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Are there any basic text editors available that are just drop-dead simple, that allow me to instantly view the contents of a small text file? GEdit is nice, but it takes several seconds to start. I need something that is extreme bare-bones that doesn't have to load a bunch of features that can pop up and show the contents in the blink of an eye. Is there anything like that?

Edit: I'm looking for a GUI application that I can use to open a file from Nautilus.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I just tested a few editors by right-clicking on a text file in nautilus, selecting open with/other application


and then clicking on find applications online. One I liked (apart from my standard editor, bluefish) was LeafPad, small, fast to open, nothing fancy.

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Wow, that one even beat SciTe. Super-simple. – Jonah May 6 '13 at 19:40

Mousepad is a very small and simple text editor that starts instantly (literally).

Install it with:

sudo apt-get install mousepad
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If you want a GUI editor, try SciTe. It's a bit hard to configure, but very powerful and fast.

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That's perfect! If it started any faster, it would open before I clicked! :) Used to use SciTe as my main editor, forgot all about it. – Jonah May 6 '13 at 18:33

Just found gnome-sushi - a quick previewer for nautilus.

Highlight the file in Nautilus (so it gets focus) and hit SPACE.


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I tried Sushi, but wasn't very fast, and didn't allow me to select text at all. – Jonah May 8 '13 at 0:13

nano launches very fast at least in this machine.

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Ubuntu comes with nano and vim. You have to run those applications from the command line. You can also use them when you don't have a GUI.

Fastest is Midnightcommander. It's a file manager that runs from the command line. To start type mc. To view the contents of a file just hite the F3 key.

You have to download Midnightcommander via Ubuntu Software Repository or via Synaptics.

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You're right, vim and nano both start basically instantly, but I would need to start a terminal emulator, and I don't always have one up. I'd like a GUI I can start from Nautilus. – Jonah May 6 '13 at 18:14

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