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 * DebianPkg:leafpad - A minimalist GTK+ based text editor, for basic text editing needs.

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Debian Wiki Text Editor portal - This portal covers all aspects of viewing, editing and creating text content on Debian.


Search for tag:use::editing AND tag:works-with::software:source with Debtags.


Text editors that can be used in a command line interface environment.

  • nano - small, friendly text editor inspired by Pico

  • vim - A full-featured editor with syntax highlighting

  • emacs - the extensible self-documenting text editor( high learning curve)

  • mc - Midnight Commander provides an internal text editor (mc -e,mcedit)

  • jed - editor for programmers (textmode version)

  • jupp/joe/joe-jupp - user friendly full screen text editor with keybindings/modes, hex editor, snytax highlighting, search/replace, regex, macros and status lines.

  • ne - easy-to-use and powerful text editor

  • dte - small and easy to use console text editor

  • micro - easy and mouse-friendly console text editor


Text editors that can be used in a graphical environment.

  • gedit - Default text editor of Gnome desktop environment. Aiming at simplicity by default, can be configured as full fledged integrated development environment through various plugins provided by gedit-plugins package.

  • geany - Advanced text editor with basic features of integrated development environment and has only few dependencies on other packages.

  • pyroom - Full screen text editor for distraction free writing, with configurable colour-schemes and keybindings.

  • scite - A GTK+ based programmers editor, uses Scintilla editing component.

  • kwrite - Default text editor of KDE Software compilation, provides syntax highlighting and ability to export documents to PDF, HTML, PostScript among other features.

  • kate - Acronym for KDE Advanced Text Editor, can be turned to full featured integrated development environment, providing extendable (via XML) syntax highlighting, session management and other features.

  • mousepad - Default editor of Xfce desktop environment, intended to be, simple, fast and easy to use.

  • GUI version of vim, provided by packages vim-gtk3, vim-gtk, vim-athena.

  • Emacs - The default Emacs package includes an interface for X11.
  • jedit - very powerful/flexible (like emacs) and also easy to use (like notepad). Has many plugins for specialized needs.

How to set a default text editor

See also: DesktopDefaultSettings

For administrator

You can set a text editor as default with the update-alternatives command:

update-alternatives --set editor /path/to/the/chosen/editor


update-alternatives --config editor

and to see the list of possible paths:

update-alternatives --list editor

Then, just use the editor command instead of vim, emacs or nano for example.

For users

You have to set the environment variable "$EDITOR".
E.g.: to use Emacs as default text editor, just add in your ~/.profile file:

export EDITOR=emacs