Creating and using your own Xcode file templates

Working on an iOS or macOS project in Xcode you typically create classes with the same structure over and over again.

I use coordinators so I am creating new UIViewControllers, each time referencing RxSwift, having methods for setting up UI, bindings .. most of the time also containing a delegate for the coordinator.

Having to create files with the same structure over and over again manually is a waste of time, a much better solution is creating Xcode file templates for those files.

Xcode file templates

File template location

All the Xcode custom file templates are located in ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/Templates/File Templates and grouped into sections by their folder name. If you want Xcode to show a “Custom” section at the bottom of the new file dialog, just create a ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/Templates/File Templates/Custom folder.

File template structure

Each file template is a separate folder with a name ending in .xctemplate. If you want to create a simple “Swift Class” file template, you have to create a folder named Swift Class.xctemplate in ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/Templates/File Templates/Custom.

Each file template folder should contain at least 3 files:

  • TemplateInfo.plist - describing the template
  • TemplateIcon.png - icon shown in the Xcode new file dialog
  • ___FILEBASENAME___.swift - the actual template file

You are not limited to just 1 template file, you can create more. This can be useful if you want to create a UIViewController together with a XIB or a ViewModel.

Template description

The TemplateInfo.plist file contains basic template description. The important thing is template Kind and the MainTemplateFile. You can also set a default filename with DefaultCompletionName

Template file

You can put basically anything into the actual template file. You can use text macros like ___FILENAME___ to reference the filename, ___FILEBASENAMEASIDENTIFIER___ to reference the filename without extension, etc. A full list of text macros you can use is available on the Xcode help website.

My template for a Swift class looks like this

If you do not want to start from scratch, take a look at my sample Xcode templates on Github.

See Also