JEdit Advanced Editor Review

JEdit Editor Features Review

JEdit is a programmer’s text editor. JEdit is free, open source and cross-platform (Mac, Windows and Linux).

This review is based on features I require of an advanced text editor. A list of required features was created after using different editors. Some features require extensions or plug-ins.

JEdit is a free text editor from There are downloadable packages for Linux, Mac and Windows systems. JEdit can easily be extended by plug-ins to ease application development in different programming languages.

Test Tools

    Test system:

  • CPU: Intel(R) i7 2600 @ 3.40GHz.
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3.
  • Operating System: Debian Jessie Testing 64bit.
  • Desktop: Xfce Desktop Environment 4.10.

    Test suite:

  • Large file: 1GB human-readable text.
  • Regex file: text with word “JEdit” repeated.
  • Syntax file: PHP file containing HTML, CSS & JavaScript.
  • Media file: Smiley face JPEG file.
  • Java: OpenJDK7
  • JEdit: Version 5.1.0 64bit

    Test Score:

  1. Each feature has two parts
  2. Score of zero indicates missing feature
  3. A part of a feature is worth a score of 0.5

Three bias elimination steps were utilized. The editor was used for at least three years on different platforms. Attempts were made to get stable plug-ins for missing features. The same editor was compared between the one in the repository, the developers website, and the compiled version if applicable.

Selecting Editor Version

JEdit was downloaded from the developer’s website for portability. JEdit and its plug-ins do require GTK2 and Java runtime dependencies. JEdit does not need re-installation every time I change my distribution because it is built from source.

JEdit was installed on a separate partition that is immediately available for other installed Linux distributions. All plug-ins were installed once and never require re-installation.

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JEdit Multiple Editor View


The theme cannot be native for the editor in terms of the background. JEdit dark and light themes can be created or downloaded using the Look And Feel plugin. The score for the theme was 0.5.

Dragging and dropping a text file into the editor opens a new tab which requires the Buffer Tabs plugin. It is not possible to specify the tab location during the drag and drop operation. The score for drag and drop into editor was 0.5.

Opening a very large text file did not crash JEdit. JEdit provided a warning but was not able to edit the large file. The score for opening a large file was 0.5.

Multiple documents can opened in multiple tabs. Tear-off tabs do not work by opening in new window as a new instance which is handy for multiple monitors. The score for multiple documents was 0.5.

Multiple editors can be opened as new tabs with drag options. The window view can be split either vertically or horizontally in a multiple editor view. The score for multiple editor view was 1.0.

Creating non-project files is possible. Non-project files can be opened by the drag and drop operation. The score for creating non-project files was a perfect 1.0.

Soft word wrap can be enabled on all documents as word wrap. Automatic soft wrap for documents is available from the JEdit settings. The score for word wrap was a perfect 1.0.

Spell check works as words are typed using the Spell Check plugin. Spelling errors are shown in opened documents. The score for spell check was a perfect 1.0.

Word count is available for JEdit using the Real Time Word Counter plugin. Selection word count is available as part of word count. The score for word count was a perfect 1.0.

Go to line can jump to a specified line. It is possible to jump to either the first or last line. The score for go to line is a perfect 1.0.

Indentation can default to user-defined tab stops. Children are automatically indented. The score for indentation was a perfect 1.0.

Fonts can be dynamically scaled by macros. The system font can be bypassed and a new editor font and size can be set. The score for fonts was a perfect 1.0.

Find and replace using regular expressions can be utilized for all open documents in the current session. Find and replace will work for the current document or a selection in the current document. The score for find and replacing using regular expressions was a perfect 1.0.

Multiple language syntax highlighting in one file is enabled if the language plug-ins are installed. Each language has code-sensitive syntax colours which can be modified. The score for multiple language syntax highlighting was a perfect 1.0.

Code folding does not work for markup languages such as HTML. Code folding also does not work for programming languages such as PHP and Java. The score for code folding was 0.0.

Selecting rectangular block per column works. Rectangular block selection works with word wrap enabled. The score for selecting rectangular block was a perfect 1.0.

Multiple selection is available for JEdit. Search multiple selection is available. The score for multiple selection was 1.0.

Distraction-free mode to hide panes works. Line numbers can be toggled to improve distraction-free mode. The score for distraction-free was a perfect 1.0.

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JEdit Distraction-free

The file manager can to create and delete folders. Media files cannot be dragged and dropped into the file manager pane. The score for file manager was 0.5.

Terminal requires the Console plugin. The terminal does follow folder of the file browser. Terminal can execute system commands. The score for terminal was a perfect 1.0.


JEdit is a very powerful text editor. By default, the JEdit editor is missing required features which can be installed by using extensions. For my required features, the JEdit editor scored 82.5% or 8.25 out of 10.


JEdit is a very powerful text editor. Basic editor features are missing in JEdit. Important editor features require JEdit plug-ins. Overall JEdit only scored 8.25 out of 10 for essential text editor features.

JEdit uses and renders non-native theme and fonts. JEdit has one of the fastest rectangular select modes available for any editor. The find and replace feature for JEdit can use all open documents or filtered documents in the current session.


  1. Look for required plug-ins before deciding to try JEdit.
  2. Download desired JEdit editor themes.
  3. Install JEdit from developer’s website.