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21 of the Best Free Linux Text Editors

21 of the Best Free Linux Text Editors

A text editor is software used for editing plain text files. It has many different uses such as modifying system configuration files, writing programming language source code, jotting down thoughts, or even making a grocery list.

Whatever the level of sophistication of the editor, they typically have a common set of functionality, such as searching/replacing text, formatting text, undo/redo, importing files, as well as moving text within the file. However, many of the editors included in this article are feature-rich, and can be further extended using plugins and libraries.

In many users' eyes, a text editor should be lean and mean, fast to start up and shut down, without fancy splash screens or a graphical user interface. The choice of editor has long stirred up strong emotions. For example, the debate about whether vi or emacs (or another) is the best editor started decades before Linux was even conceived.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 21 high quality Linux text editors. There's a mix of graphical and console based applications included. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for all types of users.

Now, let's explore the 21 editors at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

All Purpose
Emacs Extensible, customizable, self-documenting text editor
XEmacs Highly customizable console / graphical editor and development system
Vim Power of the editor 'Vi', with a more complete feature set
Console
Diakonos More powerful than nano, with Windows key bindings
jed Compact, fast and powerful
nano Clone of Pico, the editor of the Pine email client
Graphical 
Cream Modern configuration of Vim
gedit Small and lightweight text editor for the GNOME environment
Kate Multi document editor which is part of KDE
Scribes Text editor for GNOME that focuses on streamlining your workflow
TEA GTK-based with wide range of text-processing functions
HTML
Bluefish Powerful editor for writing websites, scripts and programming code
KompoZer Complete Web Authoring System
Quanta Plus Web development tool for KDE
Screem Site CReating and Editing EnvironMent
Source code
Geany
Small and lightweight Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
jEdit A mature programmer's Java based editor
SciTe SCIntilla based Text Editor
TeX/LaTex
Kile User-friendly LaTeX source editor and TeX shell and KDE
LyX Advanced open source document processor
TeXmacs WYSIWYW scientific word processor

Return to our complete collection of Group Tests, identifying the finest Linux software.

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Last Updated Tuesday, April 28 2015 @ 02:30 PM EDT


We have written a range of guides highlighting excellent free books for popular programming languages. Check out the following guides: C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, HTML, Python, Ruby, Perl, Haskell, PHP, Lisp, R, Prolog, Scala, Scheme, Forth, SQL, Node.js (new), Fortran (new), Erlang (new), Pascal (new), and Ada (new).


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