I was wondering if there was a lightweight text editor that also had syntax highlighting.

Depending on one's definition of lightweight some that could qualify could be gedit, Kate or even Geany for example, but I'm looking for something in the lines of what Notepad3 is in Windows except for Linux.

This is a screenshot of Notepad3, for reference:

Notepad3 screenshot

Think of it as Leafpad or Mousepad with syntax highlighting (plenty more, but for our purposed that suffices), simple enough to be used as a basic text editor but with some eyecandy to aid programming.

Is there such a thing?

  • 1
    Can you explain in what ways Notepad3 for windows differs from the alternatives that you enumerated? In what ways are they deficient?
    – Andy Dalton
    Jun 11, 2020 at 23:20
  • @AndyDalton, the others seem too evolved, they're more complex. For example, they can be used to handle projects, have an embedded terminal or several documents side by side. While those things are certainly optional they make those programs heavier, I was looking for something rather minimal.
    – Kao
    Jun 11, 2020 at 23:27
  • Maybe check out sourceforge.net/projects/nedit
    – Andy Dalton
    Jun 11, 2020 at 23:30
  • You should specify if you are looking for FOSS or if you are ok to use non-free programs. If you disable all plugins, Gedit is pretty minimal. Vim is a powerful CLI text editor with syntax highlighting, luckily it has a GUI fronted call gVim.
    – user67928
    Jun 12, 2020 at 9:26
  • I'm voting to close this question because it is way too broad. Gedit, Kate, Geany and most other text editors with a GUI fit the requirements in the question. The bulk of the memory consumption is the GUI toolkits. The existence of features that you won't use doesn't make the programs bigger or more complex, so it does not disqualify them. Apr 17, 2021 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


CudaText (uvviewsoft.com , open source, cross platform) is rather light weight.

If you remove python DLL from the Windows version, it will start even faster. But all plugins will not work then. It’s look is not heavy, it is like in Notepad3.

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