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jEdit – Freeware Java Text Editor

jEdit Logo

jEdit is a mature and well-designed programmer’s text editor with over 9 years of development behind it. While jEdit beats many expensive development tools for features and ease of use, it is released as free software with full source code, provided under the terms of the GNU General Public License. The jEdit core, together with a large collection of plugins is maintained by a world-wide developer team.

Some of jEdit’s features include: jEdit screenshot

  • Written in Java, so it runs on Mac OS X, OS/2, Unix, VMS and Windows.
  • Built-in macro language; extensible plugin architecture. Dozens of macros and plugins available.
  • Plugins can be downloaded and installed from within jEdit using the “plugin manager” feature.
  • Auto indent, and syntax highlighting for more than 130 languages.
  • Supports a large number of character encodings including UTF8 and Unicode.
  • Folding for selectively hiding regions of text.
  • Word wrap.
  • Highly configurable and customizable.
  • Every other feature, both basic and advanced, you would expect to find in a text editor.

Complete list of jEdit features:


  • Combines the best functionality of Unix, Windows and MacOS text editors.
  • Runs on any operating system with a Java 2 version 1.3 or higher virtual machine – this includes MacOS X, OS/2, Unix, VMS and Windows.
  • Efficient keyboard shortcuts for everything
  • Comprehensive online help
  • Unlimited undo/redo
  • Copy and paste with an unlimited number of clipboards (known as “registers”)
  • Register contents are saved across editing sessions
  • “Kill ring” automatically remembers previously deleted text
  • Rich set of keyboard commands for manipulating entire words, lines and paragraphs at a time
  • “Markers” for remembering positions in files to return to later
  • Marker locations are saved across editing sessions
  • Any number of editor windows may be open, each window may be split into several areas, each area can view a different file. Alternatively, different locations in one file can be viewed in more than one area
  • Multiple open windows and split windows are remembered between editing sessions
  • Rectangular selection
  • Multiple selection (sometimes known as “discontinuous” or “additive” selection) for manipulating several chunks of text at once
  • Word wrap

Syntax Highlighting

jEdit supports syntax highlighting for more than 130 file types:

ActionScript Ada 95 ANTLR Apache HTTPD APDL AppleScript ASP
Aspect-J Assembly AWK B formal method Batch BBj BCEL
ColdFusion CSS CVS Commit D DOxygen DSSSL Eiffel
EmbPerl Erlang Factor Fortran Foxpro FreeMarker Fortran
Gettext Groovy Haskell HTML Icon IDL Inform
INI Inno Setup Informix 4GL Interlis Io Java JavaScript
JCL JHTML JMK JSP Latex Lilypond Lisp
LOTOS Lua Makefile Maple ML Modula-3 MoinMoin
MQSC NetRexx NQC NSIS2 Objective C ObjectRexx Occam
Omnimark Parrot Pascal Patch Perl PHP Pike
PL-SQL PL/I Pop11 PostScript Povray PowerDynamo Progress 4GL
Prolog Properties PSP PV-WAVE Pyrex Python REBOL
Redcode Relax-NG RelationalView Rest Rib RPM spec RTF
Ruby Ruby-HTML RView S+ S# SAS Scheme
SDL/PL SGML Shell Script SHTML Smalltalk SMI MIB SQR
Squidconf SVN Commit Swig TCL TeX Texinfo TPL
Transact-SQL UnrealScript VBScript Velocity Verilog VHDL XML

Source Code Editing

  • Intelligent bracket matching skips quoted literals and comments
  • Auto indent
  • Commands for shifting the indent left and right
  • Commands for commenting out code
  • Soft tabs option
  • Abbreviations
  • Folding, with two fold modes: indent-based, and explicit (where the buffer is parsed for “{{{” and “}}}”)

Search and Replace

  • Both literal and regular expression search and replace supported
  • Multiple file search and replace; search in either the current file, all open files, or all files in a directory
  • “HyperSearch” option to show all found matches in a list
  • Reverse search supported
  • Incremental search supported
  • Option to replace occurrences of a regular expression with the return value of a BeanShell script. As far as I know, no other text editor offers comparable functionality!

File Management

  • Any number of files can be opened at once
  • Supports a large number of character encodings including UTF8 and UTF16
  • Automatic detection of several character encodings
  • Automatic compression and decompression of GZipped (.gz) files
  • Any character encoding supported by Java can be used to load and save files
  • Multi-threaded I/O system supports pluggable “virtual file systems” for listing directories and loading files:
    • FTP plugin adds support for loading and saving files on FTP servers
    • Archive plugin adds read-only support for loading files from ZIP and TAR archives
  • Custom file system browser component used in open and save dialog boxes
  • Powerful keyboard navigation in the file system browser
  • Files can be deleted and renamed, and new directories can be created from the file system browser


  • Syntax highlighting modes are defined in XML files and new ones are very easy to write
  • Many editor settings can be set on a global, per-mode, or per-file basis
  • Fully customizable keyboard shortcuts
  • Fully customizable tool bar and right-click context menu
  • Macros to automate complex editing tasks can be written in the BeanShell scripting language
  • Macros can be recorded from user actions


  • Plugins can turn jEdit into a very advanced XML/HTML editor, or a full-fledged IDE, with compiler, code completion, context-sensitive help, debugging, visual diff, and many language-specific tools tightly integrated with the editor.
  • More than 150 plugins are already available that add a variety of features to jEdit.
  • The “Plugin manager” feature downloads and installs plugins (and updates) from within jEdit automatically.
  • Plugin windows can either be shown as separate, top-level frames, or as “docked windows” inside the jEdit editor window

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One Response to “jEdit – Freeware Java Text Editor”

  1. Marcelo Says:

    Simply the best text editor I’ve ever try. Suggestion: spend 1 weekend learning how to explore all of it’s features and you won’t regret.

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