How to Programmatically Open the New File Dialog

The question of the day comes from Robin, who is from in China. He sends the screenshot shown below and wonders how to enable the "New File" dialog to be opened when a button he created is clicked:

There was a discussion on the mailing list sometime ago (msgNo=27735">click here to jump into it), answering this question. And here's code that I have tried a few minutes ago (in a 6.7 build) that opens the New File dialog. However, note that the New File dialog can only open in the context of a project in NetBeans IDE. In other words, a project must be open and the assumption is that the new file will be created within that project.

import java.awt.event.ActionEvent;
import java.awt.event.ActionListener;
import javax.swing.Action;
import org.openide.ErrorManager;
import org.openide.cookies.InstanceCookie;
import org.openide.filesystems.FileObject;
import org.openide.filesystems.FileUtil;
import org.openide.loaders.DataObject;

public final class SomeAction implements ActionListener {

    public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {

        Action a = findAction("Actions/Project/org-netbeans-modules-project-ui-NewFile.instance");


    public Action findAction(String key) {
        FileObject fo = FileUtil.getConfigFile(key);
        if (fo != null && fo.isValid()) {
            try {
                DataObject dob = DataObject.find(fo);
                InstanceCookie ic = dob.getLookup().lookup(InstanceCookie.class);
                if (ic != null) {
                    Object instance = ic.instanceCreate();
                    if (instance instanceof Action) {
                        Action a = (Action) instance;
                        return a;
            } catch (Exception e) {
                ErrorManager.getDefault().notify(ErrorManager.WARNING, e);
                return null;
        return null;

The code above comes straight from the discussion on the mailing list. Alternative approaces are also described there. So, here's hoping this answers the question, Robin! And good luck with your plugin, looks pretty interesting so far.



Posted by guest on May 25, 2009 at 12:57 PM PDT #

Thank you very much master.

Posted by robin on May 26, 2009 at 02:00 PM PDT #

Hi, Thanks a lot for all the great tutorials. I have a similar problem of invoking the new file dialog programmatically. However I wish to invoke it for a specific file template I have created. Its basically invoking the new file dialog programatically from a tool bar button. Any clues? :)

Posted by Dushan on June 30, 2009 at 02:52 PM PDT #

hi, thanks for the great tutorial,
how can i open a file Programmatically?

i am searching for something like:

showInEditor(new File("abc.js"));

Posted by bennyl on October 05, 2010 at 01:45 AM PDT #

I had a same problem trying to invoke the open projects action, i couldn´t import the class directly but with this method it worked.

Thanks GJ

Posted by Peter on December 01, 2015 at 05:03 AM PST #

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Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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