HomeLinuxThe 20 Best Notepad++ Alternatives for Linux System

The 20 Best Notepad++ Alternatives for Linux System

Notepad++ is arguably the most popular source code editor among users of the Microsoft Windows systems. It replaced the legacy Notepad editor around 15 years back and since then has been the subject of constant admiration. The software enjoys widespread popularity due to its lightweight footprint, flexible features, and hard-to-match performance. Thankfully, Linux doesn’t fall short on code editors and offers some of the most rigorous text editors available right now. There’re quite a lot of worthy Notepad++ alternatives for Linux that you might want to check out.

Notepad++ Alternatives For Linux Users

It’s no doubt Linux offers some of the best development tools to programmers and developers. Although Notepad++ is not available for Linux systems yet, there’re Notepad alternatives that provide far more power and freedom than provided by Microsoft’s flagship editor. Our editors have compiled a list of 20 such Notepad++ alternatives for Linux users and hope to help you find the appropriate editing solution in no time.

1. Vim

Vim is, without any doubt, among the best text editors for programming in Linux conveniently. It has been enjoying widespread momentum since its inception as Vi and has established itself as one of the major editing players in the Unix community. If you’re looking for lightweight, innovative, and extensible Notepad++ alternatives for Linux, consider Vim a must-try. Some of Vim’s most notable functionalities include multi-level undo trees, extensive support for numerous plugins, file formats, and ready-made integration with many tools.

Vim in Notepad++ alternatives for Linux

Features of Vim

  • Vim’s multi-level undo tree is one of its kind, allowing ultimate control over source codes and helping out things.
  • It comes with extensive support for hundreds of programming languages and file formats alongside scripting capabilities.
  • Vim is very much stable and can cater to even the heaviest of users in no time.
  • It is one of the most customizable text editors alongside Emacs and allows modifications of every sort without any extra trouble.

Download Vim

2. GNU Emacs

emacs_on_systemGNU Emacs or Emacs is a powerful text editor developed by legendary Unix programmers Richard M. Stallman, Moon, and Steele. They are known in the Unix community for their extensibility and are extremely modifiable. It is a self-documenting Linux text editor that can be used as a significant alternative to Notepad++. Emacs is written using the Lisp and C programming languages and provides a lean yet straightforward interface with real-time display capabilities.


Features of GNU Emacs

  • Emacs ships with an extremely powerful yet convenient interface that allows users to leverage the true potential of its over 10,000 built-in commands.
  • The program features the GNU GPL license and is among the oldest open-source project still being developed and maintained.
  • Emacs is one of the most extensible Notepad++ alternatives for Linux and allows users to script the editor using Lisp.
  • If you want to benefit the most from unlimited open source editor extensions, GNU Emacs is the best Notepad alternative for you.

Download GNU Emacs

3. Kate

Kate stands for KDE Advanced Text Editor and is an extremely powerful native source code editor developed by the KDE community around 2001. Since its inception, it has garnered much critical acclaim among Unix programmers due to its robust functionalities and innovative outlook to development. Kate is perfectly adept at what it does and will surely prove a viable Notepad Ubuntu alternative. As of now, Kate is available on 25 Linux distributions as well as for Windows and macOS.

Features of Kate

  • Kate is written using carefully optimized C++ codes and provides a top-notch performance matched by only a few.
  • It comes with native support for horizontal and vertical window splitting, multi-document interface, network transparency, and sessions.
  • Kate allows users to choose and install plugins from a massive list of choices, including embedded terminal, SQL plugin, build plugin, GDB plugin, and many more.
  • It offers pre-built syntax highlighting support for more than 300 programming and scripting languages alongside support for vi input mode.

Download Kate

4. GNU nano

GNU nano is an extremely lightweight yet versatile text editor available readily on most Linux and Unix systems. It aims to provide seasoned programmers with a tiny but powerful command-line editor that can cater to the need of busy developers in no time. This text editor is inspired partly by the Pico text editor, which was popular but had issues with licensing. GNU nano has since been proven a major source code editor and is an excellent Notepad++ Linux alternative.

GNU nano editor

Features of GNU nano

  • GNU nano supports colorized syntax highlighting, single keystroke for commenting/uncommenting lines, snipping trailing whitespace, and many more.
  • It ships with out-of-the-box support for spellchecking and UTF-8 encoding and is extremely easy to use.
  • The entire software requires only around 1.5 MB of residential memory and is very fast compared to other Notepad alternatives.
  • GNU nano is among the best choices for older legacy hardware due to its low resource usage and flexible action set.

Download GNU nano

5. Sublime Text

Sublime Text javascript ideSublime Text is an awe-inspiring Linux text editor often regarded as the pinnacle of modern Notepad++ alternatives for Linux. It facilitates Linux programmers by providing a carefully thought-out feature set that includes convenient keybindings, a robust ecosystem, and a sleek user interface. If you like to customize your editor to the fullest extent, Sublime Text is an excellent choice for this purpose. Although proprietary, Sublime Text can be used for free as long as you want.


Features of Sublime Text

  • Sublime Text allows users to modify almost every aspect of the editor, such as Key bindings, menus, snippets, macros, completions, and more.
  • It comes with in-built support for fully responsive split editing to get the most out of those widescreen monitors.
  • Sublime Text provides an innovative command palette that enables users to access rarely used functionalities without remembering cumbersome keystrokes.
  • The Goto Anything feature of this Notepad alternative is compelling and allows more than convenient navigation.

Download Sublime Text

6. Visual Studio Code

VsCode Dark+ theme for Jetbrains IDEsThe Visual Studio Code is one of the best code editors to emerge in the last couple of years. Developed by Microsoft and maintained by a creed of enthusiast open-source contributors, VS Code is arguably among the best Notepad++ alternatives for Linux. It is a modern-day, robust source code editor that appeals to a broad user base due for its demanding feature set. Visual Studio Code is written using JavaScript dialects and offers freely available binaries for most systems.


Features of Visual Studio Code

  • Visual Studio Code comes with readily available .deb and .rpm installers for a range of distributions, including Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat, and Fedra.
  • It offers exceptionally innovative syntax highlighting capabilities and beyond through IntelliSense, a smart code-completion utility.
  • Visual Studio Code offers a robust, native debugger that allows efficient debugging through breakpoints, call stacks, and an interactive console.
  • It comes with pre-built Git commands for allowing secure collaboration on an unlimited number of third-party projects simultaneously.

Download Visual Studio Code

7. gedit

gedit is a lightweight yet efficient code editor like Notepad++ and is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, and BSD distributions. It comes with extensive support for external scripting, tools, and snippet completion, among other everyday functionalities. Moreover, gedit supports several remote file editing protocols out of the box, such as FTP, HTTP, SSH, and WebDAV. If you’re on Ubuntu or any other GNOME-based systems, chances are you already have gedit installed in your system.

Gedit code editor

Features of gedit

  • gedit is very much customizable and allows scripting it in a number of languages, including C, C++, HTML, XML, Python, and Perl.
  • The search and replace functionality is superb comparing to other lightweight Notepad alternatives and supports regular expression.
  • gedit comes with a flexible plugin system that allows users to add advanced features for a more dynamic performance.
  • It was first released more than 20 years ago but is still actively developed and maintained.

Download gedit

8. Neovim

vim editorNeovim is a modern-day take on Vim, emphasizing more powerful plugins and seamless integration with external tools like IDEs. The software has proven to be a significant success and is currently being actively developed. Neovim works on almost every Linux and BSD variant alongside Windows, macOS, and Android. It supports most everyday features like syntax highlighting, bracket matching, and remote file editing. The source code editor can be extended using several languages.


Features of Neovim

  • Neovim is a hundred percent compatible with every Vim plugins and supports Vi-style keybindings without any hassle.
  • Users aren’t forced to create typical configurations as Neovim comes with the most basic Vim configs out of the box.
  • The UI-agnostic interface is extremely appealing and can be integrated with any other GUI system like Atom very easily.
  • Neovim features a robust plugin model with separation between plugins and the core product, allowing plugins to be written using any language.

Download Neovim

9. Geany

Geany javascript ideGeany is one of the best Notepad alternatives that can be used to replace your Notepad++ dependency when in Linux. It is an extremely powerful yet innovative source code editor with features similar to full-fledged IDEs. Geany can be used for heavy-duty programming tasks and provides an efficient coding experience. The software reduces the dependency on external packages as much as possible and has very short loading times.


Features of Geany

  • It has in-built support for syntax highlighting, code completion, auto-completion, folding, and a massive array of file types.
  • Geany is one of the most lightweight Notepad Ubuntu alternatives and occupies only about 20 MB of residential memory.
  • The embedded terminal emulator equipped with Geany is smooth and provides fair enough performance on most distributions.
  • Geany is exceptionally customizable and can be extended easily using robust third-party plugins.

Download Geany

10. Atom

Atom is a modern-day take on Linux text editors developed by the code hosting site GitHub. The software is built entirely using web technologies such as NodeJs and Electron. This makes it possible for users to run Atom on different systems very easily. Atom is known for its elegant GUI interface, extensive plugin support, stunning themes, and many more. However, Atom tends to perform slower than many Notepad++ alternatives for Linux and might not be the right solution for older PCs.

atom text editor

Features of Atom

  • Atom describes itself as a “hackable text editor for the 21st Century” and is true to its word when it comes to customization.
  • The interface is quite elegant and features a built-in package manager that allows for much easier modifications.
  • Atom ships with embedded Git control and is an excellent choice for open-source developers collaborating on a large number of projects.
  • The robust command palette of Atom allows fuzzy searches and provides access to all available functions, settings, and snippets.

Download Atom

11. Notepadqq

Notepadqq is an excellent alternative to Notepad++ and provides almost the same set of functionality. It is an efficient Notepad++ Linux replacement and offers everything you’d look for in a general-purpose text editor. The editor focuses heavily on programming and has in-built support for conventional programming aids such as syntax highlighting, code folding, color schemes, file monitoring, and multiple selections, to say just a few.

Features of Notepadqq

  • It’s quite easy to install this open-source text editor in regular Linux distributions and installed it through PPA on Ubuntu.
  • Notepadqq boasts the freeware GNU GPL license, which allows third-party developers to create modern and useful extensions.
  • The editor is lightning fast and provides features like multiple selections and regular expression searches to increase productivity.
  • Notepadqq comes with several color schemes appropriate for different desktops and adheres well to modern environments.

Download Notepadqq

12. Spacemacs

Spacemacs is a 21st-century take on GNU Emacs and takes advantage of all of GNU Emacs’ features while reducing rarely used functionalities where needed. The software works with graphical and command-based interfaces and can be executed under any X Window-based Linux and BSD variants. Spacemacs is developed using Emacs Lisp and utilizes the GNU GPL license. If you’re looking for a feasible Notepad alternative with extra power, Spacemacs is worth a try.


Features of Spacemacs

  • The GUI interface is agnostic in nature and provides a gentle introduction to Emacs’ functionalities for beginners.
  • Spacemacs comes with hundreds of tailor-made packages that will enhance the productivity of busy programmers greatly.
  • The mnemonic key bindings of Spacemacs ensure developers get the most out of their Notepad++ Linux alternative without bearing any hassle.
  • Spacemacs allows developers to switch easily between input styles and thus makes an excellent utility for pair-programming.

Download Spacemacs

13. Brackets

Brackets text editor for WindowsBrackets is a simple, lightweight yet effective source code editor developed by Adobe Systems and maintained on GitHub. It aims to be the swiss army knife of web developers toolkit and enjoying pretty decent popularity. Brackets is known for its straightforward approach to web programming, which aids the users with robust pre-set defaults, inline coding, live preview, and many more. If you’re a web programmer looking for a resource-friendly and competent Javascript Editor for Linux, give Brackets a try.


Features of Brackets

  • Brackets is extraordinarily lightweight and runs smoothly even on legacy Linux systems without any performance issues.
  • The inline editing capability of Brackets is very well suited to modern web developers who need to work on several files simultaneously.
  • Brackets make it much easier to work with preprocessors and smartly maintain complex workflows.
  • It comes with a robust extension manager that contains tools for Emmet, File Icons, Indent Guides, Beautify, Git, Autoprefixer, and W3C validation.

Download Brackets

14. JED

JED is an enthralling addition to any list of Notepad++ alternatives for Linux due to its blazing fast speed and lightweight build. JED comes with exciting features, making it appealing to a wide range of audiences, including sysadmins and web programmers. The runtime is much faster than traditional Linux text editors and has readily available emulation modes for Emacs, Borland IDE, and EDT. If you like console-based text editors with minimal distractions, JED is a viable solution for you.

Features of JED

  • JED is exceptionally lightweight and runs flawlessly, even on legacy Linux machines with inferior hardware.
  • A GUI version built on top of the X Window system is available for Unix systems called XJED.
  • JED comes with native support for asynchronous subprocesses, TeX files, and abbreviation and dynamic abbreviation modes.
  • Syntax highlighting support is available for C, C++, Fortran, HTML, sh, Perl, Python, and more.

Download JED

15. Bluefish

Bluefish is a 21st-century source code editor for programmers and web developers that offers modern-day functionalities like syntax highlighting, multi-document interface, in-line editing, and many more. It is an essential toolkit in any programmer’s helm and can develop futuristic software using clean, concise code. Bluefish allows full-screen editing, code folding, auto-completion, and ZenCoding support, among many others. The software is fully compatible with most GNOME and KDE desktops.

Bluefish Editor

Features of Bluefish

  • Bluefish is quite lightweight and starts extremely fast, even when loading thousands of files.
  • It integrates with standard Unix programs such as make, lint, weblint, xmllint, tidy, javac really well.
  • Bluefish allows users to recover modified documents in case of any unwanted file damage.
  • The search and replace mechanism of Bluefish is compelling and allows advanced searches using Perl Compatible regular expressions.

Download Bluefish

16. Light Table

Light Table – A Free Yet Powerful Open-Source Code Editor for LinuxDescribed as the next-generation code editor, Light Table stays true to its purpose of delivering a modern development solution. It is a suitable Notepad alternative for people who like to be on edge and enjoy innovative features. Light Table is written using the Lisp dialect Clojure and provides functionalities like instant program execution, real-time feedback, and debugging. If you’re trying to find a Notepad Ubuntu alternative for interactive programming, Light Table would be a great choice.


Features of Light Table

  • Light Table’s robust package management system contains hundreds of powerful extensions that can be used to customize the editor.
  • The inline evaluation feature of the Light table allows developers to see what their code does directly inside the editor.
  • It boasts a clean, lightweight yet sleek user interface that packs all the power of the editor in a nicely laid out manner.
  • Light Table enables developers to shape their editor any way they like using its flexible Behavior-Object-Tag engine.

Download Light Table

17. Diakonos

Diakonos claims to be the code editor for the masses, and we do agree with the developers in this respect. It is an exceptionally well-designed source code editor that aims to provide a viable console-based Notepad alternative. Contrary to other text-based editors, Diakonos utilizes the same keymappings you use for creating, opening, or saving files in your everyday GUI editor. This makes Diakonos a lucrative solution to people looking for console editors that aren’t hard to master.

Features of Diakonos

  • Diakonos has in-built support for complex macros, multi-element clipboard, parsed indentation, and advanced regular expression searches.
  • The multi-level undo feature of this Notepad++ Linux replacement comes in handy when tweaking existing packages in real-time.
  • Diakonos comes with syntax highlighting support for most standard programming languages like C, Python, and PHP.
  • It allows developers to grep as they type and get the most out of their terminal editor.

Download Diakonos

18. SciTE

SciTE is among the most compelling Notepad++ alternatives for Linux and achieves many of the same feats matched by Notepad++ efficiently. It is a genuinely multi-platform software with installers available for Windows and GTK-based Linux distributions. SciTE sits on top of the opensource SCIntilla library and provides advanced source code editing functionalities alongside standard features. Programmers often recommend SciTE for building test and demonstration programs that need more straightforward configurations.

Features of SciTE

  • SciTE comes with pre-built support for robust key mappings, multi-line selection, virtual space, pattern matching, and many others.
  • It supports syntax highlighting for a considerable number of languages and has an inline function reference for standard languages.
  • SciTE can be customized quite easily using the Lua scripting language and utilizing the SCIntilla APIs.
  • It has default support for Unicodes, code folding, hooks, auto-completion alongside PDF exporting capabilities.

Download SciTE

19. micro editor

the micro editor is a simple yet effective source code editor that may be a great alternative to Notepad++ on Linux systems. This is a modern take on terminal-based editors and is entirely open source, allowing third-party customizations without any hassle. One aspect where the micro editor stands apart from traditional Notepad++ alternatives for Linux is mouse support. If you’re unhappy with the native mouse support provided by Vim or nano, consider looking at the micro editor for a change.

Features of micro editor

  • The software comes as a single binary with no dependencies, making it extremely easy to install on most Linux and BSD distributions.
  • The micro editor has pre-built support for Sublime-style multiple cursors, which provide the maximum editing power in the terminal.
  • The micro editor has syntax highlighting support for more than 75 languages and offers 7 built-in color schemes to choose from.
  • The plugin system is extremely robust and allows developers to extend the software’s functionality quickly.

Download micro editor

20. CudaText

CudaText is one of the most lightweight Notepad++ alternatives for Linux and runs effortlessly on any Linux and BSD distributions. It is written using Object Pascal and relies on Python add-ons for additional facilities. Due to the core of the program being so small, CudaText requires the least amount of resources to function efficiently. It utilizes JSON files for storing editor configurations supports over 200 lexers by default.


Features of CudaText

  • CudaText has syntax highlighting support for most common programming languages, including C, C++, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and XML.
  • The search and replace functionality supports regular expressions and has a minimum response time.
  • CudaText is very much extendable through add-ons or plugins, which are written in Python.
  • It provides features like hex editing, auto-completion, code tree, code folding, multi-selection, alongside many others.

Download CudaText

Ending Thoughts

Choosing the best Notepad++ Linux replacement is hard due to the abundance of selections available at your disposal. Thankfully, a considerable number of Notepad++ alternatives for Linux exist that make it easier to switch on to another editor. Moreover, you will find out how much better Linux editors are when you try editors like Vim, Emacs, Visual Studio Code, or Sublime Text. We have tried our best to include the items used universally by Linux power users. Hopefully, you have gained the insights you were looking for from this guide.

Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan is a passionate enthusiast for technology. He admires all things tech and loves to help others understand the fundamentals of Linux, servers, networking, and computer security in an understandable way without overwhelming beginners. His articles are carefully crafted with this goal in mind - making complex topics more accessible.


  1. You really should be much clearer on which of the above apps are actually open source and which are not. In many cases you don’t specify that.

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