Gedit tips

Gedit is the default text editor for Gnome and Ubuntu (where its called “Text Editor”). Opened with default options it seems a very basic and not very interesting or useful editor, basically like classic Notepad. However, dig a little deeper, and its a great and powerful text editor.

Here is some tips to set it up with everything you expect from a good code editor:

  1. Default look: open Edit > Preferences.
    • On the View tab, check “Display line numbers”, “Highlight Current Line”, and “Highlight matching brackets”.
    • On the Editor tab, check “Enable automatic indentation”.
    • On Font & Colours tab check “Kate” theme.
    • These and other view options are of course totally up to your personal preferences, but the above options are default on most code oriented editors. Note: the line view options can quickly be changed by clicking the Ln, Col information at the bottom of the document.
  2. Spell check: click Tools > “Highlight misspelled words”. Works like a charm! Very handy for markdown or HTML content.
  3. File browser: click View > Side panel, then from the drop down menu above the side panel, select “File Browser”. Toggle with F9. This is very handy when working on a project that is a series of files in a directory.
  4. More plugins: Gedit ships with a series of standard plugins that extend functionality. However, its easy to get a few more from your software repository. On Ubuntu, install some extras with sudo apt-get install gedit-plugins. Then head to Edit > Preferences > Plugins tab to see the new functionality you can enable. Personally, in addition to the standards I enable “Bracket Completion”, “Find in Files”, “Git”, “Join/Split Lines”, “Smart Spaces”, and “Text Size”.

This will get Gedit the functionality you might expect from a code focused editor, while still remaining a lean, easy-to-use, handy app.