12 Best Open Source Text Editors (GUI + CLI) I Found in 2015

Text editors can be used for writing code, editing text files such as configuration files, creating user instruction files and many more. In Linux, text editor are of two kinds that is graphical user...

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Best Open Source Text Editors for Linux

12 Best Open Source Text Editors for Linux

Text editors can be used for writing code, editing text files such as configuration files, creating user instruction files and many more. In Linux, text editor are of two kinds that is graphical user interface (GUI) and command line text editors (console or terminal).

Don’t Miss:

My Favorite Command Line Editors for Linux – What’s Your Editor?

In this article I am taking a look at some of the best 12 open source commonly used text editors in Linux on both server and desktops.

1. Vi/Vim Editor

Vim is a powerful command line based text editor that has enhanced the functionalities of the old Unix Vi text editor. It is one the most popular and widely used text editors among System Administrators and programmers that is why many users often refer to it as a programmer’s editor. It enables syntax highlighting when writing code or editing configuration files.

If you want to see our complete series on vi(m), please refer the links below:

  1. Learn and Use Vi/Vim as a Full Text Editor in Linux
  2. Learn ‘Vi/Vim’ Editor Tips and Tricks to Enhance Your Skills
  3. 8 Interesting ‘Vi/Vim’ Editor Tips and Tricks
Vi/Vim Linux Editor

Vi/Vim Linux Editor

2. Gedit

This is a general purpose GUI based text editor and is installed by default text editor on Gnome desktop environment. It is simple to use, highly pluggable and a powerful editor with the following features:

  1. Support for UTF-8
  2. Use of configurable font size and colors
  3. Highly customizable syntax highlighting
  4. Undo and redo functionalities
  5. Reverting of files
  6. Remote editing of files
  7. Search and replace text
  8. Clipboard support functionalities and many more
Gedit Editor

Gedit Editor

3. Nano Editor

Nano is an easy to use text editor especially for both new and advanced Linux users. It enhances usability by providing customizable key binding.

Nano has the following features:

  1. Highly customizable key bindings
  2. Syntax highlighting
  3. Undo and redo options
  4. Full line display on the standard output
  5. Pager support to read form standard input
Nano Editor

Nano Editor

You can check our complete guide for editing files with Nano editor at:

  1. How to Use Nano Editor in Linux

4. GNU Emacs

This is a highly extensible and customizable text editor that also offers interpretation of the Lisp programming language at its core. Different extensions can be added to support text editing functionalities.

Emacs has the following features:

  1. User documentation and tutorials
  2. Syntax highlighting using colors even for plain text.
  3. Unicode supports many natural languages.
  4. Various extension including mail and news, debugger interface, calender and many more
Emacs Editor

Emacs Editor

5. Kate/Kwrite

Kate is a feature rich and highly pluggable text editor that comes with KDesktop Environment (KDE). The Kate project aims at development of two main products that is: KatePart and Kate.

KatePart is an advanced text editor component included in many KDE applications which may require users to edit text whereas Kate is an multiple document interface(MDI) text editor.

The following are some of its general features:

  1. Extensible through scripting
  2. Encoding support such as unicode mode
  3. Text rendering in bi-directional mode
  4. Line ending support with auto detection functionalities

Also remote file editing and many other features including advanced editor features, applications features, programming features, text highlighting features, backup features and search and replace features.

Kate Editor

Kate Editor

6. Lime Text

This is a powerful IDE-like text editor which is free and open-source successor of popular Sublime Text. It has a few frontends such as command-line interface that you can use with the pluggable backend.

Lime Editor

Lime Editor

7. Pico Editor

Pico is also a command line based text editor that comes with the Pine news and email client. It is a good editor for new Linux users because of its simplicity in relation to many GUI text editors.

Pico Editor

Pico Editor

8. Jed Editor

This is also another command line editor with support for GUI like features such as dropdown menus. It is developed purposely for software development and one of its important features is support of unicode mode.

Jed Editor

Jed Editor

9. gVim Editor

It is a GUI version of the popular Vim editor and it has similar functionalities as the command line Vim.

Gvim Editor

Gvim Editor

10. Geany Editor

Geany offers basic IDE-like features with a focus on software development using the GTK+ toolkit.

It has some basic features as listed below:

  1. Syntax highlighting
  2. Pluggable interface
  3. Supports many file types
  4. Enables code folding and code navigation
  5. Symbol name and construct auto-completion
  6. Supports auto-closing of HTML and XML tags
  7. Elementary project management functionality plus many more
Geany Editor

Geany Editor

11. Leaf Pad

This is a GTK+ based, lightweight GUI based text editor which is also popular among Linux users today. It is easy to use by new Linux users.

It has the following features:

  1. Codeset option
  2. Allows auto detection of codeset
  3. Options of undo and redo
  4. Display file line numbers
  5. Supports Drag and Drop options
  6. Printing support
Leafpad Editor

Leafpad Editor

12. Bluefish

Bluefish is an easy-to-install and use text editor targeting Linux programmers and web developers. It offers a wide set of features as listed below:

  1. Lightweight and fast
  2. Integrates external Linux programs such as lint, weblint, make and many others and filters, piping such as sed, sort, awk and many more
  3. Spelling check feature
  4. Supports working on multiple projects
  5. Remote file editing
  6. Search and replace support
  7. Undo and redo option
  8. Auto-recovery of modified files
Bluefish Editor

Bluefish Editor


I believe the list is more than what we have looked at, therefore if you have used other free and open source text editors, let us know by posting a comment. Thanks for reading and always stay connected to Tecmint.

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