I have been using Text Editor (gedit) for quite some time to take simple notes and write basic documents. Sometimes I’ll write a blog post in Text Editor to save for later, or when I’m actually able to get online. Today, however, I found that Text Editor has some great features that I was never aware of. I may even come out of my hermit-like use of vim and use this as a replacement.
/me ducks and hides from the barrage of vim lovers.
At first glance Text Editor (Applications > Accessories > Text Editor) looks like a basic text editor. Nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary. Some of the base features that are lacking in other editors (or have been lacking) are:
- Tabs and Tab re-ordering
- Spell Check
- Document Stats (number of words, characters, etc)
Some of the awesome features that I wasn’t previously aware of however are outlined below. I hope I’m not the only person that has been in the dark about these or else I’m going to feel like quite the idiot. In any event, to find some of the cooler features you can navigate to Edit > Preferences.
The first tab you’ll see is the View tab. The default settings here are:
- Enable Text Wrapping
- Do not split words over two lines
The other options, and I think these would be really useful if you’re working with code are listed below. I now have activated these options:
- Display line numbers
- Highlight current line
- Highlight matching bracket
It is always nice to know the line numbers within your file, particularly if you’re doing any kind of coding. Errors come up in code even for the best of us and finding the guilty line number is the key. Displaying or highlighting the current line is nice, for me, to know where my cursor is. After hours of staring at text and code some days things can become a bit of a blur. Also,highlighting matching brackets sure is nice to make sure you’ve closed that last div or ended that if statement.
The next thing that I’m really excited about is the Syntax Highlighting tab. This is on by default but you can define the language that you’d like it to specifically highlight. I saw just about everything in this list from Ada to XML. Perfect for when I’m working on PHP or perl (which I’ve just decided to try and learn).
Tomorrow I’ll outline one more of the features that really bring this editor above the rest. Enjoy the editor you never knew you had… and great work to the dev team for gedit. This is far more than I expected in a tiny, lightweight package.