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Editra: A Powerful & Expandable Cross-Platform Text & Code Editor

Jeffry Thurana 29-06-2011

There are tons of text editors out there, so why would you need another one? Most people will be satisfied by their OS default plain text editor, while the coders would need a dedicated code editor. There are also people who need both.


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.

code editor

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.


code data editor

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“.

code data editor

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.


code data editor

If you prefer to code without the colors, you can uncheck “Syntax Highlighting” under the “Settings” menu.

source code editor

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.

source code editor

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.

source code editor


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.

03c download

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.

03d install

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.

04a style editor

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.

code editor

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.

While you’re doing that, don’t forget to check out our other articles about other text editors such as: Vim The Top 7 Reasons To Give The Vim Text Editor A Chance For years, I've tried one text editor after another. You name it, I tried it. I used each and every one of these editors for over two months as my primary day-to-day editor. Somehow, I... Read More , Tincta Time To Try A Slick, New Text Editor Called Tincta [Mac] While you may already think you've found the text editor love of your life, you could hardly stand by it honourably without giving the competition a go. So, today we'll introduce you to a sleek... Read More , Sublime Text Sublime Text: The Text Editor You'll Fall in Love With (Windows) Read More , and WriteMonkey WriteMonkey - A Simple Text Editor For The Easily Distracted Read More .

Related topics: Programming, Text Editor, Web Development.

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  1. Fanqstefan
    June 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    nothing special really .. I still think Intellij products are the most complete.

  2. Anonymous
    June 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I am always up for trying a new text editor (especially an open-source one) so I downloaded this and gave it a shot. Most of the codes I edit are either in a mix of Fortran 77 and 95, Matlab or LaTeX (not really code but you get the point). Those are the important ones for an editor to get right if I am going to use it.

    I do not know about matlab, but the folding is getting very messed up for Fortran. It starts at an "if" but doesn't end at the "endif" and goes all the way to the bottom of the code. THat is not a big deal. The biggest thing for me is how hard it is to adjust syntax coloring. I found the different themes but to use something else, it sounds complicated (see

    I didn't play with the FTP/SFTP (if it has it) since, while I use it, Cyberduck can handle that for me.

    So, I will be on the look-out for updates but, like Tincta (featured previously), I'll be sticking with TextWrangler for now.