I'm using vim for editing bash scripts currently, but I really need to set it up and/or install plugins. Plugin suggestions welcome. Either way, I'd like to see which editors/IDEs there are for this job.

  • the additional questions in the comments regarding "support docs" is kind of vague. I'm unsure if you're referring to "language documentation support for the user" or "source code project documentation for the developer".
    – Joshua K
    Jan 8, 2013 at 22:25
  • I feel guilty, but since I run Windows, I’ve always used nano. Never liked Vi(m). If it’s for a project I can compile without the emulator, I use Sublime Text 3 (though I’ve used it since the early days of 2.0)
    – Stan Strum
    Jan 30, 2018 at 2:38

8 Answers 8


I love Geany

alt text

It's a quick GUI editor that can manage small projects if necessary (it can remember list of files and a few other neat things). It supports many syntax highlighting including Shell scripting.

It supports plug-ins, and I have used the VC (version control) plug-in once, but the basic features of Geany are enough for most of the work I do with it.

  • 1
    does it help with shell scripts? (docs, snippets, etc.)
    – admiral0
    Nov 15, 2010 at 22:33
  • It provides some types of auto completion, though it does not always work. I haven't manage to figure out why or when it works. It supports easy identing and commenting of line, compatible with shall scripts. And It offers some template comments. But it does not do a kind of javadoc for scripts, AFAIK.
    – Huygens
    Nov 15, 2010 at 22:52
  • Geany does help with shell scripts. Doc 0.21.1 allows you to implement many different documentation sources for lots of different languages, sh is supported and preconfigured for viewing through man, though entirely customizable. Documentation Generator plugin does support shell. macros are saved between sessions. You can configure snippets, but bash snippets dont exist in my config, thanks for asking, now i need to set'm up! so yes, it helps with shell scripts entirely!
    – Joshua K
    Jan 8, 2013 at 22:19
  • 1
    regarding why autocomplete works sometimes and not others, "autocomplete all words in document" is off by default. you can enable that, and specify the number of characters necessary to trigger autocomplete on the same screen. it's in preferences -> editor [tab on left] -> completions [tab on top]
    – Joshua K
    Jan 8, 2013 at 22:21

gedit can be a great editor when extended with gedit-plugins


  • does it provide support for docs in any way?
    – admiral0
    Nov 15, 2010 at 23:00
  • used external tools, with a man wrapper for current word.
    – admiral0
    Nov 16, 2010 at 0:39
  • gedit is great! Once you get used to you will fall in love. ;) Feb 7, 2014 at 16:44

I found this: http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=365

It is really good for bash scripting.


Emacs is rather good, there's been a built-in shell scripting mode for some time.

  • A bit of an understatement. Its coming up on twenty years, according to the copywrite in the file.
    – KeithB
    May 8, 2012 at 21:58
  • 1
    2012 - 1976 != 20. @KeithB ... also, please learn to digest italicized text. There's a whole world of purposeful understatement out there waiting for you to appreciate it.
    – ocodo
    May 9, 2012 at 6:45

Another cool editor, though the UI looks a bit old now, is Nedit.

alt text

It is more powerful than Geany as it can support ctags which you can use to navigate through your code (finding the definition of a function or variable, etc.)

It's really light-weight, fast to launch. However, the user experience might not please everyone.

I have been using it for a long period to develop shell and C/C++ code. Though I use more now Geany and Eclipse CDT for these purposes.

  • is it difficult to set up?
    – admiral0
    Nov 15, 2010 at 22:44
  • Do you mean about ctags? I don't have any more the syntax for ctags, but I launched it i a cron hourly, it was indexing in a file my project. I then just point NEdit to this file, there was an option either in the File or Preferences menu. Or you can set it "for ever" and add it to .neditrc It was not that difficult but it is not a great UX.
    – Huygens
    Nov 15, 2010 at 22:54

I use both BBEdit (Mac text editor) and vi(m).

BBEdit has a command line counterpart which works great for integrating with the underside of the Mac and other CLI tools.

vi(m) is on essentially every *nix system out there.

Knowing vi(m) is beneficial due to its availability.

Hope that helps with your search!


I recently came across a cross-platform package called shell-check that finds and explains common shell scripting errors and gotchas. It's available for vim and emacs and other platforms, and if you don't want to install it you can still use it on-line at their on-line web interface.


Text Triumvirate seem to bring in the gospel on vim-ish editors. It's an alliance between vim, tmux and zsh, and is more of a development-environment setup than an editor per se.

Here's how it (might) look:

text triumvirte

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