5 Best Linux Text Editors

5 Best Linux Text Editors

Though it might not seem like it, the topic of Linux text editors is a huge deal. Debates on which one is the best have been going on for years. Everyone has an opinion; everyone has a favorite, a certain one they absolutely swear by. There is no doubt there are dozens of text editors to choose from.

It is because of this that we’ve decided to round up five of the best text editors available.

Vim text editor for Linux.

Vim: the fastest, most efficient command line editor currently available on the Linux platform. It’s blazingly fast and packed full of advanced features. Lots of users swear by it, and others absolutely hate it. It’s a very divisive piece of software (to put it lightly).

When you use this text editor, you’ll find yourself needing to conquer a very steep learning curve. If that doesn’t bother you – if you can handle learning all of its shortcuts and the Vim way of doing things, then Vim is totally worth it.

GNU Emacs text editor for Linux.

Looking for an advanced text editor that also respects your software freedom? Look no further than GNU Emacs. It’s a free and open source advanced text editor created by the GNU project.

Emacs has both a GUI and CLI implementation. Each of these versions have many, many different features that allow for an awesome text editing experience on Linux.

Much like Vim, GNU Emacs comes with a bit of a learning curve. It’s not something you’re going to be able to just jump into and be happy with right away. Not everyone will like Emacs as it takes a lot of exploration before you’ll feel comfortable with it.

Still, with that in mind, if the Emacs way resonates with you, check this program out. Install it! There is no question that it is a great choice for editing.

Geany text editors for Linux.

Looking for a more IDE-like text editor for Linux? Geany is probably your best choice. This is a text editor specifically designed around development. In fact, it has tons of development features: call tips, code navigation and even a code building system.

All of the text editors on this list are capable of development (of course), but if you’re looking for a graphical text editor and have a serious interest in writing code, Geany should be on your list.

Gedit text editor for Linux.

Just looking for a basic text editor with no frills? Try out the Gedit text editor. It’s a basic editor on the surface, but overall it is fairly competent. Like all the other text editors listed, you’ll be able to highlight syntax, edit multiple programming formats, and have line numbers.

The strength that Gedit has is that it is most certainly the king of user-friendliness. If you just need to jot down some quick text or code, and don’t want to fiddle with fancy shortcuts, check this program out.

Sublime text editor for Linux.

Sublime Text is a wonderful IDE-like text editor for Linux (and other platforms). It’s a wonderful piece of software. The developers themselves say that Sublime text is “a sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose”.

Unlike all other text editors on this list, it is not 100% free. When you download it, you’ll be able to get some trial-software (which doesn’t end). However, to continue using the software, it is encouraged that you purchase a software licence.

This program sports all of the features you’d expect when using a text editor, along with some unique features (Goto Anything, Distraction Free Mode, Split Editing, etc.). If you’re a developer, Sublime Text could be promising.

Linux Text editors is serious business. Everyone has a strong opinion about what they feel is the best one. None of them are wrong, of course. Each editor has their strengths and weaknesses, and even if none of the text editors in the above list interest you, there are still many alternatives around. My colleague, Ivana, even swears by CherryTree Notepad which doesn’t make the list above.

What is your favorite text editor on Linux? Tell us in the comment section below.

15 comments

  1. I’ve been using mostly Geany, but Atom – (http://atom.io) from the folks at github is growing on me. It is very Sublime-like but doesn’t have the “not 100% free” baggage. Not as mature as Sublime Text, but getting there.

    Also agree with your colleague, Ivana, about CherryTree Notepad – good app and cross platform.

  2. Only two of those are worth a darn and only because they’re so fast to startup. The learning curve is just stupid…they’re for people who don’t forget anything and can touch-type faster than a fortune 100 secretary!

    I’ve always like kwrite or kate, but both of those are relatively slow to start up once clicked on, so I went in search of a *fast* starting editor and found ‘Thunderpad’. It doesn’t have quite the bells and whistles of kate or kwrite, but 75% of the time I don’t need that anyway. It starts amazingly fast compared to kate and kwrite and ‘just works’.

      • And yet… his comment had useful value. Yours did not. I’m new to Linux and he gave me a couple of good leads and a quick analysis of what *he* considered important.

  3. Emacs, any day of the week.

    It got a consistent user interface all over, in any programming language mode you can think of. And it got games, web browser, two different mail readers, and gnus is the best I have seen. In any mail reader. And you have lots of modes, like manage notes, todo, editing files on other machines as they was local (with ssh and other protocol) etc etc.
    And it has the Org-mode.
    Of course, Emacs can brew coffe and tea. (See RFC 7168, https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc7168)

    (And of course, if it doesn’t work for you, you can modify it with a bit of Lisp code or more, depending on what you want to do)

  4. I dunno, I’ve used GEdit….Leafpad….Pluma….and all of these do just what I want them 5to do with no muss or fuss. I am definitely interested in getting Geany installed as it looks like just the kind of IDE I’d be comfortable with. Other than that I don’t have a preference, as long as the app I choose works!

  5. Vim all the way! Once you learn the whole different world of commands, things get so much easier. All other editors are like Vim’s “insert” mode. Once you learn the commands, you don’t need a mouse. You can add/replace/find/do whatever you need with a few keystrokes.

  6. Vim? Emacs? You must be kidding. Are we still in the 90’s?
    Try nedit and you will not use anything else.

  7. Gedit is indeed a “basic text editor” with very limited capabilities. It is worth just for writing quick notes. Atom suffers a lot when handling big files. The interface freezes and you cannot do anything until it completes the loading, taking several tens of seconds to do so. Sublime Text is wonderful and I would use it undoubtedly, but I keep getting annoying Java warnings when using it. My preferred choice is nedit, but sadly it is not working on the new Ubuntu 15. I hope it can be fixed soon.

  8. I think we should try to get GEOS recognised as a truly enlightened, feature packed, text editor.

    Am I mistaken in thinking, isn’t Pico a fork of Vim?

    I guess for me it depends on where I’m stuck, Sublime and Vim are probably the best two IMHEx.

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