Linux Windows

gedit: One Of The Most Feature-Filled Plain Text Editors [Linux & Windows]

Danny Stieben 04-10-2012

free text editorWhen you think of plain text editors, the first thing that may pop into your head is Windows’ Notepad application. It does exactly what its job description states – plain features for a plain text editor. But this is a common misconception about what plain text editors should be about.


Those who need more out of them deserve something better (because there’s plenty of people who use plain text editors for more than just jotting down extremely simple notes), and that “something better” is called gedit.

About gedit

free text editor

“Something better” is an understatement, actually. gedit is among one of the prime applications for plain text editing, standing among the elite free text editors such as Notepad++ Soup Up The Notepad++ Text Editor With Plugins From The Notepad Plus Repository [Windows] Notepad++ is a worthy replacement for Windows’ in-built and much loved text editor, and comes highly recommended if you’re a programmer, web designer or simply someone who finds themselves in need of a powerful plain... Read More . Its features go so much farther than you might expect, and it feels much more like home than the bare-bones Notepad. Seriously, just look at the screenshot and tell me that, with Ubuntu’s warmer colors, it doesn’t look more comfortable and inviting.

The Basics

Of course, gedit comes with some common plain text editing features that you’d absolutely expect to see. These include search and replace, go to line, full screen, document statistics, undo and redo, and the ability to save files in practically any format, including simple extension-less text files, .txt files, .c files, .java files, etc.

Syntax Highlighting

linux text editors


Something that you might not expect to see in a plain text editor is syntax highlighting. This isn’t needed for those who simply use it to quickly jot something down, but the syntax highlighting does enable programmers as well as many others to use gedit for more complex tasks. Virtually every programming language in existence has syntax highlighting in gedit, as well as a couple of other non-programming text files.

There are even a few scientific formats which have highlighting support. In other words, I haven’t seen any other editor support all of these formats.

Spell Check

linux text editors

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that you’re not using Word or a similar program, as you can’t choose your fancy font and font size, but that doesn’t mean that plain text can’t have a spell checker! gedit sports a very nice spell checker, highlighting those words which you got wrong by using Linux’s spell-check libraries.



free text editor

If you consider yourself to be a power user when it comes to plain text editors, gedit has you covered. Just like your favorite browser, it allows you to open up multiple tabs instead of windows to keep everything nice and clean. I hate nothing more than having multiple windows open of a browser, so being able to consolidate editor windows is a huge plus in my eyes.

Available for Windows

For those of you who are running Windows, you’re in luck! gedit as well as its GTK dependencies have been ported over to Windows, so now you can use it as well! I do want to point out, however, that the Windows port is far less supported, so it’s very likely that you’ll be running an older version of gedit. In my experience, it often runs rather slowly on Windows rather than the snappy response in Linux, so that may be something you’ll want to be aware of.


In case you don’t already have gedit installed (Gnome-based desktops already should, others shouldn’t), then it’s easily installable via your respective package managers as “gedit”. Ubuntu users can run the command sudo apt-get install gedit to install it, while Fedora users can use sudo yum install gedit.



Overall, gedit is probably my favorite text editor, hands down. There are, of course, other programs for specific purposes such as programming that I love very much – such as Geany Geany - A Great Lightweight Code Editor For Linux Surprisingly, Linux doesn't offer that many good IDE's (Integrated Development Environments). I believe this is because back in the day most Linux programmers took out good old Notepad (or gedit in this case), and started... Read More – but as a general-purpose editor, this absolutely gets my recommendation. If you haven’t tried it yet, whether it already be installed on your system or not, it’s about time that you do.

What’s your favorite free text editor? What do you like about it the most? Let us know in the comments!

Related topics: Programming, Text Editor.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Anonymous
    October 19, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Main Text editor I use on every linux box. :)
    With Terminal extension it is very easy to write and test writen without even quit gedit window.

  2. Fionn
    October 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    "ed" is the proper *nix text editor. 'edlin' does wonders for Windows.

    Still, to have the author write things like "gedit is among one of the prime applications for plain text editing, standing among the elite free text editors such as Notepad++" or "I haven’t seen any other editor support all of these formats," tells me that the author doesn't really know what he's writing about; apparently, he hasn't investigated the field

    One or two editors like Notepad++ and gedit... Maybe even trying to save plaintext from 'Word' as your 'research' for the article.... that just doesn't cut it. It's like saying your 'Yaris' is feature-filled luxury, when you've only ridden in donkey carts until now.

    Sure, gedit stands 'among the elite free text editors'. But it stands among them like a glittery rodeo clown at a white tie banquet. Standing, yes; appropriate, no. And Notepad++? It's like a guy in a plaid polyester dinner jacket: A step-up, but still not appropriate.

  3. themainliner
    October 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I loved gedit - passed tense. Now I cannot bear to use Gnome or god forbid Unity. Fortunately there is MATE and a fork of gedit called Pluma. Pluma is great.

  4. Alex Perkins
    October 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    and to think i was using notepad++

  5. Dimal Chandrasiri
    October 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I prefer notepad++... pretty easy for me I guess..

    • Danny Stieben
      October 16, 2012 at 6:39 am

      Honestly, in a Windows environment Notepad++ will probably run a bit more smoothly as well. The Windows port of gedit doesn't quite have the best support.

  6. Harish Jonnalagadda
    October 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Use it everyday at work, but I like vim much better.

  7. Miggs
    October 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

    My favorite and only text editor is emacs.

  8. loremipsum
    October 5, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Jeez, guys, you should try Sublime Text 2.

    • Harish Jonnalagadda
      October 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, will check it out.

    • Danny Stieben
      October 16, 2012 at 6:38 am

      My inner activist would say, "But it's not open source!"

      But then my jaw dropped. I shall definitely be looking into this.

      (...jaw is still dropped.)

  9. Deekshith Allamaneni
    October 5, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Yes, this is one of my favourites (other is Geany). It has many powerful extensions that can make it more like an IDE than a simple text editor. It is flexible. It can be left lightweight for those who wants and also feature rich by adding all the necessary extensions.

    • Danny Stieben
      October 16, 2012 at 6:37 am

      I love Geany! Sorry, that had to be said. :)

  10. DB
    October 5, 2012 at 12:04 am

    thanks for the write up, I am always looking for the next text editor i am going to move to.

  11. Justin Winokur
    October 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Is the mac version ( different?

    • Danny Stieben
      October 16, 2012 at 6:36 am

      :O Doesn't look like it's much different from the Windows version. I didn't know a Mac version existed! Give it a try if you'd like!

  12. Adam
    October 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    My favorite text editor, hands down, is Vim.

    • Harish Jonnalagadda
      October 5, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      I agree. Nothing comes close.

    • Danny Stieben
      October 16, 2012 at 6:35 am

      For some reason or another, I don't like Vim, and usually go with Nano whenever I need to do text editing within a terminal. Go figure.

      • Adam Rehard
        October 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        I can see that. When I'm busily fixing something I broke, and working off a rescue disk where Vim isn't available, I use nano. Vi confuses me to no end.