What I'm looking for:

  • lightweight (non IDE) program for Linux that manages the tasks listed below
  • modern GUI program - I want to use mouse, drag-n-drop, …

It should be gratis software.

The features from Notepad++ I want to use in the desired Linux program (from the most important ones):

  • multiple files open in tabs
  • syntax highlighting for most languages
  • toggle comment for most languages
  • regex find and replace
  • reload prompt if the file has been modified outside the program
  • autosave
  • find and replace in all opened files or all files in directory
  • simple autocomplete (based on other text in the same file)
  • hex editor

Is there any program on Linux that matches these requirements, or nearly all of them?

EDIT - Atom:
I've tried the first recommendation - Atom. Although I support the effort put into that editor, it fails to satisfy my needs for many reasons:

  • Very cumbersome key bindings
  • editor freezes when used after a longer time
  • no show printable characters button
  • UI - maybe I didn't understand it well, but why I slide right in the editor while clicking left on scrollbar?
  • regex replace is terribly slow, even if the file has less then 1000 characters

I haven't tested any other feature, because the slow regex replace discourage me on its own from using the editor. Atom could be a great text editor once, but now it's not in "release state" if you ask me.

EDIT - Sublime Text: Although it looks fine, I noticed that Sublime Text is not gratis. Now (2016-12-23), they want a 70$ per license.

  • You already used the max tabs you are allowed, but it is always important to state budget and o/s (you did state o/s).
    – Mawg
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 17:04
  • 1
    I've been using Sublime for quite some time. They do want money for a license... but there is no time limit on the unlicensed version - you can continue to use it indefinitely. It may not be the case in the future, but at least now you don't have to pay anything to use Sublime legally. You could, because it's cool, but you don't have to. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 5:43

10 Answers 10


I used to recommend Kate as the editor to use ... until it stopped working correctly in non-KDE environments (missing icons, etc)

Now I cheerfully recommend Geany - https://www.geany.org/Download/Releases

Does all you want, has a terminal option to work in as well, can actually be set up to compile/build your source, etc. More like a super light weight IDE than a plain text editor. Oh, and cross platform too - Linux, Mac, Windows. And the best of all: It's using the same Lexxer in background providing you syntax highlighting as Notepad++ is doing.

  • 1
    I am also a Geany fan/user, on Win and on Linux. I like that it is reasonably lightweight yet it has tabbed UI and decent search. I actually always disable most of the code-completion features (my personal preference), so I cannot comment on those.. Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 20:36

You may try Sublime Text. It has all the features listed by you.

The UI is modern and quite fast, and supports mouse + configurable keyboard shortcuts: enter image description here

As well it includes other features:

  • "Goto Anything," quick navigation to files, symbols, or lines
  • "Command palette" uses adaptive matching for quick keyboard invocation of arbitrary commands
  • Plugin API and many different plugins. E.g. hex editor plugin is available here
  • Project-specific preferences
  • Cross platform (Windows, OS X, Linux)
  • Compatible with many language grammars

You may find other interesting and useful plugins on Package Control web-site.



While the UI is pretty old school, there is a reason it is still popular a quarter century after it's creation; it's awesome. Here is an article that walks through how to install most of the features you need.

  • ✓ Lightweight :: Very lightweight
  • ✗ Modern GUI :: Unless late 20th Century counts as modern...
  • ✓ Gratis :: Donations go to help children in Uganda
  • ✓ Tabs :: 3 ways to do it
  • ✓ Syntax Highlighting :: Yes
  • ✓ Toggle Comment :: There's a plugin for that
  • ✓ Regex :: Search and replace is a beautiful thing
  • ✓ Reload Prompt (if the file has been modified) :: Yes, with a config edit
  • ✓ AutoSave :: Yes, with a config edit
  • ✓ Find/Replace in all files in directory :: You can execute external cmds so yes
  • ✓ AutoComplete :: Another plugin
  • ✓ Hex Editor :: Hex yes

Take a look at GitHub Atom

  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Supports Syntax Highlighting most languages out of the box and can be customised for more
  • Hex Viewer as a plug in module
  • Small & Lightweight (by modern standards) >100 MB setup on my machine
  • Multi-tab and multipane
  • Regexp Search
  • Auto complete
  • Auto save
  • Can be set up as portable on some systems.
  • Git Aware
  • Many years later, as of the end of 2022, Atom development was officially ceased. :( Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 18:35

It probably doesn't match a hipster definition of "modern", but I suggest you eventually learn to use good old VIM or Emacs.

There is a reason why they are still extremely popular. They have multiple buffers, macros, folding, syntax highlighting for the most absurd languages (syntax highlighting for mutt config files? sure!), keyboard shortcuts to increment numbers, ... refactoring for python via bicycle repair man, ...

  • Knowing how to use vi/vim (and nano/pico) is that it is almost for-sure going to be installed on any unix/linux system. Even if all you learn is how to open, insert/edit/delete text, save without exiting, exit without saving, and save-and-exit you may need it to fix things enough so you can install a real editor :)
    – ivanivan
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 4:34

Take a look at Scite (which comes with most Linux distris' repositories):

  • multiple files open in tabs: Check.
  • syntax highlighting for most languages: Check.
  • toggle comment for most languages: Check.
  • regex find and replace: Check.
  • reload prompt if the file has been modified outside the program: Not out-of-the-box (unsure if it has it, couldn't find it yet). But you can have it warn you when you want to save your changes and another process had modified the file in the meantime.
  • autosave: Check. You can set an interval.
  • find and replace in all opened files or all files in directory: find in all files in directory is there.
  • simple autocomplete (based on other text in the same file): A bunch of autocomplete settings, I didn't yet play with them all
  • hex editor: Afraid not.

Additional features include code folding, exporting to HTML, PDF, LaTeX, RTF, XML, different encodings, convert upper-/lowercase, and much more. It also comes with a quite detailed "settings file" where you can tweak nearly everything (things that didn't fit in the menus). Find the Scite documentation here for details.

While offering all that, it still is rather lightweight and doesn't consume that much space – which was the argument for me to give it a try.


You can try out Notepadqq, which is an unofficial port of the original Notepad++ to Linux. Please be warned that it is incomplete, so some of the features you expect may be missing.

Based on a quick look at the version of Notepadqq I have, most of the features on your list appear to be available, except for the hex editor and autosave.

  • I tried Notepadqq even before writing this question. In my opinion, it's only a shade, a parody of the original program. If someone would make an example about Windows being better than Linux, this program port is the convenient example :)
    – Fido
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 8:58
  • @Fido: Yeah, that's the impression I got as well, although I would commend its devs for their valiant efforts :) Hopefully it will get better with time. Also, did you consider running Notepad++ with Wine, or is that a no-go?
    – Pabru
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 11:47
  • I"ve tried that but there was some serious glitch (I can't remember what exactly) that prevented me from using it effectively.
    – Fido
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 12:00
  • Unfortunately, the last release was a beta in 2019. Commented Feb 21, 2023 at 18:37

Give CudaText a try. It works on Linux quite good (gtk2, qt).

  • 80% of features menioned - supported
  • not supported: hex editor (but I cannot find it in Notepad++ too?)
  • supported via plugins: Find-replace in files (plugin FindInFiles)
  • not supported, plugin not done: auto-save

jEdit is a suitable text editor which has somewhat similar look and feel and functionality of notepad++. jEdit has many plugins to extend its functionality if needed similar to Notepad++

  • Welcome firstpostcommenter! Do you have any affiliation with jEdit? If so, please disclose. Thanks! Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 10:20

Snap packages can be used on all major Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian and Fedora. To install the Notepad++ snap package open the terminal and type:

sudo snap install notepad-plus-plus  

To add Notepad++ navigation to other drives besides the default drive:

sudo snap connect notepad-plus-plus:removable-media

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