21 of the Best Free Linux Text Editors

This roundup has been updated. Please visit – 21 Excellent Open Source 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.

Text Editors
EmacsExtensible, customizable, self-documenting text editor
XEmacsHighly customizable console / graphical editor and development system
VimPower of the editor 'Vi', with a more complete feature set
DiakonosMore powerful than nano, with Windows key bindings
jedCompact, fast and powerful
nanoClone of Pico, the editor of the Pine email client
CreamModern configuration of Vim
geditSmall and lightweight text editor for the GNOME environment
KateMulti document editor which is part of KDE
ScribesText editor for GNOME that focuses on streamlining your workflow
TEAGTK-based with wide range of text-processing functions
BluefishPowerful editor for writing websites, scripts and programming code
KompoZerComplete Web Authoring System
Quanta PlusWeb development tool for KDE
ScreemSite CReating and Editing EnvironMent
GeanySmall and lightweight Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
jEditA mature programmer's Java based editor
SciTeSCIntilla based Text Editor
KileUser-friendly LaTeX source editor and TeX shell and KDE
LyXAdvanced open source document processor
TeXmacsWYSIWYW scientific word processor

Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk. There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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