# Better Autocompelete for the Front-End

I wonder if it is possible to improve the front-end's autocomplete capability. Compared with some other more sophisticated editors/IDEs, such as eclipse, Mathematica's front-end does not provide a good autocomplete capability.

The front-end provides an autocomplete feature through (Control|Command)[+Shift]+K key bindings. But it has several different shortcomings. First off, the key binding is not the easiest one to use. I really prefer Control+Space or tab key combination which is used in many other editors rather than the Mathematica's unique Control+K. However, one can modify the key binding to his own choice.

Second, the function/variable name autocomplete feature, shows a list of options just over the line that you are typing rather than underneath the line. So, you cannot see what you have already typed in:

Compare it with eclipse:

Another nice feature of eclipse, that Mathematica supports a simpler version of through Control+Shift+K, is the parameter suggestion feature. Once you choose a function/class name from the above list, it shows you another list with all possible function/constructor parameters, which makes the life much more easier.

Eclipse even provides camel case notation:

Is that possible to modify the Mathematica's front-end to support such capabilities?

Note: Here is a list of Mathematica functions/options that might be useful: NotebookEventActions, NotebookSelection, CurrentValue, Names.

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Under windows MMA 8.0.0, XPx64 I'm seing the dropdown list properly below what I'm typing. however, not in W7x64 MMA 8.0.4 –  Rojo Oct 24 '12 at 13:45
The above screenshot is for MMA 8.0 under Mac OS 10.7.4. –  Helium Oct 24 '12 at 17:26
It's 8.0.1.0, Mac OS X x86(32-bit, 64-bit Kernel). –  Helium Oct 24 '12 at 17:44
The FE does completion by calling the kernel function FEFC. Which is a very simple and naive function. Rewriting it could be the basis for an answer here. That having been said, this is radically revamped in v9 (coming soon!), and I wouldn't recommend any answer based upon this notion be applied to v9. –  John Fultz Oct 25 '12 at 6:10
–  Mechanical snail Dec 21 '12 at 0:17

Since version 9, autocomplete behaves the way it does in modern IDEs except for one big shortcoming how-to-keep-the-ctrlshiftk-help-menu-remain-in-display-while-typing (and there is no answer to this as of version 10.01) –  Nasser Nov 19 '14 at 21:59