For those who are still looking for the perfect text editor, you might want to try Editra. This is a powerful and expandable cross-platform editor, for both plain text and code. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux, and you can add more features to fit your needs by installing plugins. If there’s one text editor which is worth trying out among all others, Editra would be it.
Go Beyond Plain Text
The first time you open Editra, you might not see the advanced features hidden behind the simplistic look. There is only a white blank text area and a set of basic tools in the toolbar. You don’t have to do anything to use it as a plain text editor. Just type the words as you would normally do.
But once you start writing a line of code, you will see the real power of Editra. Not only does Editra color the codes based on their types but it will also automatically put limits to those codes. For example, if you write “html” between ““, Editra will not let you write anything else on the line.
Editra will also put the codes into groups that you can fold (hide) and unfold (show) by clicking the small minus/plus symbol on the sidebar.
Editra supports tabs so you can work on multiple texts and codes in different tabs. A little exploration will also lead you to other features hidden within Editra’s menu. One of them is the ability to generate HTML, LaTeX, and RTF using the “Generator” menu under “Tools“.
To quickly fold and/or unfold a long set of codes, you could use the “View – Code Folding” menu. Use “Toggle fold” to fold/unfold selected codes, or use “Toggle all folds” to hide/unhide everything on the page.
If you prefer to code without the colors, you can uncheck “Syntax Highlighting” under the “Settings” menu.
Expanding The Features
One of the ways to develop applications that fits everyone’s needs without bloating the size, is to use add-ons. This concept allows users to add only the features that they need by installing specific plugins.
You can find many plugins for Editra in their “Plugins and Extras” page, but the quickest way to add them is via the “Plugin Manager” under the “Tools” menu.
There are three places inside Plugin Manager. You can find all the installed plugins under “Configure“. Here’s the place to enable/disable, uninstall, and configure them.
To browse and choose new plugins to install, go to “Download“. Check the boxes of the plugins that you want and click the “Download” button.
The chosen plugins will be listed in “Install“. Decide whether you want to install them in “User Directory” (available only for the specific user) or to “System Directory” (available to all users). Click the “Install” button to wrap up the process.
Go back to “Configure” to activate them. All the changes will be applied after you restart Editra.
Another feature worth mentioning is the “Style Editor“. This feature allows users to change the writing environment to their preference. Users can customize everything from the background color to the code color.
There are some pre-set style theme that you can use by choosing one from the dropdown list, but you can further customize any item manually by choosing it from the side list and changing its elements.
There are so many more features lying dormant within Editra’s menus that it’s impossible to list them all. Try and explore the application yourself to find the hidden gems. Then tell us what you think in the comments below.