Text Editors

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You can use any text editor that can save text files in UTF-8 for creating a source file for ConTeXt. Many editors provide generic TeX syntax highlighting, but some have even more support for ConTeXt.

Editor Features OSs Remarks
Atom CSP LMW The new text editor for the kool kids, based on Electron. Good git client. Lots of plugins covering any editing task. Install plugins "language-context" and "pdf-view" for C and P.
BBEdit CSTP M Venerable, powerful text editor for MacOS. Highlighting, section navigation, and code folding available through a language module; typesetting and PDF preview available through an external script.
Emacs with AUCTeX CT LMW Extremely powerful & highly configurable text editor for CTRL- and ALT- key lovers.
The official AUCTeX distribution beginning with 11.50 has ConTeXt support. Further AUCTeX customization for ConTeXt.
If you write documents with bibliographies, indexes, or cross-references, you may also be interested in using Reftex. There is also Emacs-muse which is an extension.
gedit L(MW) GNOME editor
jEdit LMW Cross-platform mature programmer’s text editor. Good support for TeX and LilyPond among the rest.
Kate C L(MW) Kate is an advanced multi-document text editor for KDE. It has built-in LaTeX syntax highlighting, but you can install a [http://kde-files.org/content/show.php/ConTeXt+-+Syntax+Highlighting?content=54006 file that provides ConTeXt syntax


nano L(MW) Curses-based text editor for Unix and Unix-like systems, designed to be a free replacement for the Pico text editor. Has basic TeX syntax highlighting.
Notepad++ CT?2 W Npp is one of the most powerful and useful text editors on Windows (you can also use it under Wine). Modern interface with loads of included features (see especially the TextFX menu). ConTeXt support files come with the ConTeXt distribution in directory texmf-context/context/data/npp.
Scite CT L(M)W ConTeXt support files come with the ConTeXt distribution in directory texmf-context/context/data/scite. See also the manual mscite.pdf. SciTE for Mac is commercial (AppStore).
Smultron PTU M Shareware. Old configuration instructions.
TeXlipse PS?T LMW LaTeX-Extension for Eclipse (part of Eclipse Science)
TeXshop PT M Simple TeX IDE for OSX. Old Configuration instructions
TeXstudio PST LMW Extensive, memory-hungry LaTeX IDE. Too LaTeX-centered to be really helpful for ConTeXt.
Textadept CT LMW ConTeXt support files come with the ConTeXt distribution in directory texmf-context/context/data/textadept.
TextMate C M The ConTeXt bundle is not in the distribution, but you can download a copy from GitHub.
TextPad CT W Commercial; TeX/ConTeXt/LaTeX command library; configurable to run a whatever-TeX command as a tool
TeXWorks PST LMW Probably the most widespread TeX IDE, similar to TeXshop, supported by TUG. ConTeXt support files come with the ConTeXt distribution in directory texmf-context/context/data/texworks.
Vim CT2 LMW Extremely powerful & highly configurable text editor. It operates in different "modes": you type in text in "insert mode" and pass commands to the editor in "normal mode." Whether you prefer Vim or emacs is a religious question of the highest importance.
WinEdt T W Shareware. A nice, configurable Windows editor for LaTeX. A large collection of buttons with Greek letters and other (math) symbols is very helpfulp when typesetting math. It also has spell checker. LaTeX users can also find many templates (tables, enumerations, ...) and compiling/previewing the documents by clicking a button. This is supported for ConTeXt also. You can configure it easily.


  • C = ConTeXt syntax highlighting (and perhaps command completion)
  • P = PDF preview
  • S = SyncTeX support (synchronising between text in PDF and TeX source)
  • T = ConTeXt typesetting
  • 2 = bidirectional editing (right-to-left)
  •  ? = previous feature probable but unsure
  • L = Linux
  • M = MacOS X
  • W = Windows

(Probably more editors have C and T.)