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ANTLR 4 IDE for Eclipse

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Maintenance This project has not seen commits/updates for several years now. It is no longer maintained.

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This is brand new version of the old ANTLR IDE. The new IDE supports ANTLR 4.x and it was created to run on Eclipse 4.x

The old ANTLR IDE isn't supported anymore. When I wrote it, I was young and didn't know what was doing ;)

Don't get me wrong, the old version did a very good work from user point of view, it just I'm not proud of the code base because is kind of complex and had a poor quality.

The main reason of complexity of the old IDE was in Dynamic Language ToolKit (DLTK) dependency. The DLTK project didn't evolve so much over the last few years and doing something in DLTK is very very complex and require a lot of work.

Now, the new IDE was built on XText. XText is great for building DSL with Eclipse IDE support, so if you are not familiar with XText go and see it.

See link to ANTLR tools for a comparison of ANTLR4IDE with other development tools for ANTLR.

Eclipse Installation


  • Eclipse 4.4 Luna Xtext Complete SDK(Needs to be version 2.7.3)
  • Eclipse Faceted Project Framework (Tested with 3.4.0) Eclipse Faceted
  • Project Framework JDT Enablement(Tested with 3.4.0) ANTLR 4 SDK A
  • A copy of the antlr-4.x-complete.jar (4.5 at the time of writing)


  1. Install Eclipse (4.4 Luna)
    1. Download it from
  2. Install XText 2.7.3
    1. Go to Help > Install New Software...
    2. Enter in the Work With textbox
    3. Hit Enter and wait for the list to load (this will take a few moments)
    4. Expand the Xtext node and check Xtext Complete SDK (ensure the version is 2.7.3x)
    5. Click Next, agree to the EULA, and click finish
    6. Let the installer finish and restart Eclipse
  3. Install Faceted Project Framework
    1. Go to Help > Install New Software...
    2. Enter in the Work With textbox
    3. Hit Enter and wait for the list to load (this will take a few moments)
    4. In the filter text box enter Facet
    5. Select Eclipse Faceted Project Framework and Eclipse Faceted Project Framework JDT Enablement
    6. Click Next, agree to the EULA, and click finish
    7. Let the installer finish and restart Eclipse
  4. Install ANTLR 4 IDE
    1. Go to Help > Eclipse Marketplace...
    2. Search for antlr
    3. Choose ANTLR 4 IDE (make sure it's ANTLR 4 IDE not ANTLR IDE)
    4. Click Install
    5. Let the installer finish clicking ok if it prompts and restart Eclipse
  5. Obtain a copy of antlr-4.x-complete.jar
    1. Download the file from here
    2. Save it somewhere you'll remember

Creating a project in Eclipse

  1. Go to File > New Project > Project
  2. Expand the General Tab and select ANTLR 4 Project (if you don't see this see step 4 of setup)
  3. Click Next, give the project a name and click Finish
  4. Once the project is complete right click the project and click Properties
  5. Go to Project Facets and click Convert to faceted form... (if you don't see this see step 3 of setup)
  6. Check the Java project facet and click Apply (if you don't see this see step 3 of setup)
  7. Click OK, let the solution rebuild, open the properties again
  8. Go to Java Build Path, click the Source tab
  9. Click Add Folder... and check Project > target > generated-sources > antlr4, click OK
  10. Click the Libraries tab
  11. Add External JARs..., find your copy of antlr-4.x-complete.jar, click Open
  12. Go to ANTLR 4 > Tool, click Apply if a pop-up appears
  13. Check Enable project specific settings
  14. Click Add, find your copy of antlr-4.x-complete.jar, click Open
  15. Check 4.x
  16. Click Apply, click Yes to rebuild, click OK to exit the properties


The new IDE is very simple to use all the files with a *.g4 extension will be opened by the ANTLR 4 Editor. So, just open a *.g4 file and play with it.
See grammars examples at

Code Generation

Code is automatically generated on save if the grammar is valid. You can turn off this feature by going to: Window > Preferences > ANTLR 4 > Tool and uncheck the "Tool is activated" option. From there you can configure a couple more of options.

You can find the generated code in the target/generated-sources/antlr4 (same directory as antlr4-maven-plugin)

Manual Code Generation

You can fire a code generation action by selecting a *.g4 file from the Package Explorer, right click: Run As > ANTLR 4.

A default ANTLR 4 launch configuration will be created. You can modify the generated launch configuration by going to: Run > External Tools > External Tools Configurations... from there you will see the launch configuration and how to set or override code generation options

Syntax Diagrams

To open the Syntax Diagram view go to: Window > Show View > Other search and select: Syntax Diagram

Eclipse Example

  1. Create a new ANTLR Project following the steps above
  2. Create a new class with the code below
  3. Run
  4. In the console write Hello there and Ctrl + z to send EOF to the input stream
    import org.antlr.v4.runtime.*;
    import org.antlr.v4.runtime.tree.*;
    public class HelloRunner 
    	public static void main( String[] args) throws Exception 
    		ANTLRInputStream input = new ANTLRInputStream(;
    		HelloLexer lexer = new HelloLexer(input);
    		CommonTokenStream tokens = new CommonTokenStream(lexer);
    		HelloParser parser = new HelloParser(tokens);
    		ParseTree tree = parser.r(); // begin parsing at rule 'r'
    		System.out.println(tree.toStringTree(parser)); // print LISP-style tree

Building ANTLR 4 IDE

  1. Build with Maven 3.x

  2. Fork and clone the repository from github

  3. Download and install Maven 3.x

  4. Open a shell console and type: cd antlr4ide

  5. Build the project with: mvn clean package

  6. It takes a while to download and configure Eclipse dependencies, so be patient

  7. Wait for a: BUILD SUCCESS message

  8. When building for the very first time there might be some missing dependencies, so please retry mvn clean package

  9. Setup Eclipse

  10. Open Eclipse Luna (4.4)

  11. Install Xtext 2.7.3

  12. Copy and paste this url: in the Work with text field

  13. Hit Enter

  14. Choose XText 2.7.3. NOTE: DON'T confuse with Xtend, you must choose Xtext

  15. Restart Eclipse after installing Xtext

  16. Import the project into Eclipse

  17. Go to: File > Import... then General > Existing Projects into Workspace

  18. Choose project root antlr4ide

  19. Enabled: Search for nested projects

  20. Finish

You don't need any extra Eclipse plugin (like m2e or similar). Project metadata is on git so all you need to do is: mvn clean package and then import the projects into Eclipse.

Want to contribute?

  • Fork the project on Github.
  • Wondering what to work on? See task/bug list and pick up something you would like to work on.
  • Create an issue or fix one from issues list.
  • If you know the answer to a question posted to our mailing list - don't hesitate to write a reply.
  • Share your ideas or ask questions on mailing list - don't hesitate to write a reply - that helps us improve javadocs/FAQ.
  • If you miss a particular feature - browse or ask on the mailing list - don't hesitate to write a reply, show us a sample code and describe the problem.
  • Write a blog post about how you use or extend ANTLR 4 IDE.
  • Please suggest changes to javadoc/exception messages when you find something unclear.
  • If you have problems with documentation, find it non intuitive or hard to follow - let us know about it, we'll try to make it better according to your suggestions. Any constructive critique is greatly appreciated. Don't forget that this is an open source project developed and documented in spare time.

Help and Support

Help and discussion

Bugs, Issues and Features


[Edgar Espina] (



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