What text editors allow you to view and edit multiple files as though they were a single long page?

So, instead of having to switch to a different tab or window to edit a different file, you can just scroll to a different location in the same window to edit a different file.

The only editor like that I know of so far is Scrivener, with its Scrivenings Mode:


Are there any others? I'd especially like to find a source code editor which has a mode like that.

Any platform is fine - Linux, Windows, Mac, or anything else.

Thanks for any help!

  • 1
    Code Bubbles doesn't really match what you're asking for, but maybe it's close enough.
    – Brian
    Nov 4, 2015 at 5:20
  • Wow!! Code Bubbles looks really unique and clever - I never saw anything like that for code before! Very cool, thanks for pointing it out! The beta signup page isn't working for me - andrewbragdon.com/codebubbles_beta_signup.asp - but, hopefully I'll be able to figure out how to try it. Code Bubbles reminds me of one of my favorite programs, the concept mapping software VUE: Visual Understanding Environment - vue.tufts.edu - which I've long wished I could somehow adapt to use for writing actual code, instead of only notes about code.
    – Apollia
    Nov 4, 2015 at 7:13
  • Yeah, that page hasn't been updated in years. At this point, I think there are a few places you can download it.
    – Brian
    Nov 4, 2015 at 13:55
  • Excellent! Here's a page with Code Bubbles for download: cs.brown.edu/~spr/codebubbles
    – Apollia
    Nov 5, 2015 at 6:39

3 Answers 3


Brackets would be a good option. It's open source, well designed, a lot of customization can be done (with extensions), and the best thing is it has a live preview feature you can just edit your multiple code files and see the changes simultaneously in the browser. It's founded by Adobe so I guess you can rely on it's sustainability pretty much.

Here's a screenshot of my version how multiple source code files can be accessed and edited from the left column:

enter image description here

Hope this resolves your issue.

  • 2
    Of perhaps more interest to the OP, brackets lets you perform editing of related file fragments without switching windows. For example, you could pick a specific node in an html file and have brackets pop open an editor for whatever css applies to that node. Of course, that stuff is only built in for web-oriented development (html/css/js).
    – Brian
    Nov 4, 2015 at 5:17
  • 1
    Thank you! Brackets is pretty close to what I was asking for, with its lack of tabs and the ability to get by using a single window. It's only missing the ability to have separate files displayed together all at the same time as though they were all a single large scrollable file. But, happily, that feature could conceivably be added someday, since Brackets is libre/open source and can be customized with extensions. And I love the CSS popup feature! I will definitely use Brackets for some of my web development in the future. Thanks again!
    – Apollia
    Nov 4, 2015 at 6:56

The Emacs editor (plus some Emacs add-ons) might be exactly what I need.


I found an Emacs add-on called "multifiles.el" which does what I was asking about. multifiles.el worked for me in Emacs 24.3.1 in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004.

These two Reddit pages mentioned multifiles.el: https://www.reddit.com/r/emacs/comments/3j1ep0/open_multiple_files_in_one_buffer



multifiles.el is available here: https://github.com/magnars/multifiles.el

I also had to download this, which multifiles.el has a dependency on: https://github.com/magnars/dash.el


In the past, I never used Emacs very much except for playing Tetris, so, it was a bit difficult to even figure out how to install and use the multifiles.el add-on.

But, the instructions for installing Emacs add-ons from https://stackoverflow.com/a/6406114 helped, even though I'm using Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004 rather than Windows.

I stuck all these lines in my Emacs configuration file located at ~/.emacs:

    (add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/site-lisp")
    (progn (cd "~/.emacs.d/site-lisp")

    ( require 'multifiles)
    ( global-set-key [?\C-!] 'mf/mirror-region-in-multifile )


Then, I opened some of my PHP source code files, and, inside each one, typed C-x h to select all text, then typed C-! to add all the selected text to the multifile.

The changes you make to the multifile are immediately mirrored in the buffers for the original files.

You can even see the changes being mirrored while you type in the multifile, if you have both the multifile and the original file displayed at the same time using Emacs' split screen feature. (multifile.el automatically opens the multifile in the bottom pane of a split screen when you add new text to the multifile with the C-! command.)

Saving the multifile saves all the original files.

And, happily, the syntax coloring from the php-mode Emacs add-on - https://github.com/ejmr/php-mode - works properly on the multifile.


So, this will be perfect for me when (or if) I get used to Emacs, and if/when I figure out how to automate the addition of all my many source code files to the multifile, and hopefully figure out how to add some other features, like displaying the title and line number of the embedded file I'm currently working on in the multifile, reordering the embedded files, etc.

Thanks again for all the suggestions!

And, more suggestions are still welcome. Even though Emacs might (or might not) turn out to be my ultimate solution, it would still be interesting to hear of all the alternatives.

It seems like text editors with this feature are quite rare and unusual. Or maybe it's just hard to google for, because I'm not even sure what to call it except "scrivenings mode", which is what it's called in Scrivener. https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php


I finally managed to make most of the modifications and additions I wanted to make to Magnar Sveen's incredibly useful "multifiles.el" add-on for the GNU Emacs editor.

The result: https://github.com/Apollia/multifiles-apmod.el

My version has some problems (see the documentation), and anyone who tries to use it should be very cautious.

But, it mostly does what I want, so I'm very happy with it so far.


After learning a bit about the Emacs Lisp programming language and how to customize Emacs, Emacs is now more comfortable for me to use than even my previous favorite editors Notepad++ and Geany. But getting to this point was quite a time-consuming struggle.

Emacs is probably the solution I'm going to stick with. But, please feel free to post more suggestions.

Different things work better for different people, and I'm guessing the majority of people (especially non-programmers) would probably give up on Emacs after about 5 minutes, just as I did in the past.

Thanks again for everyone's help!

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