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text-editorIn my not-extraordinary-long lifetime, I’ve already worked with a reasonable number of text editors; ClarisWorks, Word 2003 through 2010, Open Office, Pages, Notepad and Notepad++ are just the ones off the top of my head.

Amongst all those experiences, few managed to really blow my socks off. This one did.

To be quite honest, this application doesn’t fit in under freeware, nor any of the open source categories – but we’ll get back on that later on in the article.

Sublime Text

For those of you who have come into contact with Notepad++, this application should look mighty familar. Rightly so, because Sublime Text is – in the first place – a text editor for code and other programming wizardry.

Nevertheless, if you want a calm, undistracting place to jot down your words, data and prose alike, you won’t find anything more Zen than this text editor. A spell checker is integrated, but for more extensive, picture embedding and style embracing papers I still advise you to use Open Office or Microsoft Office.

By the way, have I mentioned that it looks absolutely breathtaking?


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Most programmers will find anything they need to be bundled into the application. There’s standard syntax highlighting for nearly all popular languages, including C, C++, C#, CSS, D, Erlang, HTML, Groovy, Haskell, HTML, Java, JavaScript, LaTeX, Lisp, Lua, Markdown, Matlab, OCaml, Perl, PHP, Python, R, Ruby, SQL, TCL, Textile and XML. Plan to be writing in plain text? There are several color schemes available that are easy on the eye.

This is all pretty standard stuff, and (apart from the slick looks) can also be seen in other code editors like the previously mentioned Notepad++. It is the additional features that turns Sublime Text into a must have application.

For a complete functionality overview, check the Sublime Text feature page. Below are a few of the features I liked best.


If you’re often working with extremely large documents (and we all know both programmers and writers do), you should know how big a pain it can be to navigate. The numbering of lines can be a help, but you’re often still messing around with that excruciatingly tiny scrollbar.

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Located in a side panel, utterly left on the screen, Sublime Text offers a MiniMap. The concept is very simple – it’s like having Google Maps embedded in your text editor, your entire document from a birds eye view with the fluorescent square indicating the visible portion of text. To navigate, just grab the square and pull it to wherever you want. When working with even larger documents, your birds eye document view will scroll underneath the square as well, keeping it accessible towards infinity. Nifty.

Multiple Documents

Incredibly useful, both for programming and writing with references, are Sublime Text’s split screen modes. I purchased a second monitor to get this functionality, Sublime Text spares you the trouble.

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You can easily open multiple documents in the text editor, not only in different tabs, but side by side. There are a total of five alternative screen layouts, allowing you to stack up to four documents next, or below, each other.

Freeware, Trialware – Whatware?

19-10-2009 17-37-09I mentioned it already at the top of this article – this application doesn’t fit in under freeware, or open source – so under what license does it operate? Technically, Sublime Text is trialware. The free version is to get a feel and get you warmed up for the big purchase of 59 USD.

However, there doesn’t seem to be a time restriction on the trial. In other words, you can use the trial as long as you like, without any inconvenience or even stripped functionality. You could consider it as a very peculiar kind of freeware.

That aside, I must admit that the developers of Sublime Text did one hell of a job. If you can spare the money, and thereby support the people that made this possible, I urge you to do so. Licenses can be used on as many machines as you want, and you’ll automatically receive licenses to all future upgrades.

What text editor do you currently use? Don’t be shy, tell us in the comments below!

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