Leafpad is the default text editor for the LXDE Desktop environment designed to be lightweight and simple. Although I like this design choice, there are some additional features available in other text editors (ex: Notepad++ for Windows) that indeed improve productivity:
in order of importance

  • *spell checker
  • *macro: simple rec/play keystrokes
  • *info bar: total characters/lines and current position
  • bracket matching
  • multi-tab
  • auto-completion
  • syntax highlighting
  • code folding

(*) indispensable

Is there another text editor for Linux still lightweight and simple to use but with the aforementioned features (specially the indispensable ones)?

Follow up

Mousepad Editor

Following some advices, I've just installed mousepad and it seems that it has only benefits compared to leafpad:

  • very easy installation (just apt install mousepad)
  • lightweight: no need to bloat the lxde install with gnome/kde dependencies
  • simple, easy and fast
  • built-in (no need to install plugins): status bar, bracket matching, multi-tab, syntax highlighting

However, it doesn't solve completely the original issue since there are still some missing features:

  • *spell checker
  • *keystrokes macro
  • auto-completion
  • code folding

Operating System

  • Let me know how to migrate the original post from Unix & Linux to Software Recommendations. – Mark Messa Aug 10 '18 at 20:18
  • On my Linux box I use xed (xedit) when using a graphical text editor. Has spell checking, but lacks macros and total characters from your must-haves. I found no bracket matching either, nor auto-complete. Syntax highlighting is there, but no code folding. // PS: consider posting your answer as answer, not part of the question ;) // as for migrating that post: too late, you've already posted the same here so it would be a duplicate. – Izzy Aug 10 '18 at 21:39
  • @izzy "I use xed (xedit)" Its not very user friendly, ex: seems that to open a file it is necessary to write the filename instead of browsing. – Mark Messa Aug 10 '18 at 22:09
  • 1
    @Izzy "PS: consider posting your answer as answer, not part of the question ;)" Agree, as soon as I get an answer. Mousepad is just a workaround. It is very painful to not have spell checker. – Mark Messa Aug 10 '18 at 22:12
  • @Izzy "too late, you've already posted the same here so it would be a duplicate." 1) Mind to explain what should I have done? 2) Since there was no answer at Unix & Linux, I've tried to get such migration answer here. Should I delete the [ON HOLD] questions at Unix & Linux? – Mark Messa Aug 10 '18 at 22:15

CudaText editor (free) has these features. Consider it as lightweight one.

  • spell checker: plugin Spell Checker
  • macro: plugin Macros
  • info bar: statusbar, and it can be customized by "ui_statusbar_" options
  • bracket matching: plugin Hilite Brackets
  • multi-tab: tabs UI is the default
  • auto-completion: plugins, e.g. HTML Completion
  • syntax highlighting: in preinstalled "lexers"
  • code folding: in preinstalled "lexers"
  • Seems to be a powerful yet lightweight (14MiB) text editor. Any idea why it is not available at Debian repo? – Mark Messa Aug 12 '18 at 7:48
  • @MarkMessa What is "Debian repo", some software site? So they didn't add this app. – RProgram Aug 14 '18 at 20:45
  • @MarkMessa Likely because it's written in Delphi, which is not exactly well supported on almost any Linux platform. – Austin Hemmelgarn Aug 15 '18 at 17:59
  • @RProgram debian.org/distrib/packages – Austin Hemmelgarn Aug 15 '18 at 18:00
  • And is so easy to add your own plugins – Josem Dec 15 '19 at 19:56


✓ Lightweight and superfast
✓ Spell check (plugin)
✓ Macro (plugin)
✓ info bar: total characters/lines and current position
✓ bracket matching
✓ multi-tab
✓ auto-completion
✓ syntax highlighting
✓ code folding

It even has some basic build/execute tools to check your code directly.

  • It seems to be much more than a simple text editor yet still lightweight (10Mb): project management, embedded terminal emulator, basic IDE, ... – Mark Messa Aug 13 '18 at 16:36
  • Another very happy Geany user here... seems very light, but as noted, has some basic IDE features. Only thing I'm really missing is good git integration. But since there is a command line window/view in the editor, I can get by... – ivanivan Sep 29 '18 at 13:06


Textadept is a lite (3.9Mb download for Linux), actively developed, cross-platform (I've used it for years on Win, Ubuntu/Mint, and OSX), very fast (starts up very quickly, which was the reason I first started using it), Scintilla-based text editor. Or, in the words of the developer, Textadept is

A fast, minimalist, and remarkably extensible cross-platform text editor

It has many features beyond those required by OP (see its website landing page for a quick overview), but also those stipulated above:

  • Yes *spell checker | via add-on Spellcheck module
  • Yes *macro: simple rec/play keystrokes | via add-on Macro module
  • Yes *info bar: total characters/lines and current position | yep
  • Yes bracket matching | natively
  • Yes multi-tab | natively
  • Yes auto-completion | natively
  • Yes syntax highlighting | natively
  • Note code folding | yes, but depends on the "lexer"

Basic screenshot (showing "split screen" feature -- note that Textadept is "themable"):

(source: foicica.com)

Sweet and simple. It has been my first-choice "basic" text editor for many years now.

  • P.s. I use one of the Base16 themes provided by Robert Gieseke. Something there for every taste! – Dɑvïd Sep 28 '18 at 20:43

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