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Text editing for writers or non programmers

  Date: Jan 08    Category: Unix / Linux / Ubuntu    Views: 883

I use gedit for quite a lot of text editing, and often using it for
forums and emails via Firefox's plugin ItsAllText.

However i do find it rather slow to load. Particularly when one is
using ItsAllText. So i've had a look at others. I tend to think that
graphical is most appropriate for my needs as the wordwrap seems to
work fine on the graphical app whereas it seems with all console
editors one has to manually justify each paragraph which is a pain if
one is doing a 20 odd page document.

The choice seems to be Leafpad/Mousepad [quick to load but could do
with a few more features], medit [okay, would be nice with a spell
check although cli use of Aspell is fine], Geany [fine but poor
wordwrap i feel], gedit [slow but nice interface], Bluefish [fine but
a bit heavy for writers... really is a coders app].

Leaving out Emacs and gvim - both rather heavy (coders apps) but gvim
is poor on the wordwrap i feel. Having been a wordstar user 25 years
ago i don't find their key bindings anywhere as efficient and
convenient as WS.

Even though there are hundreds of text editors it seems my choice is
down to the leaner Leafpad/Mousepad or medit.

Ideally i'd like the Joe editor in graphical mode or even nano in
graphical. There not available.

Anyone any ideas - i'm hoping i've overlooked an editor somewhere.
Perhaps someone can tell me why wordwrap can't work as well on a
console editor compared with a graphical one.



26 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered On: Jan 08    

Try Kate which is KDE's text editor. It is feature rich and better than
Gedit, IMO.

Answer #2    Answered On: Jan 08    

I know you're a KDE fan - i prefer gnome [we can agree to disagree!].
I have used Kate and Kwrite in the past but i don't find they sit that
happily installed on a gnome desktop although i do agree that they are
a better app in some respects.

Kedit which i thought was the KDE equivalent of gedit is almost
perfect for me but again doesn't sit too happily on gnome.

I think perhaps medit is best for me. But i'm shortly about to switch
to xfce as gnome is due to disappear i gather.

Answer #3    Answered On: Jan 08    

The important thing is that you find something that works for you and not
what you choose in the end.

Answer #4    Answered On: Jan 08    

If you prefer Gnome ,that doesn mean you can´t load/install KDE apps.
I use Kubuntu with a number of Gnome 'affiliated' apps.
It is all transparent ; that 's the beauty of Linux.

Answer #5    Answered On: Jan 08    

Have you had anything to do with vi? I use it myself but I am from the old
school of Unix terminal editing.

Answer #6    Answered On: Jan 08    

I wish i could get on with it is the simple answer! Once one has
learnt the keybindings it's great in the sense that on console one has
got vi and on graphical gvim.

No difference for coding really... but for text editing words i think
it is very poor. I read somewhere that its wordwrap was poor and i
have to agree. tbh i think for console editors nano is better for
wordwrap and easier to learn but it's a graphical app that i'm really
after. Why graphical editors can handle wordwrap better i don't know?

Of all keybindings i've used i have to say that Wordstar is by far the
best - it's just a shame that there isn't a graphical version of Joe
or E3 that does keybindings in emacs, wordstar, nano, and i think a
couple of others. That would then suit anyone wanting a general editor
without the slowness and complexity of large apps like emacs.

Answer #7    Answered On: Jan 08    

Vi is a non x windows editor. As such it is an important editor for use in
configuring linux in a non xwindow environment. However for ease of use in
coding I never use it. I remember the old days when all we had were line
editors, I did like it much then and I like even less now. Newer x-editors have
nice features that you can set up for particular kinds of code writing. Nedit,
gedit, and editors of this family will allow you to set up a coding type and
will highlight keywords. I have in the past asked vi users why they still used
a line in xwindows and I usually get a answer about terminating characters and
stuff like that. After investigation I found the only difference was between
linux and windows and the terminating characters of LF CR where windows uses
CR+LF terminators and Linux uses LF only (ascii 0XA, 0XE). As such there is
sometimes a text file translation problem between windows and linux.

Answer #8    Answered On: Jan 08    

There is a growing group of text editors for writers out there. Here is a list
of some of them:


Some of these work on Linux, some don't. You might want to go down this road.

Answer #9    Answered On: Jan 08    

As an update:

I installed and tested both JDarkRoom and PyRoom. They are both easy to use,
although light on features (this could be a blessing or curse, depending on how
you look at it).

Both of them are full-screen editors, IE: they both maximize on the desktop upon
startup. The default setup for both is a black background with green text. I
found this very easy on the eyes (reminded me of my old "DOS" days, and my green
screen monochrome monitor ;) ). If all you are looking for is a simple text
editor for writing, either of these will work well.

Another option, not on the list I sent earlier, is FocusWriter. It is a simple
text editor for writers as well, although it does allow you to set background
images. Depending on how you feel about this, it could be a liability.
Thankfully, you can also go to "black background green text" mode. It does seem
to have a lot of preferences options. FocusWriter is not in the normal Ubuntu
Archives. You can find it here:


And there is a nice article on it, which gives you instructions on installing
it, here:


Good luc

Answer #10    Answered On: Jan 08    

Thanks for your reply. I think it's a case of 'nothings perfect'.

The writer's editors i find not to my taste. I'm happiest with the
graphical plain white background text editor where i can use a 22/24
point font which i find comfortable and pleasant to use. Non of the
console editors are comfortable for long periods of time for me.

Again i prefer the minimalist app for the task but then again one
doesn't get all one hopes for. Bookmarks, manual saving (Scribes do an
auto which is nice if that's what you like - i prefer manual and then
i'm in full control), word count, search, Spell check and Thesaurus.
To find what you want one has to compromise somewhere. But then again
Leafpad with the bare minimum is great just to get immediate thoughts
down, and can then be worked effectively with Abiword for word count
and spell checking (or alternatively just run Aspell in the terminal).
Medit offers a very convenient File Selector (with filter) so one can
have the .txt files in any directory listed without searching.
Texmaker was nice in a lot of ways and is a good choice [a rather
faster app than Kile which looks a bit more powerful].

I was quite surprised how few graphical text editors there are for
linux; gvim, cream, scite, gedit, kedit, Kwrite/kate, geany, editra,
medit, nedit, and axe (not worth a look). Lyx to some extent is what
one's looking for... as they are designed for processing words rather
than a text editor which i surpose should really be named programmer's
editor. It was an interesting search in someways i suppose.

Answer #11    Answered On: Jan 08    

I forgot to mention. One thing that is so nice with medit is that it
remembers what files you've been working on the previous day (if you
don't close them when you exit) - that i do appreciate.

Answer #12    Answered On: Jan 08    

Let's not forget: aft, alpine-pico, asciidoc, axe, blosxom, bluefish,
bookwrite, ckeditor, conglomerate, diakonos, diploma, docbook, drivel, e3,
editra, efte, elvis, emacs, fte, geresh, gjots, gnome-blog, gobby, gwrite,
jed, joe, jove, juffed, junior-writing, katoob, kile, kobby, le, leafpad,
levee, mined, mousepad, mped, muse-el, nano, ne, nvi, org-mode,
orville-write, passepartout, poedit, pyroom, rednotebook, scribus, shed,
smartdoc, tea, texmacs, texworks, the, udo, uex, vile, whizzytex, wikipad,
winefish, xemacs, xfce4-notes, xjournal, xvile, and zim. Many are highly
specialised, but it is still a long list.

Answer #13    Answered On: Jan 08    

Which ones are fast?........................

Answer #14    Answered On: Jan 08    

The console ones are fastest. They've been around since neckbeards and
sandals were in vogue among programmers. Although some people (RMS) think
they are always in fashion. Most of the basic GUI ones are fast when
compared to a word processor. They tend to be specialised, whereas word
processors are feature rich, which gives them their speed edge. So, it all
depends on what you are trying to do. Look at ones included with small
distributions like Lubuntu and Puppy.

Answer #15    Answered On: Jan 08    

Asking which one is best reminds me of the editor wars of days gone by. Just
promote either vi or emacs and you will touch it off again. The battles rage
and Wikipedia even has an entry on it.

Needless to say I will not be recommending an editor.

Answer #16    Answered On: Jan 08    

Both have poor keybindings c.f. with wordstar which is by far the most
efficient. vi is a modal editor - thus inefficient, and emacs is a
fantastic environmental system which is a lifetime's project to learn.
Both 'old fashioned' and unfit for purpose. Perhaps i'll get "hung at

I've now got used to the 'standard' word, abiword etc, graphical word
processor keyboard shortcuts and i'm not going to start learning
anything else. Secretaries don't bother learning keybindings anymore
and they type at faster rates than any programmers.

Answer #17    Answered On: Jan 08    

The Abiword Snail is the whole reason for my question. I found Abiword so slow
as to be totally useless as a word processor on a 90 page book project.

Answer #18    Answered On: Jan 08    

It works fine on my hardware (newish), but it may well be different on
yours. I like Kword as well as OOO, but everybody has different tastes.
Never done a 90 page document, I admit.

Answer #19    Answered On: Jan 08    

I thought at one stage that the Koffice was better than OO [i like the
whole koffice suite of apps] but i've always wondered why the distros
seem to choose OO.

Answer #20    Answered On: Jan 08    

They choose OO because, just like Microsoft, they're the "name" in their space.

Answer #21    Answered On: Jan 08    

How big is the file? Does it have a bunch of graphics in it? Can the file
sizes for any graphics be reduced by using a different image file format?

Answer #22    Answered On: Jan 08    

No images at all......................

Answer #23    Answered On: Jan 08    

I wonder why Open Office is not good. In my case, it is a little troublesome
when loading huge files full of charts and pictures.
I do not know what to say. For large texts with no images I would recommend
Open Office Writer or KWord (quite beautiful, user interface) , Abiword (I find
it very good) or Ted.

Answer #24    Answered On: Jan 08    

can someone tell me why there are four workspaces open when I boot
Kdenlive from the USB on powerup?

I was just hoping there was a better text editor I could use.

Answer #25    Answered On: Jan 08    

As a script-writer I have found OpenOffice.org Writer to be quite a powerful
option for creative writing, esp. once you learn some of the shortcuts -
autocorrect, macros, mini-macros etc. I have worked on fairly long documents,
including full-length film scripts, without problem...

What I am suspecting here is that maybe you have "contaminated" this document
somehow, by putting it through various word-processors. If you can open it in
OOo Writer, try resaving it as a .txt file, then re-opening it in Writer. Do
you have the same issues with this one? (You could also do Select All, Copy,
New Document, Paste Special, Unformatted Text.)

Make sure you have set up OOo correctly - under >Tools >Options, make sure you
have the correct default language set for your country, and you are using a
stock-standard font. Only save it as an MS .doc when you have to send it to
someone for review.

The only other glitch that I could possibly think of could be Java - check that
you have a current version installed - preferably Sun's JDK, and it is selected
under >Tools >Options (Openoffice.org main panel).

Is it possible you have RAM problems? How big in Kb is the document?

Answer #26    Answered On: Jan 08    

I do a lot of writing and editing, all with
Open Office. Some of my recipients require .doc but generally
anything not despatched in .odf goes out as a PDF.

The only OO hassle I have is with bullets and indents, they
could be more friendly to the user.

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