[java] Error:java: invalid source release: 8 in Intellij. What does it mean?

Im trying to compile some code in I'm using Intellij Ultimate 13.1.4, but I get the following error and I have no idea what it means:

Information:Using javac 1.7.0_55 to compile java sources
Information:java: Errors occurred while compiling module 'Example'
Information:Compilation completed with 1 error and 0 warnings in 3 sec
Information:1 error
Information:0 warnings
Error:java: invalid source release: 8

My guess is that its something related to Java 8 vs Java 7, but I have no idea what specifically. I've tried to Google around for this message, but they either talk about javac or target release, so it doesn't exactly seem to apply.

This question is related to java intellij-idea compilation javac intellij-13

The answer is


For Gradle users having this issues, if nothing above helps this is what solved my problem - apply this declarations in your build.gradle files:

targetCompatibility = 1.6 //or 1.7;1.8 and so on
sourceCompatibility = 1.6 //or 1.7;1.8 and so on

Problem solved!


It can be simply overcome by setting on Project Structure. You just need to select the right path for related version of JDK. Select new on dependencies tab, and choose the path. It's done!

enter image description here


For Grails users, apply these declarations in your BuildConfig.groovy file:

grails.project.target.level = 1.6 //or 1.7;1.8 and so on
grails.project.source.level = 1.6 //or 1.7;1.8 and so on

You need to click to the project Open Module Settings and change the path of your JDK, if in the file POM you use jdk 1.8, configure jdk 1.8 with correct path.


Andreas Lundgren's answer worked and I was able to compile and run my app.

However, when I tried to run the project's associated JUnit tests I received the same error. Running

gradle -version

from Windows command prompt showed that gradle was still picking up the incorrect jdk. To fix it I had to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to point to the correct jdk and restart IntelliJ.


I was recently facing the same problem. This Error was showing on my screen after running my project main file. Error:java: invalid source release: 11 Follow the steps to resolve this error

  1. File->Project Structure -> Project
  2. Click New button under Project SDK: Add the latest SDK and Click OK.

enter image description here

After running You will see error is resolved..

enter image description here


Lots of good answers. For those using the (almost) latest version of Intellij, at the time of writing, what can be said, is that the project JDK can be at a higher level, than that of the module. In fact without it, Maven will have to be rolled back to an older version. Therefore with the following version of Intellij: enter image description here

One should not change the project level JDK and therefore be able to leverage the Maven or Gradle settings when building, but when running Maven or running Gradle using a more modern version of the JDK. If you lower your project level JDK from say JKD8 to JDK6, Maven or Gradle will not run.

Keeping your module at a lower level JDK-wise will enable you to build it to that version, if you use the Module rebuild or build options; using the menu options for rebuilding the project will complain wit "Invalid source release:8...".


I tried out all the steps mentioned in here https://stackoverflow.com/a/26009627/2058104, but the 4th point has now changed. You need to go to Preferences -> Build, Execution, Deployment -> Compiler -> Java Compiler

In there, as shown in below figure, you need to change the "Target bytecode version". Although, I changed it to 8 (since I needed to downgrade to Java 8), it was giving the same error, over and over. Therefore, try to remove the existing entry (in this table) and add it again. This worked for me.

enter image description here

On the other hand, clean the project and try to run again.


I add one more path unmentioned in this answer https://stackoverflow.com/a/26009627/4609353

but very important is Edit Configurations

one more path


I had the same issue the solution for me was to change my java version in the pom.xml file.

I changed it from 11 to 8. enter image description here


As Andreas mentioned all about:

Error:java: invalid source release: 8 in IntelliJ
Error:java: invalid source release: 13 in IntelliJ
Error:java: invalid source release: 14 in IntelliJ...

OR whatever version you are using in Java...

The problem will exist if you do not have it matching inside the below code:

<properties>
    <maven.compiler.source>1.8</maven.compiler.source>
    <maven.compiler.target>1.8</maven.compiler.target>
</properties>

This 1.8 in my case, must be matching on your device through MAVEN project library, settings, preferences, project setting and SDK.


If you are using Gradle as a build tool and you get this error when executing a Gradle task i.e TomcatRun take a look to my other answer to the same question

javac: invalid target release: 1.8


I checked all above said project version, module version, project bytecode version, target bytecode version settings in IntelliJ Idea, but all were the same as I scratched.

I face this error Error:java: invalid source release: 1.8 in IntelliJ Idea 2017.2.6 because I upgraded the dependency version Maven pom file, which(dependency) were supposed to build for JDK 1.8 application and I were building my application on and with maven compiler source and target JDK 1.7.

Hence I again downgrade the dependency version to earlier one in Maven pom, and the error gone after project Rebuild Module 'xyz_project'.


Check your pom.xml first (if you have one)
Check your module's JDK dependancy. Make sure that it is 1.8
To do this,go to Project Structure -> SDK's
Add the path to where you have stored 1.8 (jdk1.8.0_45.jdk in my case)
Apply the changes
Now, go to Project Structure ->Modules
Change the Module SDK to 1.8
Apply the changes

Voila! You're done


Change in pom.xml 1.6 to 1.8

<plugin>
    <artifactId>maven-compiler-plugin</artifactId>
    <configuration>
        <source>1.8</source>
        <target>1.8</target>
    </configuration>
</plugin>

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