Research Computing >> Software >> Text editors


A good amount of research computing revolves around writing programs and editing text files. There is a wide array of text editors available to users; they differ not only in how easy to learn they are, but also in the conveniences offered to users such as syntax highlighting (which makes reading a program easier), and editing modes tailored to a specific programming language or task,

Unix text editors

The following editors are installed in skew5 and other Unix systems on campus: Emacs (Editor MACroS), pico (PIne COmposer), ex, vi (visual editor), ed.

"ex" is the root of a family of editors that includes vi, vim, and ed. "vi" is installed in all Unix systems. Most users at Kellogg work with Emacs, pico, or vim.

to start
To exit ASCII vs.
X sessions
MS Windows
Learning more
ed q! Both   Refer to vi documents or man page
edit q! Both   Refer to vi documents or man page
emacs CTRL-x CTRL-c
or select "Exit Emacs" under the "Files" menu
ex q! Both   Refer to vi documents or man page
pico CTRL-x Both Bundled with PC Pine
vi :q! Both Several versions. See vi lovers home page
vim :q! Both Yes (see

Reference books:

Available in the Research Computing Library.

  • Cameron, Debra, Bill Rosenblatt & Eric Raymond (1996). GNU Emacs. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 2nd edition.
  • Lamb, Linda & Arnold Robbins (1998). Learning vi. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 6th edition.

MS Windows text editors

Currently, there is no text editor recommended or installed in Windows workstations at Kellogg (other than WordPad and Notepad). Some of the editors available in Unix are also available (for free) to Windows users.

There are many shareware (try-before-you-buy, low cost software) 32-bit text editors. The following two might be among the most useful to Kellogg users:

  • EditPlus
  • TextPad: Offers many syntax highlighting schemes, including Fortran, HTML, Java, LaTeX, Matlab, Perl, SAS, Stata, etc.
  • WinEdt: May be used as a LaTeX front end in Windows, particularly with MikTeX.
  • WinTeX 2000: A TeX editor.
  • UltraEdit

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