I'm looking for a text editor for programming in Python, preferably one which is easy to learn for beginners.


28 Answers 28


Geany alt text

Geany is a lightweight IDE that supports python.

Some features that I have found particularly useful include:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Automatic indenting - especially useful for python
  • Code folding, allowing you to hide parts of your code
  • Inbuilt syntax checking and execution
  • Symbol browser
  • Embedded terminal
  • Find and replace with regexp support

alt text

  • It's too bad theming Geany is almost as easy as solving pi.
    – Krista K
    Dec 8, 2014 at 0:11
  • Any time I resize the Geany window, I get weird graphical errors/glitches in the text. I have no idea why.
    – jocull
    Apr 26, 2016 at 15:55
  • It would be great to get some comparison to TextMate because Geany seems to be the leading editor there. May 30, 2016 at 18:35
  • thank you for the hint! The best thing is: it opens all files as tabs, even if the window is on another workspace; just what I have been looking for, not like the stupid (nicer looking, doubtlessly) gedit
    – Ilja
    Mar 20, 2017 at 17:45

Vim Install GVim

I think Vim is amazing!

Vim is a highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems.

Although Vim was originally released for the Amiga, Vim has since been developed to be cross-platform, supporting many other platforms. It is the most popular editor amongst Linux Journal readers.

Vim is free and open source software and is released under a license which includes some charityware clauses, encouraging users who enjoy the software to consider donating to children in Uganda. The license is compatible with the GNU General Public License.

alt text

  • 23
    Vim is extraordinarily powerful. But it has a nontrivial learning curve, since it's so different from all other editors. The time investment will pay off, but people should know that they'll need a few days/weeks to get proficient in vim. Nov 3, 2010 at 11:38
  • 4
    Vim is the bomb. Learn to use this editor, it's worth it.
    – oadams
    Nov 18, 2010 at 9:07
  • 3
    Great article about vim: stevelosh.com/blog/2010/09/coming-home-to-vim Nov 18, 2010 at 22:28
  • 4
    @DrKenobi: it should be pointed out that the default vim installed on ubuntu is a reduced version (vim-tiny), and that for a GUI version the user should install vim-gnome or vim-gtk, that seems to be identical.
    – enzotib
    May 22, 2011 at 13:12
  • 1
    It is vim.tiny if you want to execute it. Oct 11, 2011 at 15:48

I really have to add Sublime Text 2 to the list because it's simply amazing. It's the best TextMate alternative for Linux.

It has way too many features to write the all here, but to name just a few:

  • a sidebar for projects or files and Chrome-style tabs as well as multi-pane editing which includes horizontal, vertical and even a quad pane mode
  • "Goto Anything": press Ctrl+P and type something - this will search in both filenames and lines of code across currently open files as well as recently close files. Start your search by using "#" to go to that word line, "@" for symbol or ":" for line
  • minimap which shows you an an overview of your files
  • macros, various find tools (find in files, find in open files, incremental find), easily switch between project, multiple selection, autocomplete and lots more.

enter image description here

  • Sublime 2 is Vim compatible as well - which makes it more awesome. Oct 11, 2011 at 16:08
  • There's a Sublime Text 3 out now, and it's even more awesome!
    – rvighne
    Mar 30, 2014 at 22:36
  • 1
    Unfortunately, Sublime Text is an editor that doesn't work on armhf architecture. Aug 30, 2015 at 11:49
  • My favorite feature of this editor is multiple-cursors, and real-time regex highlighting. Its so powerful to see every highlight of a regular expression in a file, select every occurrence of that highlight and then bend the selections to my will with the command palette, text transforms, world snapped selection jumps, relative cursor goodness. Though I've become quite annoyed at certain details over time too, there build in for selecting next occurrence of a selection doesn't match the next variable highlighted (which is only really a problem if variables have single letter names.) Sep 23, 2015 at 17:51
  • Costs $ / is nagware & not opensource. After trying it I didn't find it was better than kate. Sublimes placement of the terminal and color pallet are better, but commenting out and indenting multiple lines of code in kate is easier. There's an open alternative lime-text
    – virtualxtc
    Jun 22, 2018 at 10:00

Gedit install gedit

Gedit is a simple but useful text editor that supports syntax highlighting for python. It doesn't have many features out of the box, but is very simple to use. It can be extended with plugins. There is a set of plugins that can be installed from the gedit-plugins package.


  • 4
    Really need a package link for default software? Doesn't do any harm but it made me lol.
    – Oli
    Nov 2, 2010 at 23:43
  • 6
    I suppose it could be useful for people on Kubuntu :P
    – dv3500ea
    Nov 3, 2010 at 21:00
  • 1
    Don't forget to disable the 'file browser' plugin. I'll make loading docs extra snappy. Feb 16, 2011 at 9:37
  • @dv3500ea: They might use Kate though. Aug 11, 2011 at 9:46
  • Does gEdit have "open project folder" functionality? Aug 30, 2015 at 11:50

For a simple but powerful text editor I like SciTE. It has a great many language options and is cross-platform. Notepad++ was developed from the SciTE codebase, so it's a good start point if you're migrating from Windows / Notepad++.

scite screenshot with language drop down


My choice is Kate. Is a KDE application, so a bunch of dependencies will also be installed if you are using Gnome.

kate Install kate

alt text


  • 1
    I vote for Kate. A natural way for ordinary (not thinking in Lisp :-]) people (IMHO), looks nice, pretty configurable (including some exclusive features I like a lot). although I use Gnome, I couldn't find reasonable alternatives to these 2 KDE apps: Kate and Krusader.
    – Ivan
    Jan 15, 2011 at 16:12
  • By the way, @lovinglinux, a toolbar there on your screenshot looks pretty gnomish. How have you achieved that?
    – Ivan
    Jan 15, 2011 at 16:14
  • @Ivan, is the QTCurve widget style. Jan 15, 2011 at 16:26
  • 2
    If you want Eclipse-like multi-file editing, enable the Project plugin and create a project file. Kate will then automatically list files checked in to version control, and you can switch to them quickly by pressing Ctrl-Alt-O.
    – z0r
    Jan 2, 2014 at 6:55

Why don't you use eclipse?.. There is an python extension for eclipse.

Features include:

  • Django integration
  • Code completion
  • Code completion with auto import
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code analysis
  • Go to definition
  • Refactoring
  • Mark occurrences
  • Debugger
  • Remote debugger
  • Tokens browser
  • Interactive console
  • and many others:

    Check this url: http://pydev.org/manual_101_install.html

  • 5
    • 1
      +1 I was really impressed with PyDev. I would probably use it if I couldn't get all the features I wanted with Emacs.
      – vhallac
      Dec 29, 2011 at 11:07
    • +1 These days if you're using a text editor for any substantial dev you're doing it wrong. The list above is a great indication of the benefits of using a full featured IDE.
      – Alb
      Jan 14, 2012 at 15:40
    • +1, if you also get the Eclipse Software Center from the default repositories in Eclipse, you can install PyDev from there. Jan 18, 2012 at 0:13
    • 5
      It's too heavy :( Feb 25, 2014 at 18:41
    • 1
      I don't use Eclipse because it's extremely slow. I'm not so surprised as I'm never satisfied with JVMs' performances, it makes me delete anything Java related to my computer (seriously). Aug 3, 2014 at 7:11


    one of the classic text-editors, cross-platform, and a fan favorite of programming gurus. A slight learning curve, but once you catch on, and see how powerful it can be you'll never turn back.

    enter image description here

    There's a bunch of plugins available that'll have you setup in a full-fledged Rails IDE in no time: CLICK HERE




    Found it advertised on StackOverflow. Open source, cross-platform, looks/feels/works like TextMate. It even supports TextMate bundles, and comes with TextMate themes! It has a project file browser, and a bunch of other features. Read the installation instructions and then:

    sudo gem install redcar
    redcar install

    NOTE: it's under development


    Go with Emacs, it has a solid Python mode. You don't need anything too fancy anyway. Instead of using a class browser, it helps to use a web browser or to read through the manual for whatever modules you're using.

    • +1 emacs rules. Steep learning curve, most powerful editor.
      – psusi
      Mar 17, 2011 at 13:31
    • Don't get me wrong, I love emacs, and try to use it for everything. But it is probably the hardest editor to learn. The first time I ran it, I couldn't even quit from it, and had to kill it from another shell. :)
      – vhallac
      Dec 29, 2011 at 11:05
    • 1
      @vhallac: Emacs certainly has a steep learning curve, but when it comes to difficulty in learning the championship cup definitely goes to vi/vim!
      – haziz
      May 4, 2012 at 17:13
    • @vhallac That is so hilarious. I had the same experience, I killed it via htop. :D
      – henry
      Feb 1, 2014 at 16:56


    If you want to familiarize yourself with the Command Line interface (CLI) in the terminal, I would suggest Nano. It is a very flexible and further more it is already pre-installed in the GNOME terminal.

    To access Nano:

    1. Bring up the GNOME terminal.
    2. Type nano in the terminal.

      $ nano

    3. Voila, you are in nano!

    It is rather daunting at first but it is useful if you are a system administrator and it will useful in situation where the is no graphical interfaces.

    • Was looking for light one, this is best fit. Sep 18, 2014 at 3:30
    • Maybe is preinstalled in Ubuntu and not in the GNOME terminal **;-)
      – 0x2b3bfa0
      Aug 10, 2016 at 6:13

    Scribes Install scribes


    Scribes is designed to make you more productive Simple, slim and sleek, yet powerful.

    Features include:

    • Extensible via Python plugins
    • Remote editing (ftp, sftp, ssh, samba, webdav, webdavs)
    • Snippets! Watch the flash demo.
    • Automatic word completion
    • Automatic correction and replacement
    • Automatic pair character completion and smart insertion
    • Automatic indentation
    • Powerful text processing and manipulation functions
    • Bookmarks and smart navigation
    • Document Switcher
    • Syntax colors for over 30 languages
    • and much more...


    sudo apt-get install scribes

    Or The latest version of Scribes can be installed using the following official PPA: -

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mystilleef/scribes-daily
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install scribes

    I use Gedit with Gmate plugin. It's lightweight and fast solution. I think it enables you to use much of the TextMate's features.

    Just download source and run install.sh script.


    Try Geany. It has built in support for Ruby and has the features you want. It is designed to have the features of an IDE while remaining lightweight.

    Geany is a small and lightweight Integrated Development Environment. It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies from other packages. Another goal was to be as independent as possible from a special Desktop Environment like KDE or GNOME - Geany only requires the GTK2 runtime libraries.

    To install it, including the project functionality you want, install the geany and geany-plugins packages.

    • +1 On Geany - I use it for all my scripting needs: Ruby, Perl, Python, PHP, Java. Light weight with the features that need to be there to make me efficient. Sep 7, 2010 at 12:28
    • Geany has no support for remote locations. You can't create or delete files from the file-pane. There is no tree in the file-browser, you can only view one directory at the same time. No code completition templates. It has more buttons than gEdit, yet does less.
      – Ralf
      Sep 7, 2010 at 12:48
    • When did @Andrew ask for any of these features you mention? Geany has all of the features that he asked for and all of the features that I like to have. There is a tree view in the 'Documents' tab of the side pane which groups open files under their folders. I use the inbuilt terminal for most of my file management anyway. It has code completion - I don't know what a code completion template is. Like in Gedit, features can be added via plugins. Just because it lacks some features you like, doesn't mean it is bad.
      – dv3500ea
      Sep 7, 2010 at 13:09
    • I'm just giving some possible disadvantages of Geany. And if choosing something else than what's already installed by default expect some advantages, right?
      – Ralf
      Sep 7, 2010 at 13:16
    • I agree that Gedit is a good editor and I used it for a long time but changed to Geany because it has more advanced features including: more find/replace options, code folding and the ability to compile/build/execute with a click of a button or a press of 1 key. There are more features but I don't want to list them all.
      – dv3500ea
      Sep 7, 2010 at 13:27

    gEdit all the way.

    • It's one of the few editors that actually works with remote locations. No other editor I know supports ssh locations defined as Nautilus bookmarks.

    • It blends in to your desktop nicely. All these crossplatform editors are XUL or Java based and often have horrible font rendering.

    • It has a file pane at the left (press F9)

    • It has syntax support for all ruby files

    • It supports the most common keyboard shortcuts. The ones you are already expecting to work.

    • There are plugins out there for code-completition.

    • There are plugins out there for revision-control. (at least Bazaar, i'm not sure about git)

    • There is a console plugin. But I usually just open a terminal on another desktop, and have focus follow the mouse. You could also look into stuff like quake. (which ties a dropdown terminal to the ~ key, like in Quake)

    • You can connect short-cuts to custom shell scripts, that operate in the 'main' directory. Perfect for common rake tasks.

    PS. If you don't need or want a file pane, you should take a look at Scribes. It's a textmate clone. Pretty much. Very lean, but it does integrate nicely. Supports remote locations, code templates, syntax highlighting. It's only funny quirck is that it saves as you type and it does not have a proper file-pane.

    • 1
      Gedit, Geany, Bluefish and Scite are all cross platform. None of them are use XUL or swing. They all use GTK and so intergrate well with the GNOME desktop.
      – dv3500ea
      Sep 7, 2010 at 13:18
    • Integrate well is more than just GTK. It's also about gio and gvfs, for example. Recent documents integration. Accepting stuff like the fullscreen shortcut. Being able to open nautilus for a given folder in the treeview. And i was referring to the many 'specially for rails' editors, like RadRails, that are Java (eclipse), C++ (Netbeans) or Xul based.
      – Ralf
      Sep 7, 2010 at 17:45
    • check out gedit-mate for textmate-ish features in gedit. github.com/ivyl/gedit-mate
      – Derek
      Jan 3, 2011 at 12:18
    • nearly perfect but missing good support for git, and no known working code formatter on Gnome3
      – prusswan
      Feb 16, 2012 at 3:27


    Image of the MonoDevelop IDE

    It was originally written as an IDE for writing C# (which it is fantastic for) but extensions have been created to extend the editor for other languages.

    Extension languages include:

    • python
    • java
    • moonlight
    • boo
    • vala

    It's also rumored that a PHP module is being worked on.

    Personally, I have used it mostly for C# and some python development (I really wish the devs would get to work on the python autocomplete fefature).

    It also has the ability to integrate plugins for database management, source control, unit testing, etc...

    While not a very 'light weight' option, it's definitely worth using.


    All the above are great editors. I recently found this new light IDE and it is cross-platform compatible as well.


    It is package for all the scripting languages. It comes in other versions as well, PHP Storm5 and WebStorm

    The PHP Storm, contains support for all the languages. Also, the beauty of this editor is that, if you are a student. You can apply for this IDE for free and not just for yourself but for unlimited users for one-year. Also, like Visual Studio it has that intellisense feature, where you get the properties and methods in the drop down.

    I am really having a lot of fun using this editor.


    I can suggest you Komodo Edit. You can find it here: http://www.activestate.com/komodo-edit


    Emacs is a great text editor (plus a lot of other functions) that will serve you well in the long term. It does have a somewhat steep learning curve, but I think you will be well rewarded. Install it with:

    sudo apt-get install emacs

    I would start with the builtin emacs tutorial. It should be easily accessible from the default "buffer" that opens. It will get you started and well on your way.


    I would highly recommend the successor to Sublime Text 2, Sublime Text 3. It is very fast and has support for keyboard shortcuts. You can install lot of plugins to add new functionalities.

    Sadly sublime text is not opensource, and paid/nagware. However, there is an opensource project attempting to displace it Lime Text

    • sublime is the best of all
      – pahnin
      Jun 26, 2012 at 16:30
    • It's not open source / is paid / nagware
      – virtualxtc
      Jun 22, 2018 at 9:28

    DrPython install drpython

    DrPython is a python specific IDE written in python and I believe you can even extend it in python. Features include:

    • Syntax highlighting
    • A class browser
    • Integrated python debugger

    alt text


    Don't hate me for what I gonna said: netbeans 6.9. (download the "ruby version" to avoid other unnesesary stuff to load..)
    yes, you gonna said: but it needs java!! but, if you have +512mb, just try it, and tell me later, it's just an option more :P


    In the interest of offering another editor option for completeness - check out Eclipse with the Aptana plugin.


    1. It's useful if you already have Eclipse installed and you want to work on Ruby.

    2. It has all the features you asked for and more (intellisense for example)

    3. Once you grok the Eclipse interface you can be productive in a wide variety of programming languages and technologies


    1. Eclipse is resource hungry - not for low memory machines.

    2. The user interface has a learning curve if you are not familiar with Eclipse.


    Bluefish Editor

    From the website:

    Bluefish is a powerful editor targeted towards programmers and webdesigners, with many options to write websites, scripts and programming code. Bluefish supports many programming and markup languages, and it focuses on editing dynamic and interactive websites.

    Also, Scribes (which looks a lot like Mac OS X's Textmate).

    • I second Scribes. Bluefish is a bit oldskool. Buttons for HTML tags and such.
      – Ralf
      Sep 7, 2010 at 12:45

    I also suggest Gedit. Check out gedit-mate for a great "set of plugins, tools, color schemes and snippets that will improve your work."


    I suggest using jedit. It is one of the few editors that let you display more than one file simultaneously which I find very useful. You can also simultaneously display different parts of the same file. The only other editor that does this is kate but it doesn't seem to work with the more recent versions of ubuntu.


    For cross platform python editing you can use SPE

    (However, Kate, Sublime2, and Geany with snippets are fantastic)

    sudo apt-get install spe


    The official python website traks python editors as well as IDEs. Check there for the latest support!


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