder

    • Build settings, in the Project editor

Additional inspectors are available in some editors; for example, Interface Builder offers these inspectors:

  • Identity inspector: For viewing (and managing) object metadata such as an object’s class, runtime attributes, label, and so forth.


  • Attributes inspector: For configuring the attributes specific to the selected interface object. For example, some text field attributes include text alignment and color, border type, and editability.


  • Size inspector: For specifying characteristics such as the initial size and position of an interface object, its minimum and maximum sizes, and various autosizing rules for the object.


  • Connections inspector: View the outlets and actions for an interface object, make new connections, and delete existing connections. (Connections “connect” your program code to user interface objects you create in Interface Builder.)


When working within the Library pane, you click a button in the Library selector bar (shown in the figure) to select a library of resources you can use in your project.


These libraries are available:

  • File templates: These templates are for the common types of files listed as choices in the New File menu. To add a file of that type to your project, drag it from the library to the Project navigator.


  • Code snippets: These are short pieces of source code for use in your application. To use one, drag it directly into your source code file.


  • Objects: This library contains the kinds of interface objects you’d use to make up your user interface. To add one to a view, drag it directly into your storyboard or nib file in the Interface Builder editor.


  • Media files: This library contains a whole slew of graphics, icons, and sound files. To use one, drag it directly to your storyboard or nib file in the Interface Builder editor.