Textadept Manual


  1. Introduction
  2. Installation
  3. User Interface
  4. Working with Files
  5. File Navigation
  6. Adept Editing
  7. Modules
  8. Preferences
  9. Themes
  10. Advanced
  11. Scripting
  12. Compiling
  13. Help
  14. Appendix




Textadept is a fast, minimalist, and remarkably extensible cross-platform text editor for programmers. Written in a combination of C and Lua and relentlessly optimized for speed and minimalism over the years, Textadept is an ideal editor for programmers who want endless extensibility without sacrificing speed or succumbing to code bloat and featuritis.


Textadept is fast. It starts up instantly and has a very responsive user interface. Even though the editor consists primarily of Lua, Lua is one of the fastest scripting languages available. With the optional LuaJIT version, Textadept runs faster than ever before.


Textadept is minimalist. Not only does its appearance exhibit this, but the editor’s C core pledges to never exceed 2000 lines of code and its Lua extension code avoids going beyond 4000 lines. After more than 8 years of development, Textadept contains roughly the same amount of code since its inception while evolving into a vastly superior editor.

Remarkably Extensible

Textadept is remarkably extensible. Designed to be that way from the very beginning, the editor’s features came later. Most of Textadept’s internals use Lua, from syntax highlighting to opening and saving files to searching and replacing and more. Textadept gives you complete control over the entire application using Lua. Everything from moving the caret to changing menus and key commands on-the-fly to handling core events is possible. Its potential is vast.

Split Views

Manual Notation

This manual represents directories and file paths like this: /path/to/dir/ and /path/to/file. (Windows machines use ‘/’ and ‘\’ interchangeably as directory separators.) Paths that do not begin with ‘/’ or “C:\”, are relative to the location of Textadept. ~/ denotes the user’s home directory. On Windows machines this is the value of the “USERHOME” environment variable, typically C:\Users\username\ or C:\Documents and Settings\username\. On Linux/BSD and Mac OSX machines it is the value of “$HOME”, typically /home/username/ and /Users/username/, respectively.

The manual expresses key bindings like this: Ctrl+N. They are not case sensitive. Ctrl+N stands for pressing the “N” key while only holding down the “Control” modifier key, and not the “Shift” modifier key. Ctrl+Shift+N stands for pressing the “N” key while holding down both the “Control” and “Shift” modifiers. The same notation applies to key chains like Ctrl+N, N and Ctrl+N, Shift+N. The first key chain represents pressing “Control” and “N” followed immediately by “N” with no modifiers. (The comma serves only for readability.) The second represents pressing “Control” and “N” followed immediately by “Shift” and “N”.

When mentioning key bindings, the manual often shows the Mac OSX and curses equivalents in parenthesis. It may be tempting to assume that some Windows/Linux keys map to Mac OSX’s (e.g. Ctrl to ) or curses' (e.g. Ctrl to ^), but this is not always the case. In order to minimize confusion, view key equivalents as separate entities, not as translations of one another.



In its bid for minimalism, Textadept also depends on very little to run. The GUI version needs only GTK+, a cross-platform GUI toolkit, version 2.18 or later (circa late-2009) on Linux and BSD systems. The application already bundles a GTK+ runtime into the Windows and Mac OSX packages. The terminal, or curses, version of Textadept only depends on a curses implementation like ncurses on Linux, Mac OSX, and BSD systems. The Windows binary includes a precompiled version of pdcurses. Textadept also incorporates its own copy of Lua on all platforms.

Requirements for Linux and BSD

Most Linux and BSD systems already have GTK+ installed. If not, your package manager probably makes it available. Otherwise, compile and install GTK+from the GTK+ website.

The GUI versions of Textadept require GLib version 2.28 or later (circa mid-2011) in order to support single-instance functionality.

Most Linux and BSD systems already have a curses implementation like ncurses installed. If not, look for one in your package manager, or compile and install ncurses from the ncurses website. Ensure it is the wide-character version of ncurses, which handles multibyte characters. Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu typically call the package “libncursesw5”.

Requirements for Mac OSX

No requirements other than Mac OSX 10.5 (Leopard) or higher with an Intel CPU.

Requirements for Windows

Windows XP or greater.


Download Textadept from the project’s download page by selecting the appropriate package for your platform. For the Windows and Mac OSX packages, the bundled GTK+ runtime accounts for more than ¾ of the download and unpackaged application sizes. Textadept itself is much smaller.

You also have the option of downloading an official set of language modules from the download page. Textadept itself includes C and Lua language modules by default.

If necessary, you can obtain PGP signatures from the download page along with a public key in order to verify download integrity. For example on Linux, after importing the public key via gpg --import foicica.pgp and downloading the appropriate signature, run gpg --verify [signature].


Installing Textadept is simple and easy. You do not need administrator privileges.

Installing on Linux and BSD

Unpack the archive anywhere.

If you downloaded the set of language modules, unpack it where you unpacked the Textadept archive. The modules are located in the /path/to/textadept_x.x/modules/ directory.

Installing on Mac OSX

Unpack the archive and move Textadept.app to your user or system Applications/ directory like any other Mac OSX application. The package contains an optional ta script for launching Textadept from the command line that you can put in a directory in your “$PATH” (e.g. /usr/local/bin/).

If you downloaded the set of language modules, unpack it, right-click Textadept.app, select “Show Package Contents”, navigate to Contents/Resources/modules/, and move the unpacked modules there.

Installing on Windows

Unpack the archive anywhere.

If you downloaded the set of language modules, unpack it where you unpacked the Textadept archive. The modules are located in the textadept_x.x\modules\ directory.


Running on Linux and BSD

Run Textadept by running /path/to/textadept_x.x/textadept from the terminal. You can also create a symbolic link to the executable in a directory in your “$PATH” (e.g. /usr/local/bin/) or make a GNOME, KDE, XFCE, etc. button or menu launcher.

The package also contains a textadeptjit executable for running Textadept with LuaJIT. Due to potential compatibility issues, use the textadept executable wherever possible.

The textadept-curses and textadeptjit-curses executables are the terminal versions of Textadept. Run them as you would run the textadept and textadeptjit executables, but from a terminal instead.

Runtime Problems

Providing a single binary that runs on all Linux platforms proves challenging, since the versions of software installed vary widely from distribution to distribution. Because the Linux version of Textadept uses the versions of GTK+ and ncurses installed on your system, an error like:

error while loading shared libraries: <lib>: cannot open shared object
file: No such file or directory

may occur when trying to run the program. The solution is actually quite painless even though it requires recompiling Textadept.

Running on Mac OSX

Run Textadept by double-clicking Textadept.app. You can also pin it to your dock.

Textadept.app also contains an executable for running Textadept with LuaJIT. Enable it by setting a “TEXTADEPTJIT” environment variable or by typing export TEXTADEPTJIT=1 in the terminal. Due to potential compatibility issues, use the non-LuaJIT executable wherever possible.

Mac OSX Environment Variables

By default, Mac OSX GUI apps like Textadept do not see shell environment variables like “$PATH”. Consequently, any modules that utilize programs contained in “$PATH” (e.g. the progams in /usr/local/bin/) will not find those programs. The solution is to create a ~/.textadept/osx_env.sh file that exports all of the environment variables you need Textadept to see. For example:

export PATH=$PATH

Running on Windows

Run Textadept by double-clicking textadept.exe. You can also create shortcuts to the executable in your Start Menu, Quick Launch toolbar, Desktop, etc.

The package also contains a textadeptjit.exe executable for running Textadept with LuaJIT. Due to potential compatibility issues, use the textadept.exe executable wherever possible.

Portable Textadept

You can create a portable version of Textadept by creating a shortcut to the textadept.exe executable with the additional command line arguments -u userdata. ~/.textadept/ will now point to userdata/ in the directory where textadept.exe is located.


Textadept stores all of your preferences and user-data in your ~/.textadept/ directory. If this directory does not exist, Textadept creates it on startup. This manual gives more information on this folder later.

Single Instance

Textadept is a single-instance application. This means that after starting Textadept, running textadept file.ext on Linux or BSD (ta file.ext on Mac OSX) from the command line or opening a file with Textadept from a file manager (e.g. Windows) opens file.ext in the original Textadept instance. Passing a -f or --force switch to Textadept overrides this behavior and opens the file in a new instance: textadept -f file.ext (ta -f file.ext); on Windows, you can create a separate shortcut to textadept.exe that passes the switch. Without the force switch, the original Textadept instance opens files, regardless of the number of instances open.

The terminal versions of Textadept do not support single instance.

Linux    Mac OSX    Win32    curses

User Interface


Textadept’s user interface is sleek and simple. It consists of a menu and tab bar (GUI version only), editor view, and statusbar. There is also a find & replace pane and a command entry, but Textadept initially hides them both. This manual briefly describes these features below, but provides more details later.

The completely customizable menu provides access to all of Textadept’s features. Only the GUI version implements it, though. The terminal version furnishes the command selection dialog instead. Textadept is very keyboard-driven and assigns key shortcuts to most menu items. Your key preferences can change these shortcuts and will reflect in the menu. Here is a complete list of default key bindings.

Tab Bar

The tab bar displays all of Textadept’s open buffers, although it’s only visible when two or more buffers are open. While only the GUI version supports tabs, Textadept’s buffer browser is always available and far more powerful.

Editor View

Most of your time spent with Textadept is in the editor view. Both the GUI version and the terminal version feature unlimited vertical and horizontal view splitting. Lua also has complete control over all views.

Find & Replace Pane

This compact pane is a great way to slice and dice through your document or a directory of files. The pane is available only when you need it and quickly gets out of your way when you do not, minimizing distractions.

Command Entry

The versatile command entry has many different roles. Primarily it is the place to execute Lua commands and interact with Textadept’s internal Lua state. In other contexts it finds text incrementally and executes shell commands. Lua extensions allow it to do even more. Like the find & replace pane, the command entry pops in and out as you wish.


The statusbar actually consists of two statusbars. The one on the left-hand side displays temporary status messages while the one on the right-hand side persistently shows the current buffer status.

Working with Files


Despite the fact that Textadept can display multiple buffers with a tab bar, the buffer browser is usually a faster way to switch between buffers or quickly assess which files are open. Press Ctrl+B (⌘B on Mac OSX | M-B or M-S-B in curses) to display this browser.

Buffer Browser

The buffer browser displays a list of currently open buffers, the most recent towards the bottom. Typing part of any filename filters the list. Spaces are wildcards. The arrow keys move the selection up and down. Pressing Enter, selecting OK, or double-clicking a buffer in the list switches to the selected buffer.

Buffer Browser Filtered

Textadept shows the name of the active buffer in its titlebar. Pressing Ctrl+Tab (^⇥ on Mac OSX | M-N in curses) cycles to the next buffer and Ctrl+Shift+Tab (^⇧⇥ | M-P) cycles to the previous one.

Typical Buffer Settings

Individual files have three configurable settings: line endings, indentation, and encoding. Line endings are the characters that separate lines. Indentation consists of an indentation character and an indentation size. File encoding specifies how to display text characters. Textadept shows these settings in the buffer status statusbar.

Document Statusbar

Buffer Line Endings

Textadept determines which default line endings, commonly known as end-of-line (EOL) markers, to use based on the current platform. On Windows it is CRLF (“\r\n”). On all other platforms it is LF (‘\n’). Textadept first tries to auto-detect the EOL mode of opened files before falling back on the platform default. The “Buffer -> EOL Mode” menu manually changes line endings and, unlike indentation settings, automatically converts all existing EOLs.

Buffer Indentation

Normally, a language module or your preferences dictate a buffer’s indentation settings. By default, indentation is 2 spaces. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+T (^⇧T on Mac OSX | M-T or M-S-T in curses) manually toggles between using tabs and spaces, although this only affects future indentation. Existing indentation remains unchanged. Ctrl+Alt+I (^I | M-I) performs the conversion. (If the buffer uses tabs, all indenting spaces convert to tabs. If the buffer uses spaces, all indenting tabs convert to spaces.) Similarly, the “Buffer -> Indentation” menu manually sets indentation size.

Buffer Encodings

Textadept has the ability to decode files encoded in many different encodings, but by default it only attempts to decode UTF-8, ASCII, and ISO-8859-1. If you work with files with encodings Textadept does not recognize, add those encodings to io.encodings in your preferences.

UTF-8 is the recommended file encoding because of its wide support by other text editors and operating systems. The “Buffer -> Encoding” menu changes the file encoding and performs the conversion. Textadept saves new files as UTF-8 by default, but does not alter the encoding of existing ones.

Recent Files

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+O (^⌘O on Mac OSX | M-^O in curses) brings up a dialog that behaves like the buffer browser, but displays a list of recently opened files to reopen.


By default, Textadept saves its state upon quitting in order to restore it the next time the editor starts up. Passing the -n or --nosession switch to Textadept on startup disables this feature. The “File -> Save Session…” and “File -> Load Session…” menus manually save and open sessions while the -s and --session switches load a session on startup. The switches accept the path of a session file or the name of a session in ~/.textadept/. Session files store information such as open buffers, current split views, caret and scroll positions in each buffer, Textadept’s window size, recently opened files, and bookmarks. Tampering with session files may have unintended consequences.

Quick Open

A quicker, though slightly more limited alternative to the standard file selection dialog is Quick Open. It too behaves like the buffer browser, but displays a list of files to open, including files in sub-directories. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+O (^⌘⇧O on Mac OSX | M-S-O in curses) quickly opens the current file’s directory, Ctrl+U (⌘U | ^U) quickly opens ~/.textadept/, and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+P (^⌘⇧P | M-^P) quickly opens the current project (which must be under version control). Quick Open is pretty limited from the “Tools -> Quick Open” menu, but more versatile in scripts.

Quick Open


Split Views

Textadept allows you to split the editor window an unlimited number of times both horizontally and vertically. Ctrl+Alt+S or Ctrl+Alt+H splits horizontally into top and bottom views and Ctrl+Alt+V splits vertically (^S and ^V, respectively on Mac OSX | M-^V, S and M-^V, V in curses) into side-by-side views. Clicking and dragging on the splitter bar with the mouse or pressing Ctrl+Alt++ and Ctrl+Alt+- (^+ and ^- | M-^V, + and M-^V, -) resizes the split. Textadept supports viewing a single buffer in two or more views.

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+N (^⌥⇥ on Mac OSX | M-^V, N in curses) jumps to the next view and Ctrl+Alt+P (^⌥⇧⇥ | M-^V, P) jumps the previous one. However, depending on the split sequence, the order when cycling between views may not be linear.

In order to unsplit a view, enter the view to keep open and press Ctrl+Alt+W (^W on Mac OSX | M-^V, W in curses). In order to unsplit all views, use Ctrl+Alt+Shift+W (^⇧W | M-^V, S-W).

Note: Textadept curses uses the M-^V key prefix for split views.

View Settings

Individual views have many configurable settings. Among the more useful settings are viewing line endings, handling long lines, viewing indentation guides, and viewing whitespace. These options change how to display buffers in the current view. Changing a setting in one view does not immediately change that setting in any other split view. You must switch to that other view first.

View Line Endings

Normally, EOL characters (“\r” and “\n”) are invisible. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Enter (^↩ on Mac OSX | none in curses) toggles their visibility.

View Long Lines

By default, lines with more characters than the view can show do not wrap into view. Ctrl+Alt+\ (^\ on Mac OSX | none in curses) toggles line wrapping.

View Indentation Guides

Views show small guiding lines based on indentation level by default. Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I (^⇧I on Mac OSX | N/A in curses) toggles the visibility of these guides.

Textadept curses does not support indentation guides.

View Whitespace

Normally, whitespace characters, tabs and spaces, are invisible. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S (^⇧S on Mac OSX | none in curses) toggles their visibility. Visible spaces show up as dots and visible tabs show up as arrows.


In order to temporarily increase or decrease the font size in a view, press Ctrl+= (⌘= on Mac OSX | N/A in curses) and Ctrl+- (⌘- | N/A) respectively. Ctrl+0 (⌘0 | N/A) resets the zoom.

Textadept curses does not support zooming.

File Navigation

Basic Movements

Textadept implements the customary key bindings for navigating text fields on the current platform. The arrow keys move the caret in a particular direction, Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right (^⇠ and ^⇢ on Mac OSX | ^Left and ^Right in curses) move by words, PgUp and PgDn ( and | PgUp and PgDn) move by pages, etc. Mac OSX and curses also handle some Bash-style bindings like ^B, ^F, ^P, ^N, ^A, and ^E. The “Movement” section of the key bindings list lists all movement bindings.

Brace Match

By default, Textadept highlights the matching brace characters under the caret: ‘(’, ‘)’, ‘[’, ‘]’, ‘{’, and ‘}’. Pressing Ctrl+M (^M on Mac OSX | M-M in curses) moves the caret to the matching brace.

Matching Braces


Textadept supports the bookmarking of buffer lines in order to jump back to them later. Ctrl+F2 (⌘F2 on Mac OSX | F1 in curses) toggles a bookmark on the current line, F2 jumps to the next bookmarked line, Shift+F2 (⇧F2 | F3) jumps to the previously bookmarked line, Alt+F2 (⌥F2 | F4) jumps to the bookmark selected from a list, and Ctrl+Shift+F2 (⌘⇧F2 | F6) clears all bookmarks in the current buffer.

Goto Line

In order to jump to a specific line in a file, press Ctrl+J (⌘J on Mac OSX | ^J in curses), specify the line number in the prompt, and press Enter ( | Enter) or click Ok.

Adept Editing

Basic Editing

Textadept features many common, basic editing features: inserting text, undo/redo, manipulating the clipboard, deleting characters and words, duplicating lines, joining lines, and transposing characters. The top-level “Edit” menu contains these actions and lists their associated key bindings. This manual discusses more elaborate editing features below.

Autopaired Characters

Usually, brace (‘(’, ‘[’, ‘{’) and quote (‘'’, ‘"’) characters go together in pairs. Textadept automatically inserts the complement character of any user-typed opening brace or quote character and allows the user to subsequently type over it. Similarly, the editor deletes the complement when you press Bksp ( on Mac OSX | Bksp in curses) over the typed one. The module preferences section details how to configure or disable these features.

Word Completion

Textadept provides buffer-based word completion. Start typing a word and press Ctrl+Enter (^⎋ on Mac OSX | M-Enter in curses) to display a list of suggested completions based on words in the current buffer. Continuing to type changes the suggestion. Press Enter ( | Enter) to complete the selected word.

Word Completion

Virtual Space Mode

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Shift+V (^⇧V in Mac OSX | none in curses) enables and disables Virtual space (freehand) mode. When virtual space is enabled, the caret may move into the space past the ends of lines.

Overwrite Mode

Enable and disable overwrite mode with the Insert key. When enabled, typing overwrites existing characters in the buffer rather than inserting the typed characters. In the GUI version of Textadept, the caret also changes to an underline in overwrite mode.


Textadept includes many ways of creating and working with selections. Creating basic selections entails holding down the “Shift” modifier key and then pressing the arrow keys, clicking and dragging the mouse cursor over a range of text, or pressing Ctrl+A (⌘A | M-A) to select all text. Creating more advanced selections like multiple and rectangular selections requires slightly more effort, but has powerful uses.

Multiple Selection

Holding down the “Control” modifier key and then clicking and dragging the mouse cursor over ranges of text creates multiple selections. Holding “Control” and then clicking without dragging places an additional caret at the clicked position. Textadept mirrors any typed text at each selection.

Rectangular Selection

Rectangular selections are a more structured form of multiple selections. A rectangular selection spanning multiple lines allows typing on each line. Holding Alt+Shift (⌥⇧ on Mac OSX | M-S- in curses) and then pressing the arrow keys creates a rectangular selection. Holding the Alt modifier key and then clicking and dragging the mouse cursor also creates a rectangular selection.

Rectangular Selection      Rectangular Edit

Note: In some Linux environments, the window manager consumes Alt+Shift+Arrow combinations, so Textadept’s keys may need reconfiguring. Similarly, the window manager may also consume Alt+Mouse in order to move windows. In that case, a normal text selection may be changed into a rectangular selection by tapping the Alt modifier key.

Select to Matching Brace

Placing the caret over a brace character (‘(’, ‘)’, ‘[’, ‘]’, ‘{’, or ‘}’) and pressing Ctrl+Shift+M (^⇧M on Mac OSX| M-S-M in curses) extends the selection to the brace character’s matching brace.

Entity Selection

Textadept allows the selection of many different entities from the caret. For example, Ctrl+" (^" on Mac OSX | M-" in curses) selects all characters in a double-quoted range. Typing it again selects the double-quotes too. The “Edit -> Select In…” menu lists all selectable entities with their key bindings.


In curses, since some terminals do not recognize certain key combinations like Shift+Arrow for making selections, marks can create selections. Create a mark at the current caret position with ^^. Then use regular movement keys like the arrows, page up/down, and home/end to extend the selection in one direction. Pressing ^] swaps the current caret position with the original mark position in order to extend the selection in the opposite direction. Typing text, deleting text, or running a command that does either, removes the mark and restores ordinary navigation. Pressing ^^ again also stops selecting text.

Only Textadept curses supports marks.


Enclose Entities

As a complement to selecting entities, Textadept allows the enclosure of text in entities. The “Edit -> Selection -> Enclose In…” menu lists all enclosing entities with their key bindings. Each action encloses either the currently selected text or the word to the left of the caret. For example, pressing Alt+< (^< on Mac OSX | M-> in curses) at the end of a word encloses it in XML tags.

Change Case

Pressing Ctrl+Alt+U or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+U (^U or ^⇧U on Mac OSX | M-^U or M-^L in curses) converts selected text to upper case letters or lower case letters, respectively.

Change Indent Level

Increase the amount of indentation for a selected set of lines by pressing Tab ( on Mac OSX | Tab in curses). Shift+Tab (⇧⇥ | S-Tab) decreases it. You do not have to select whole lines. Selecting any part of a line renders the entire line eligible for indenting/dedenting. Using these key sequences when no selection is present does not have the same effect.

Move Lines

Move selected lines up and down with the Ctrl+Shift+Up and Ctrl+Shift+Down (^⇧⇡ and ^⇧⇣ on Mac OSX | S-^Up and S-^Down in curses) keys, respectively. Like with changing indent level, selecting any part of a line renders the entire line eligible for moving.

Find & Replace

Ctrl+F (⌘F on Mac OSX | M-F or M-S-F in curses) brings up the Find & Replace pane. It has the usual find and replace with “Match Case”, “Whole Word”, and “Regex” options, along with find/replace history

Note the Ctrl+G, Ctrl+Shift+G, Ctrl+Alt+R, Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R key bindings for find next, find previous, replace, and replace all (⌘G, ⌘⇧G, ^R, and ^⇧R, respectively on Mac OSX | M-G, M-S-G, M-R, M-S-R in curses) only work after hiding the Find & Replace pane. For at least the English locale in the GUI version, use the button mnemonics: Alt+N, Alt+P, Alt+R, and Alt+A (⌘N, ⌘P, ⌘R, ⌘A | N/A) after bringing up the pane.

In the curses version, Tab and S-Tab toggles between the find next, find previous, replace, and replace all buttons; Up and Down arrows switch between the find and replace text fields; ^P and ^N cycles through history; and F1-F4 toggles find options.

Pressing Esc ( | Esc) hides the pane after you finish with it.

Replace in Selection

By default, “Replace All” replaces all text in the buffer. Selecting a continuous block of text and then “Replace All” replaces all text in the selection.

Find in Files

Ctrl+Shift+F brings up Find in Files (⌘⇧F on Mac OSX | none in curses) and prompts for a directory to search. A new buffer lists the search results. Double-clicking a search result jumps to it in the file, as do the the Ctrl+Alt+G and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+G (^⌘G and ^⌘⇧G | none) key bindings for cycling through results. Textadept does not support replacing in files directly. You must “Find in Files” first, and then “Replace All” for each file containing a result. The “Match Case”, “Whole Word”, and “Regex” flags still apply.

Warning: currently, the find API provides the only means to specify a file-type filter. While the default filter excludes many common binary files and version control folders from searches, Find in Files could still scan unrecognized binary files or large, unwanted sub-directories. Searches also block Textadept from receiving additional input, making the interface temporarily unresponsive. By default, every 10 seconds or so, Textadept will prompt you to continue a “Find in Files” search, allowing you to cancel one that is taking too long. You can change this timeout in your preferences.

Find in Files

Incremental Find

Start an incremental search by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F (^⌘F on Mac OSX | M-^F in curses). Incremental search searches the buffer as you type, but only recognizes the “Match Case” find option. Enter cycles through subsequent matches and Ctrl+R (⌘R | ^R) cycles through matches in reverse. Pressing Esc ( | Esc) stops the search.

Source Code Editing

Being a programmer’s editor, Textadept excels at editing source code. It understands the syntax and structure of more than 90 different programming languages and recognizes hundreds of file types. Textadept uses this knowledge to make viewing and editing code faster and easier. It can also compile and run simple source files.


Upon opening a file, Textadept attempts to identify the programming language associated with it and assign a “lexer” to highlight syntactic elements of the code. Pressing Ctrl+Shift+L (⌘⇧L on Mac OSX | M-S-L in curses) and selecting a lexer from the list manually sets the lexer instead. Your file type preferences customize how Textadept recognizes files.

On rare occasions while you edit, lexers may lose track of their context and highlight syntax incorrectly. Pressing F5 triggers a full redraw.

Code Folding

Some lexers support “code folding”, the act of temporarily hiding blocks of code in order to make viewing easier. Markers in the margin to the left of the code denote fold points. Clicking on one toggles the folding for that block of code. Pressing Ctrl+* (⌘* on Mac OSX | M-* in curses) also toggles the fold point on the current line.


Word Highlight

In order to highlight all occurrences of a given word, such as a variable name, place the caret over the word and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+H (⌘⇧H on Mac OSX | N/A in curses). This feature also works for plain text.

Word Highlight

Autocompletion and Documentation

Textadept has the capability to autocomplete symbols for programming languages and display API documentation. Pressing Ctrl+Space (⌥⎋ on Mac OSX | ^Space in curses) completes the current symbol and Ctrl+H (^H | M-H or M-S-H) shows any known documentation on the current symbol. Note: In order for these features to work, the language you are working with must have an autocompleter and API file(s), respectively. Language modules usually define these. Most of the official Textadept language modules support autocompletion and documentation.

Autocomplete Lua      Autocomplete Lua String



Snippets are essentially pieces of text inserted into source code or plain text. However, snippets are not bound to static text. They can be dynamic templates which contain placeholders for further user input, can mirror or transform those user inputs, and can execute arbitrary code. Snippets are useful for rapidly constructing blocks of code such as control structures, method calls, and function declarations. Press Ctrl+K (⌥⇥ on Mac OSX | M-K in curses) for a list of available snippets. A snippet consists of a trigger word and snippet text. Instead of manually selecting a snippet to insert, type its trigger word followed by the Tab ( | Tab) key. Subsequent presses of Tab ( | Tab) cause the caret to enter placeholders in sequential order, Shift+Tab (⇧⇥ | S-Tab) goes back to the previous placeholder, and Ctrl+Shift+K (⌥⇧⇥ | M-S-K) cancels the current snippet. Textadept supports nested snippets, snippets inserted from within another snippet. Language modules usually define their own set of snippets, but your snippet preferences can define some too.

Snippet      Snippet Expanded

Toggle Comments

Pressing Ctrl+/ (⌘/ on Mac OSX | M-/ in curses) comments or uncomments the code on the selected lines. Selecting any part of a line renders the entire line eligible for commenting or uncommenting.

Compile, Run, and Build

Textadept knows most of the commands that compile and/or run code in source files. It can also sometimes detect your project’s build file and run that. Pressing Ctrl+Shift+R (⌘⇧R on Mac OSX | M-^R in curses) executes the command for compiling code in the current file, Ctrl+R (⌘R | ^R) executes the command for running code, and Ctrl+Shift+B (⌘⇧B on Mac OSX | M-^B in curses) executes the command for building a project. Ctrl+Shift+X (⌘⇧X | M-^X) stops the currently running process. A new buffer shows the output from the command and marks any recognized warnings and errors. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+E (^⌘E | M-X) attempts to jump to the source of the next recognized warning or error and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E (^⌘⇧E | M-S-X) attempts to jump to the previous one. Double-clicking on warnings and errors also jumps to their sources. If Textadept does not know the correct commands for compiling and/or running your language’s source code, if it does not know how to build your project, or if it does not detect warning or error messages properly, you can make changes in your preferences.

Runtime Error


Modules are small packages of Lua code that provide functionality for Textadept. Textadept can load modules when the application starts up, or it can load modules on-demand in response to a particular event. Most of Textadept’s functionality comes from modules loaded on startup. An example is the textadept module which implements most of Textadept’s functionality (find & replace, key bindings, menus, snippets, etc.) Using custom modules you can add additional features and functionality to Textadept.

Modules follow the Lua package model: a module is either a single Lua file or a group of Lua files in a directory that has an init.lua file as the module’s entry point. For more information on modules, please see the Lua documentation. (Note that while that resource is a bit outdated, it is still largely relevant when it comes to Lua modules.) Textadept also ships with a few modules in its modules/ directory for reference.

With one exception, Textadept will not automatically load a given module. You must explicitly tell Textadept what modules to load and when to do so. The loading modules section describes how to load modules on startup and how to load them on-demand in response to events.

Language Modules

The only kind of modules Textadept will load automatically are called language modules. Despite this distinction, they are still just plain Lua modules – the only thing special about them is that a language module’s name matches the language’s lexer in Textadept’s lexers/ directory. (For example, the Lua language module has the name “lua”, and the C language module has the name “ansi_c”.)

A language module is designed to provide extra functionality for a single programming language (in addition to the source code editing features discussed previously), and Textadept only loads such a module when it opens an applicable source file for the first time. (Thereafter the module remains loaded in memory.)

While the scope of a language module is not defined, many language modules specify custom indentation rules (e.g. 4 spaces per indent in Python per PEP 8), code autocompletion routines, snippets, and custom commands. See the language module API documentation for more ideas on what features language modules can provide.

Getting Modules

Textadept has a set of officially supported language modules available as a separate download from the Textadept downloads page. The source code for those modules is hosted here.

For now, the wiki hosts third-party, user-created modules.

Installing Modules

Install a module by placing it in your ~/.textadept/modules/ directory. Even if you have write permissions in Textadept’s installed location, placing all custom or user-created modules in ~/.textadept/modules/ prevents the possibility of overwriting them when you update Textadept. Also, modules in that directory override any modules in Textadept’s modules/ directory. This means that if, for example, you have your own lua module, Textadept will load that one instead of its own when a Lua source file is opened.

Developing Modules

As mentioned previously, modules can be a single Lua file or a group of files in a directory headed by an init.lua file. The name of a module is based on its filename or directory name, not its contents.

Here are some basic guidelines for developing modules and some things to keep in mind:


Textadept provides a wealth of customization options and extension points. The two main extension points are when Textadept starts up and when Textadept loads a file for editing. By now, this manual assumes you are at least familiar with the basics of Lua, but you do not have to know a lot of the language in order to configure Textadept.

User Init

Textadept executes a ~/.textadept/init.lua, your user-init file, on startup. If this file does not exist, Textadept creates it for you. This file allows you to write arbitrary Lua code that instructs Textadept what to do when the application starts. This includes (but is not limited to) changing the settings of existing modules, loading new modules, modifying key bindings, adding snippets, editing file associations, adding menu items, and changing the theme. This manual discusses these specific customizations, minus theming, in the sections below. Theming is covered in a later section.

Module Preferences

Many of Textadept’s default modules come with configurable settings that can be changed from your ~/.textadept/init.lua (which is executed after those modules are loaded). Each module’s API documentation lists any configurable settings it has. For example, in order to always hide the tab bar, shorten the “Find in Files” timeout prompt, disable character autopairing with typeover, strip trailing whitespace on save, and use C99-style line comments in C code, add the following to ~/.textadept/init.lua:

ui.tabs = false
ui.find.find_in_files_timeout = 5
textadept.editing.auto_pairs = nil
textadept.editing.typeover_chars = nil
textadept.editing.strip_trailing_spaces = true
textadept.editing.comment_string.ansi_c = '//'

As another example, if Textadept’s compile and run commands for a particular language are not working for you, you can use ~/.textadept/init.lua to reconfigure them:

textadept.run.run_commands.lua = 'lua5.3 "%f"'
textadept.run.run_commands.python = 'python3 "%f"'

Note: you can also place these settings in an appropriate language module.

Finally, if Textadept does not know how to build your project (which must be under version control in order to be recognized as one), you can tell it how to do so:

textadept.run.build_commands['/path/to/project'] = 'shell command'

Tip: You can quickly view the documentation for the setting under the caret by pressing Ctrl+H (^H on Mac OSX | M-H or M-S-H in curses). This applies to pretty much any Lua identifier, not just settings.

Language Preferences

Normally, language modules handle per-language preferences such as language-specific indentation settings. However, if you do not have a language module installed for a particular programming language (and you do not want to bother creating one for it), you can still configure Textadept on a per-language basis by connecting to the events.LEXER_LOADED event, which Textadept emits every time it opens a source file. For example, in order to ensure your Ruby code always uses 2 spaces for indentation (regardless of what your default indentation settings are), add the following to your ~/.textadept/init.lua:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lexer == 'ruby' then
    buffer.use_tabs = false
    buffer.tab_width = 2

Perhaps you want to auto-pair and brace-match ‘<’ and ‘>’ characters, but only in HTML and XML files. In order to accomplish this, add the following:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  local is_markup = lexer == 'html' or lexer == 'xml'
  textadept.editing.auto_pairs[string.byte('<')] = is_markup and '>'
  textadept.editing.brace_matches[string.byte('<')] = is_markup
  textadept.editing.brace_matches[string.byte('>')] = is_markup

Finally, suppose you have a language module that has a configurable setting that you want to change without editing the module itself. (This is good practice.) Since that module is not available at startup, but only once an applicable source file is loaded, you would use this:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lexer == '...' then
    _M[lexer].setting = 'custom setting'

Loading Modules

Use Lua’s require() function from your ~/.textadept/init.lua in order to load non-language modules on startup. For example, after creating or downloading a module called foo, you would tell Textadept to load it like this:

foo = require('foo')

As for loading language modules, recall that Textadept automatically loads them when opening a source file of that language, so simply installing the language module is sufficient. Nothing needs to be added to ~/.textadept/init.lua. If on the other hand you wanted to extend an existing language module with a “sub-module” (i.e. just another Lua file with language-specific functionality), create the ~/.textadept/modules/lang/ directory if it does not already exist, place your extension script in that folder, and then require() it from an events.LEXER_LOADED event. For example, if you wanted to extend Textadept’s Lua module with an extras.lua module, add the following to ~/.textadept/init.lua:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lexer == 'lua' then require('lua.extras') end

Note that Lua’s require() function will not run code in extras.lua more than once.

Key Bindings

Textadept provides key bindings for a vast majority of its features. If you would like to add, tweak, or remove key bindings, you can do so from your ~/.textadept/init.lua. For example, maybe you prefer that Ctrl+Shift+C creates a new buffer instead of Ctrl+N:

keys.cC = buffer.new
keys.cn = nil

A key binding is simply a Lua function assigned to a key sequence in the global keys table. Key sequences are composed of an ordered combination of modifier keys followed by either the key’s inserted character, or if no such character exists, the string representation of the key. On Windows and Linux, modifier keys are “Control”, “Alt”, and “Shift”, represented by c, a, and s, respectively. On Mac OSX, modifier keys are “Control”, “Alt/Option”, “Command”, and “Shift”, represented by c, a, m, and s, respectively. On curses, modifier keys are “Control”, “Alt”, and “Shift”, represented by c, m (for Meta), and s, respectively.

Key bindings can also be language-specific by storing them in a keys[lexer] table. If you wanted to add or modify language-specific key bindings outside of a language module, you would add something like this to ~/.textadept/init.lua:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lexer == '...' then
    if not keys[lexer] then keys[lexer] = {} end
    keys[lexer].cn = function() ... end

If you plan on redefining most key bindings (e.g. in order to mimic an editor whose bindings you are used to), copy Textadept’s modules/textadept/keys.lua (or create a new keys.lua from scratch) and put it in your ~/.textadept/modules/textadept/ directory. That way, Textadept loads your set instead of its own.

Textadept also allows you to define key modes (e.g. for Vim-style modal editing) and key chains (e.g. Emacs C-x prefix). Learn more about key bindings and how to define them in the key bindings documentation.

Snippet Preferences

You may define snippets in your ~/.textadept/init.lua, just like key bindings, via a global snippets table:

snippets['file'] = '%<buffer.filename>'
snippets['path'] = "%<(buffer.filename or ''):match('^.+[/\\]')>"
events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lexer == '...' then
    if not snippets[lexer] then snippets[lexer] = {} end
    snippets[lexer]['trigger'] = 'snippet text'

You may also have a directory of snippet files where each file is its own snippet: filenames emulate the keys in the snippets table and file contents are the snippet text. Adding such snippet directories looks like this:

textadept.snippets._paths[#textadept.snippets._paths + 1] = '/path/to/dir'

Learn more about snippets, snippet syntax, and snippet files in the snippets documentation.

File Types

Textadept recognizes a wide range of programming language files either by file extension or by a Lua pattern that matches the text of the first line. The editor does this by consulting a set of tables in textadept.file_types, which you can edit using your ~/.textadept/init.lua. For example:

-- Recognize .luadoc files as Lua code.
textadept.file_types.extensions.luadoc = 'lua'
-- Change .html files to be recognized as XML files.
textadept.file_types.extensions.html = 'xml'
-- Recognize a shebang line like "#!/usr/bin/zsh" as shell code.
textadept.file_types.patterns['^#!.+/zsh'] = 'bash'

Textadept allows you to extend its menus with your own sub-menus and menu items. Menu items are associated with Lua functions such that when a menu item is selected, its Lua function is executed. For example, in order to append a menu item to the “Tools” menu and to the right-click context menu, add the following to your ~/.textadept/init.lua:

local tools = textadept.menu.menubar[_L['_Tools']]
tools[#tools + 1] = {'Extra Tool', function() ... end}
local context_menu = textadept.menu.context_menu
context_menu[#context_menu + 1] = tools[#tools]

Learn more about menus and how to customize them in the menu documentation.

Buffer Settings

While your ~/.textadept/init.lua is useful for configuring Textadept’s general preferences, it is not adequate for configuring editor preferences (e.g. buffer indentation settings, scrolling and autocompletion behavior, etc.). Attempting to define such settings from ~/.textadept/init.lua would only apply to the first buffer and view – subsequent buffers and split views would not inherit those settings.

For editor preferences, Textadept executes a ~/.textadept/properties.lua each time Textadept loads a file for editing (either in the current view or in a new, split view). Therefore, in order to override a setting like Textadept’s default indentation setting of 2 spaces per indent, add the following to your ~/.textadept/properties.lua:

buffer.use_tabs = true
buffer.tab_width = 4

(If you want to define per-language editor preferences, use the technique shown in the Language Preferences section above.)

Textadept’s own properties.lua contains the application’s default editor settings (like 2 space indentation). This file is a good “quick reference” for configurable editor properties. It also has many commented out properties that you can copy to your ~/.textadept/properties.lua and uncomment in order to turn on (or change the value of before turning on). You can view a property’s documentation by pressing Ctrl+H (^H on Mac OSX | M-H or M-S-H in curses) or by reading the buffer API documentation.

Locale Preference

Textadept attempts to auto-detect your locale settings using the “$LANG” environment variable, falling back on the English locale. In order to manually set the locale, copy the desired locale file from the core/locales/ folder to ~/.textadept/locale.conf. If Textadept does not support your language yet, please translate the English messages in core/locale.conf to your language and send the modified locale.conf file to me. I will include it in a future release.


Themes customize Textadept’s look and feel. The editor’s built-in themes are “light”, “dark”, and “term”. The GUI version uses “light” as its default and the terminal version uses “term”.

Light Theme    Dark Theme    Term Theme

Each theme is a single Lua file. It contains color and style definitions for displaying syntactic elements like comments, strings, and keywords in programming language source files. These definitions apply universally to all programming language elements, resulting in a single, unified theme. Themes also set view-related editor properties like caret and selection colors.

Note: The only colors that the terminal version of Textadept recognizes are the standard black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, and bold variants of those colors. Your terminal emulator’s settings determine how to display these standard colors (which may be completely different in the end).

Setting Themes

Override the default theme in your ~/.textadept/init.lua using the ui.set_theme() function. For example:

ui.set_theme(not CURSES and 'dark' or 'term')

Either restart Textadept for changes to take effect or type reset() in the command entry.

ui.set_theme() can also tweak theme properties like font face and font size without editing the theme file itself:

ui.set_theme('light', {font = 'Monospace', fontsize = 12})

You can even tweak themes on a per-language basis. For example, in order to color Java functions black instead of the default orange, add the following to ~/.textadept/init.lua:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lexer == 'java' then
    buffer.property['style.function'] = 'fore:%(color.light_black)'

For a full list of configurable properties, please consult the theme file you are using.

Creating Themes

Creating themes is straightforward. Simply define a set of colors and a set of styles. Just follow the example of existing themes. Place your themes in your ~/.textadept/themes/ directory so they are not overwritten whenever you upgrade Textadept. This applies to downloaded themes too.

GUI Theme

There is no way to theme GUI controls like text fields and buttons from within Textadept. Instead, use GTK+ Resource files. The “GtkWindow” name is “textadept”. For example, style all text fields with a “textadept-entry-style” like this:

widget "textadept*GtkEntry*" style "textadept-entry-style"

Getting Themes

For now, the wiki hosts third-party, user-created themes.


Lua Command Entry

The command entry grants access to Textadept’s Lua state. Press Ctrl+E (⌘E on Mac OSX | M-C in curses) to display the entry. It is useful for debugging, inspecting, and entering buffer or view commands. If you try to cause instability in Textadept’s Lua state, you will probably succeed so be careful. The Lua API lists available commands. The command entry provides abbreviated commands for buffer, view and ui: for example you may reduce the buffer:append_text('foo') command to append_text('foo'). These commands are runnable on startup using the -e and --execute command line switches.

Pressing Ctrl+H (^H | M-H or M-S-H) shows help for the current command.

Command Entry

Command Entry Tab Completion

The command entry also provides tab-completion for functions, variables, tables, etc. Press the Tab ( on Mac OSX | Tab in curses) key to display a list of available completions. Use the arrow keys to make a selection and press Enter ( | Enter) to insert it.

Command Completion

Extending the Command Entry

Executing Lua commands is just one of the many “modes” the command entry has. The command entry API documentation has more information on modes and how to create new ones. As an example, modules/textadept/keys.lua defines a new mode that works in conjunction with modules/textadept/find.lua in order to provide incremental search.

Command Selection

Pressing Ctrl+Shift+E (⌘⇧E on Mac OSX | M-S-C in curses) brings up the command selection dialog. Typing part of any command filters the list, with spaces being wildcards. This is an easy way to run commands without navigating the menus, using the mouse, or remembering key bindings. It is also useful for looking up particular key bindings quickly. Note: the key bindings in the dialog do not look like those in the menu. Textadept uses this different notation internally. Learn more about it in the keys API documentation.

Shell Commands and Filtering Text

Sometimes using an existing shell command to manipulate text is easier than using the command entry. An example would be sorting all text in a buffer (or a selection). One way to do this from the command entry is:

ls={}; for l in get_text():gmatch('[^\n]+') do ls[#ls+1]=l end;
table.sort(ls); set_text(table.concat(ls, '\n'))

A simpler way is pressing Ctrl+| (⌘| on Mac OSX | ^\ in curses), entering the shell command sort, and pressing Enter ( | Enter).

This feature determines the standard input (stdin) for shell commands as follows:

The standard output (stdout) of the command replaces the input text.

Remote Control

Since Textadept executes arbitrary Lua code passed via the -e and --execute command line switches, a side-effect of single instance functionality on the platforms that support it is that you can remotely control the original instance. For example:

ta ~/.textadept/init.lua &
ta -e "events.emit(events.FIND, 'require')"

This will search for the first instance of the word “require” in the current file using the find & replace pane.


Since Textadept is entirely scriptable with Lua, the editor has superb support for editing Lua code. Textadept provides syntax autocompletion and documentation for the Lua and Textadept APIs.

ta Autocompletion      ta Documentation

LuaDoc and Examples

Textadept’s API is heavily documented. The API documentation is the ultimate resource on scripting Textadept. There are of course abundant scripting examples since the editor’s internals consist primarily of Lua.

Getting Started

When it comes to scripting Textadept, what exactly does that mean? Being an event-driven application, Textadept simply responds to input like keypresses and mouse clicks. By responding, Textadept just executes Lua functions. For example, pressing Ctrl+O (⌘O on Mac OSX | M-O on curses) executes the io.open_file() function because a default keybinding in modules/textadept/keys.lua says so (you could change this in your preferences). Subsequently, when Textadept opens a file, a syntax highlighting lexer is applied because io.open_file() emitted a events.FILE_OPENED event that modules/textadept/file_types.lua was listening for.

Not only can you define your own key bindings that can do pretty much anything with Textadept (interact with and manipulate buffer contents, prompt for input with dialogs, spawn processes, etc.), but you can also listen in on the plethora of events Textadept emits in order to script nearly every aspect of the editor’s behavior. Would you rather have the “Search -> Find” menu option (or key binding) start a search with the word under the caret already in the find & replace pane’s search box? Create a Lua function that populates ui.find.find_entry_text and shows the pane, and then re-assign the “Search -> Find” menu action’s existing function to the one you just created. Would you like to have Textadept auto-save files as you switch between buffers? Connect the io.save_file() function to the events.BUFFER_BEFORE_SWITCH event. Would you like the ability to execute arbitrary code in order to transform replacement text while performing find & replace? Textadept emits an events.REPLACE event every time the “Replace” button is clicked. You can listen for that event and perform your own replacements. “Textadept gives you complete control over the entire application using Lua” is not an exaggeration!

Generating Autocompletions and Documentation

Generate Lua autocompletion and documentation files for your own modules using the modules/lua/tadoc.lua LuaDoc module:

luadoc -d [output_path] --doclet _HOME/modules/lua/tadoc.lua [module(s)]

where _HOME is the path where you installed Textadept and output_path is an arbitrary path to write the generated tags and api files to. You can then use your ~/.textadept/init.lua file to load those completions and API docs for use within Textadept when editing Lua files:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lexer == 'lua' then
    _M.lua.tags[#_M.lua.tags + 1] = '/path/to/tags'
    local lua_api_files = textadept.editing.api_files.lua
    lua_api_files[#lua_api_files + 1] = '/path/to/api'

Textadept uses this script to generate its own tags and api files for its Lua API.

Generating LuaDoc

Generate Textadept-like API documentation for your own modules using the doc/markdowndoc.lua LuaDoc module (you must have Discount installed):

luadoc -d . [-t template_dir] --doclet _HOME/doc/markdowndoc [module(s)]

where _HOME is the path where you installed Textadept and template_dir is an optional template directory that contains two Markdown files: .header.md and .footer.md. (See Textadept’s doc/.header.md and doc/.footer.md for examples.) LuaDoc creates an api/ directory in the current directory that contains the generated API documentation HTML files.

Lua Configuration

Textadept contains its own copy of Lua 5.3 which has the same configuration (luaconf.h) as vanilla Lua with the following exceptions:


Even though Textadept runs with LuaJIT, LuaJIT does not fully support Lua 5.3. Therefore, try to write your modules and scripts to be compatible with both versions. For the most part, LuaJIT only lacks Lua 5.2’s _ENV and Lua 5.3’s new bitwise operators and some new integer operations.


Textadept uses the Scintilla editing component. The buffer part of Textadept’s API emulates the Scintilla API so porting any C/C++ Scintilla calls to Lua should not be difficult.

Textadept Structure

Because Textadept consists mainly of Lua, its Lua scripts have to be stored in an organized folder structure.

The core Directory

The core/ directory contains Textadept’s core Lua modules. These modules are essential for the application to run. They provide Textadept’s Lua to C interface, event structure, file interactions, and localization.

The lexers Directory

Lexer modules analyze source code for syntax highlighting. lexers/ houses them.

The modules Directory

modules/ contains generic and language modules for editing text and source code.

The themes Directory

themes/ has built-in themes that customize the look and feel of Textadept.

The User Directory

The ~/.textadept/ folder houses your preferences, Lua modules, themes, and user-data. This folder may contain lexers/, modules/, and themes/ sub-directories.

GTK+ Directories

GTK+ uses the etc/, lib/, and share/ directories, which only appear in the Win32 and Mac OSX packages.



Unfortunately, the requirements for building Textadept are not quite as minimal as running it.

Requirements for Linux and BSD

First, Linux and BSD systems need either the GNU C compiler (gcc) or Clang (clang), as well as GNU Make (make or gmake). BSD users additionally need to have pkg-config and libiconv installed. All of these should be available for your distribution through a package manager. For example, Ubuntu includes these tools in the “build-essential” package.

Next, the GUI version of Textadept requires the GTK+ development libraries. Again, your package manager should allow you to install them. Debian-based Linux distributions like Ubuntu typically call the package “libgtk2.0-dev”. Otherwise, compile and install GTK+ from the GTK+ website.

The optional terminal version of Textadept depends on the development library for a curses implementation like ncurses. Similarly, your package manager should provide one. Debian-based Linux distributions like Ubuntu typically call the ncurses package “libncurses5-dev”. Otherwise, compile and install ncurses from the ncurses website. Note: you need the wide-character development version of ncurses installed, which handles multibyte sequences. (Therefore, Debian users also need “libncursesw5-dev”.)

Requirements for Windows

Compiling Textadept on Windows is no longer supported. The preferred way to compile for Windows is cross-compiling from Linux. In order to do so, you need MinGW with the Windows header files. Your package manager should offer them.

Note: compiling on Windows requires a C compiler that supports the C99 standard, the GTK+ for Windows bundle (2.24 is recommended), and libiconv for Windows (the “Developer files” and “Binaries” zip files). The terminal (pdcurses) version requires my win32curses bundle instead of GTK+ and libiconv.

Requirements for Mac OSX

Compiling Textadept on Mac OSX is no longer supported. The preferred way is cross-compiling from Linux. In order to do so, you need the Apple Cross-compiler binaries.


Compiling on Linux and BSD

Note: for BSD systems, replace the make commands below with gmake.

For Linux and BSD systems, simply run make deps (or make deps NIGHTLY=1 when compiling Textadept from the latest source rather than from a tagged release) in the src/ directory to prepare the build environment, followed by make to build the textadept and textadeptjit executables in the root directory. Make a symlink from them to /usr/bin/ or elsewhere in your PATH.

Similarly, make curses builds textadept-curses and textadeptjit-curses.

Note: you may have to run

make CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include" \
     CXXFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include -L/usr/local/lib"

if the prefix where any dependencies are installed is /usr/local/ and your compiler flags do not include them by default.

If it matters, running make verify-deps after make deps will compare the downloaded dependencies with the ones Textadept was compiled against.

Installing on Linux and BSD

Textadept is self-contained, meaning you do not have to install it, and runs from its current location. Should you choose to install Textadept like a normal Linux application, run make deps (or make deps NIGHTLY=1 as noted in the previous section) and then the usual make and make install or sudo make install commands depending on your privileges. The default prefix is /usr/local but setting DESTDIR (e.g. make install DESTDIR=/prefix/to/install/to) changes it.

Similarly, make curses and make curses install installs the curses version.

Cross Compiling for Windows

When cross-compiling from within Linux, first make a note of your MinGW compiler names. You may have to either modify the CROSS variable in the “win32” block of src/Makefile or append something like “CROSS=i486-mingw32-” when running make. After considering your MinGW compiler names, run make win32-deps or make CROSS=i486-mingw32- win32-deps to prepare the build environment followed by make win32 or make CROSS=i486-mingw32- win32 to build ../textadept.exe and ../textadeptjit.exe. Finally, copy the dll files from src/win32gtk/bin/ to the directory containing the Textadept executables.

Similarly for the terminal version, run make win32-curses or its variant as suggested above to build ../textadept-curses.exe and ../textadeptjit-curses.exe.

Please note the build process produces a lua51.dll for only textadeptjit.exe and textadeptjit-curses.exe because limitations on external Lua library loading do not allow statically linking LuaJIT to Textadept.

Cross Compiling for Mac OSX

When cross-compiling from within Linux, run make osx-deps to prepare the build environment followed by make osx to build ../textadept.osx and ../textadeptjit.osx.

Similarly, make osx-curses builds ../textadept-curses.osx and ../textadeptjit-curses.osx.

Build a new Textadept.app with make osx-app.

Compiling on OSX (Legacy)

Textadept requires XCode as well as jhbuild (for GTK+). After building “meta-gtk-osx-bootstrap” and “meta-gtk-osx-core”, build “meta-gtk-osx-themes”. Note that the entire compiling process can easily take 30 minutes or more and ultimately consume nearly 1GB of disk space.

After using jhbuild, GTK+ is in ~/gtk/ so make a symlink from ~/gtk/inst to src/gtkosx in Textadept. Then open src/Makefile and uncomment the “Darwin” block. Finally, run make osx to build ../textadept.osx and ../textadeptjit.osx.

Developer note: in order to build a GTK+ for OSX bundle, run the following from the src/ directory before zipping up gtkosx/include/ and gtkosx/lib/:

sed -i -e 's|libdir=/Users/username/gtk/inst/lib|libdir=${prefix}/lib|;' \

where username is your username.

Compiling the terminal version is not so expensive and requires no additional libraries. After uncommenting the “Darwin” block mentioned above, simply run make osx-curses to build ../textadept-curses.osx and ../textadeptjit-curses.osx.

Notes on LuaJIT

LuaJIT is a Just-In-Time Compiler for Lua and can boost the speed of Lua programs. LuaJIT offers no real benefit performance-wise to justify it being Textadept’s default runtime. LuaJIT’s ffi library, however, appears to be useful for interfacing with external, non-Lua, libraries.

Notes on CDK

CDK is a library of curses widgets. The terminal version of Textadept includes a slightly modified, stripped down version of this library. The changes made to CDK are in src/cdk.patch and listed as follows:


Command Line Parameters

Passing -h or --help to Textadept shows a list of available command line parameters.

Switch Arguments Description
-e, --execute 1 Run Lua code.
-f, --force 0 Forces unique instance.
-h, --help 0 Shows this.
-n, --nosession 0 No session functionality.
-s, --session 1 Loads session on startup.
-u, --userhome 1 Sets alternate _USERHOME.
-v, --version 0 Prints Textadept version and copyright

Textadept curses does not support the help switch.

Online Help

Textadept has a mailing list and a wiki.


Regular Expressions

Textadept uses TRE as its regular expression library. TRE is a “lightweight, robust, and efficient POSIX compliant regexp matching library”.

The following is from the TRE Regexp Syntax.

This section describes the POSIX 1003.2 extended RE (ERE) syntax as implemented by TRE, and the TRE extensions to the ERE syntax. A simple Extended Backus-Naur Form (EBNF) style notation is used to describe the grammar.

Alternation operator

extended-regexp ::= branch
                |   extended-regexp "|" branch

An extended regexp (ERE) is one or more branches, separated by |. An ERE matches anything that matches one or more of the branches.

Catenation of REs

branch ::= piece
       |   branch piece

A branch is one or more pieces concatenated. It matches a match for the first piece, followed by a match for the second piece, and so on.

piece ::= atom
      |   atom repeat-operator
      |   atom approx-settings

A piece is an atom possibly followed by a repeat operator or an expression controlling approximate matching parameters for the atom.

atom ::= "(" extended-regexp ")"
     |   bracket-expression
     |   "."
     |   assertion
     |   literal
     |   back-reference
     |   "(?#" comment-text ")"
     |   "(?" options ")" extended-regexp
     |   "(?" options ":" extended-regexp ")"

An atom is either an ERE enclosed in parenthesis, a bracket expression, a . (period), an assertion, or a literal.

The dot (.) matches any single character.

Comment-text can contain any characters except for a closing parenthesis ). The text in the comment is completely ignored by the regex parser and it used solely for readability purposes.

Repeat operators

repeat-operator ::= "*"
                |   "+"
                |   "?"
                |   bound
                |   "*?"
                |   "+?"
                |   "??"
                |   bound ?

An atom followed by * matches a sequence of 0 or more matches of the atom. + is similar to *, matching a sequence of 1 or more matches of the atom. An atom followed by ? matches a sequence of 0 or 1 matches of the atom.

A bound is one of the following, where m and n are unsigned decimal integers between 0 and RE_DUP_MAX:

  1. {m,n}
  2. {m,}
  3. {m}

An atom followed by [1] matches a sequence of m through n (inclusive) matches of the atom. An atom followed by [2] matches a sequence of m or more matches of the atom. An atom followed by [3] matches a sequence of exactly m matches of the atom.

Adding a ? to a repeat operator makes the subexpression minimal, or non-greedy. Normally a repeated expression is greedy, that is, it matches as many characters as possible. A non-greedy subexpression matches as few characters as possible. Note that this does not (always) mean the same thing as matching as many or few repetitions as possible.

Bracket expressions

bracket-expression ::= "[" item+ "]"
                   |   "[^" item+ "]"

A bracket expression specifies a set of characters by enclosing a nonempty list of items in brackets. Normally anything matching any item in the list is matched. If the list begins with ^ the meaning is negated; any character matching no item in the list is matched.

An item is any of the following:

To include a literal - in the list, make it either the first or last item, the second endpoint of a range, or enclose it in [. and .] to make it a collating element. To include a literal ] in the list, make it either the first item, the second endpoint of a range, or enclose it in [. and .]. To use a literal - as the first endpoint of a range, enclose it in [. and .].


assertion ::= "^"
          |   "$"
          |   "\" assertion-character

The expressions ^ and $ are called “left anchor” and “right anchor”, respectively. The left anchor matches the empty string at the beginning of the string. The right anchor matches the empty string at the end of the string.

An assertion-character can be any of the following:


literal ::= ordinary-character
        |   "\x" ["1"-"9" "a"-"f" "A"-"F"]{0,2}
        |   "\x{" ["1"-"9" "a"-"f" "A"-"F"]* "}"
        |  "\" character

A literal is either an ordinary character (a character that has no other significance in the context), an 8 bit hexadecimal encoded character (e.g. \x1B), a wide hexadecimal encoded character (e.g. \x{263a}), or an escaped character. An escaped character is a \ followed by any character, and matches that character. Escaping can be used to match characters which have a special meaning in regexp syntax. A \ cannot be the last character of an ERE. Escaping also allows you to include a few non-printable characters in the regular expression. These special escape sequences include:

An ordinary character is just a single character with no other significance, and matches that character. A { followed by something else than a digit is considered an ordinary character.

Back references

back-reference ::= "\" ["1"-"9"]

A back reference is a backslash followed by a single non-zero decimal digit d. It matches the same sequence of characters matched by the dth parenthesized subexpression.


options ::= ["i" "n" "r" "U"]* ("-" ["i" "n" "r" "U"]*)?

Options allow compile time options to be turned on/off for particular parts of the regular expression. If the option is specified in the first section, it is turned on. If it is specified in the second section (after the -), it is turned off.

Lua Patterns

The following is from the Lua 5.3 Reference Manual.

Character Class:

A character class is used to represent a set of characters. The following combinations are allowed in describing a character class:

For all classes represented by single letters (%a, %c, etc.), the corresponding uppercase letter represents the complement of the class. For instance, %S represents all non-space characters.

The definitions of letter, space, and other character groups depend on the current locale. In particular, the class [a-z] may not be equivalent to %l.

Pattern Item:

A pattern item can be


A pattern is a sequence of pattern items. A ‘^’ at the beginning of a pattern anchors the match at the beginning of the subject string. A ‘$’ at the end of a pattern anchors the match at the end of the subject string. At other positions, ‘^’ and ‘$’ have no special meaning and represent themselves.


A pattern can contain sub-patterns enclosed in parentheses; they describe captures. When a match succeeds, the substrings of the subject string that match captures are stored (captured) for future use. Captures are numbered according to their left parentheses. For instance, in the pattern "(a*(.)%w(%s*))", the part of the string matching "a*(.)%w(%s*)" is stored as the first capture (and therefore has number 1); the character matching “.” is captured with number 2, and the part matching “%s*” has number 3.

As a special case, the empty capture () captures the current string position (a number). For instance, if we apply the pattern "()aa()" on the string "flaaap", there will be two captures: 3 and 5.

Curses Compatibility

Textadept 5.5 beta introduced a curses version that is capable of running in a terminal emulator. However, it requires a font with good glyph support (like DejaVu Sans Mono or Liberation Mono), and lacks some GUI features due to the terminal’s constraints:

Migration Guides

Textadept 8 to 9

Textadept 9 introduces minor API changes (mostly renames of existing functions and fields) along with some backwards-incompatible simplifications of key commands, menu commands, and language module handling.

API Changes

Old API Change New API
COMPILE_OUTPUT lexer, output Changed COMPILE_OUTPUT output, ext/lex
RUN_OUTPUT lexer, output Changed RUN_OUTPUT output, ext/lexer
BUILD_OUTPUT project, output Changed BUILD_OUTPUT output
snapopen(…) Changed quick_open(paths, filter, opts)
snapopen_filters Renamed quick_open_filters
SNAPOPEN_MAX Renamed quick_open_max
FILTER Renamed default_filter
dir_foreach() Changed dir_foreach() (changed args)
SILENT_PRINT Renamed silent_print
goto_view(n, relative) Changed goto_view(view)
FILTER Renamed find_in_files_filter
find_in_files(dir) Changed find_in_files(dir, filter)
N/A Added find_in_files_timeout
lua Changed regex
lua_pattern_label_text Changed regex_label_text
goto_buffer(n, relative) Changed goto_buffer(buffer)
AUTOPAIR Replaced auto_pairs
TYPEOVER_CHARS Replaced typeover_chars
AUTOINDENT Renamed auto_indent
STRIP_TRAILING_SPACES Renamed strip_trailing_spaces
AUTOCOMPLETE_ALL Renamed autocomplete_all_words
char_matches Replaced auto_pairs
braces Renamed brace_matches
goto_line(line) Changed line argument is 0-based
RUN_IN_BACKGROUND Renamed run_in_background
cwd Removed
proc Removed
compile() Changed compile(filename)
run() Changed run(filename)
build() Changed build(root_directory)
error_patterns Changed (changed format)
syntax_commands Removed
syntax_error_patterns Removed
N/A Added _paths
DEFAULT_SESSION Renamed default_session
SAVE_ON_QUIT Renamed save_on_quit
MAX_RECENT_FILES Renamed max_recent_files

Key and Menu Command Changes

Key commands and menu commands can no longer be tables. Instead they must be Lua functions. Check your ~/.textadept/init.lua and custom modules and transform any applicable key bindings or menu items. For example:

keys.ca = {func, args}       =>  keys.ca = function() func(args) end
{'Menu Item', {func, args}}  =>  {'Menu Item', function() func(args) end}

Note: If func returns true or false, make sure you use function() return func(args) end.

Textadept’s own modules/textadept/keys.lua and modules/textadept/menu.lua have been updated appropriately.

Language Module Handling Changes

Textadept 9 no longer auto-loads a post_init.lua in language modules. Instead, it must be loaded manually from an events.LEXER_LOADED event. For example:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function()
  if lang == 'ansi_c' then require('ansi_c.extras') end

will load a ~/.textadept/modules/ansi_c/extras.lua “sub-module” for C files. Keep in mind that Lua’s require() function will only execute module code once.

If you have a number of post_init.lua files that you want Textadept 9 to make use of, you can put the following in your ~/.textadept/init.lua:

events.connect(events.LEXER_LOADED, function(lexer)
  if lfs.attributes(_USERHOME..'/modules/'..lexer..'/post_init.lua') then

Find & Replace Changes

Find & replace with Lua patterns has been superceded by find & replace with Regular Expressions (regex). The Regular Expressions section above covers the regex syntax that Textadept supports.

Textadept 7 to 8

Textadept 8 upgraded its internal copy of Lua from 5.2 to 5.3. Nearly all user scripts will continue to function properly without modification – Textadept itself only needed to update some instances of numeric division to account for Lua’s new integer/float distinction.

Textadept 8 has no major API changes of note. Instead, the table below lists all API changes during the 7.x cycle. Please consult this table when upgrading from your particular version of Textadept 7.

Textadept 8 did introduce changes in language-specific keybindings and macros for compile and run commands, which are described in the sections below.

API Changes

Old API Change New API Since
N/A Added spawn() 7.2
N/A Added LINUX 7.8
N/A Added BSD 7.8
lang.context_menu Removed 7.8
N/A Added next_image_type() 7.8
N/A Added FOCUS 7.5
N/A Added CSI 7.8
N/A Added SUSPEND 7.8
N/A Added RESUME 7.8
set_buffer_encoding() Renamed buffer:set_encoding() 7.3
boms Removed 7.9
dir_foreach(…) Changed dir_foreach(…, n, incl_dirs) 7.6
textadept.adeptsense Removed
complete() Replaced editing.autocomplete() 7.3
show_apidoc() Replaced editing.show_documentation() 7.3
toggle(on) Changed toggle(on, line) 8.0
complete_lua() Removed 7.3
execute_lua() Removed 7.3
N/A Added autocompleters 7.3
autocomplete_word() Replaced autocomplete(‘word’) 7.3
selecte_indented_block() Removed 7.3
shebangs Replaced patternsa 7.9
set_menubar(menubar) Replaced menubar = menubar 7.3
set_contextmenu(menu) Replaced context_menu = menu 7.3
set_tabcontextmenu(menu) Replaced tab_context_menu = menu 7.3
N/A Added build() 7.2
N/A Added build_commands 7.2
N/A Added stop() 7.2
N/A Added tabs 7.1
N/A Added editing_keys 7.8
enter_mode(mode) Changed enter_mode(mode, lexer, height) 7.8
N/A Added optionselect() 7.2

ashebangs.lua = 'lua' converts to patterns['^#!.+/lua'] = 'lua'

Language-specific Key Changes

Textadept 8 removed the keys.LANGUAGE_MODULE_PREFIX key binding (which has been Ctrl+L for Win32 and Linux, ⌘L on Mac OSX, and M-L in curses), but only in name. Textadept 8 does not make use of this key, and it is still traditionally reserved for use by language-specific modules. You can use as such from your language module like this:

keys.lua[not OSX and not CURSES and 'cl' or 'ml'] = {

Compile and Run Macro Changes

Textadept 8 removed the long-hand macros for compile and run commands in favor or shorthand ones (most of which have been available since 7.1).

Old Macro New Macro
%(filename) %f
%(filename_noext) %e
%(filedir) %d
%(filepath) %p

Any modules and language-specific modules using the long-hand notation must be updated.

Textadept 6 to 7

Textadept 7 introduces API changes, a change in module mentality and filename encodings, and a completely new theme implementation.

API Changes

Old API Change New API
buffer_new() Renamed _G.buffer.new()
_M.textadept Renamed textadept
filter_through Removed N/A
filter_through.filter_through() Renamed editing.filter_through()
mime_types Renamed file_typesb
N/A New goto_mark()
goto_bookmark Replaced goto_mark()
goto_next Replaced goto_mark(true)
goto_prev Replaced goto_mark(false)
autocomplete_word(chars, default) Changed autocomplete_word(default)
grow_selection() Replaced select_enclosed()
menubar Removed N/A
contextmenu Removed N/A
compile_command Renamed compile_commands
run_command Renamed run_commands
error_detail Renamed error_patternse
_M.textadept.snapopen Removed N/A
open Changed _G.io.snapopen()f
SC_* Renamed Removed “SC_” prefix.
SC(FIND|MOD|VS|WS) Renamed Removed “SC” prefix.
check_global() Removed
get_style_name(buffer, n) Renamed style_name[n]
reload() Renamed io.reload_file()
save() Renamed io.save_file()
save_as() Renamed io.save_file_as()
close() Renamed io.close_buffer()
set_encoding() Renamed io.set_buffer_encoding()
convert_eo_ls() Renamed buffer.convert_eols()
dirty Replaced buffer.modify
handlers Removed N/A
gui Renamed ui
docstatusbar_text Renamed bufstatusbar_text
N/A New maximized
find.goto_file_in_list() Renamed find.goto_file_found()
select_theme Removed N/A
N/A New dialogs
filteredlist Removed N/A
set_theme(name, …) Changed set_theme(name, table)
try_encodings Renamed encodings
open_file(string) Changed open_file(string or table)
snapopen(string, …) Changed snapopen(string or table, …)
save_all() Renamed save_all_files()
close_all() Renamed close_all_buffers()

aarg is nil when resetting.

bRemoved mime_types.conf files. Interact with Lua tables directly.

cSet buffer.marker_back in events.VIEW_NEW.

dSet buffer.indic_fore in events.VIEW_NEW.

eChanged structure too.

fChanged arguments too.

Module Mentality

Prior to Textadept 7, the _M table held all loaded modules (regardless of whether they were generic modules or language modules) and Textadept encouraged users to load custom modules into _M even though Lua has no such restriction. The _M prefix no longer makes much sense for generic modules like textadept, so only language modules are automatically loaded into _M. Textadept 7 does not encourage any prefix for custom, generic modules; the user is free to choose.

Filename Encodings

Prior to Textadept 7, buffer.filename was encoded in UTF-8 and any functions that accepted filenames (such as io.open_file()) required the filenames to also be encoded in UTF-8. This is no longer the case in Textadept 7. buffer.filename is encoded in _CHARSET and any filenames passed to functions should also remain encoded in _CHARSET. No more superfluous encoding conversions. You should only convert to and from UTF-8 when displaying or retrieving displayed filenames from buffers and/or dialogs.

Theme Changes

You can use the following as a reference for converting your Textadept 6 themes to Textadept 7:

-- File *theme/lexer.lua*            | -- File *theme.lua*
-- Textadept 6                       | -- Textadept 7
local l = lexer                      | local buffer = buffer
local color = l.color                | local prop = buffer.property
local style = l.style                | local prop_int =
                                     |   buffer.property_int
l.colors = {                         |
  ...                                | ...
  red = color('99', '4D', '4D'),     | prop['color.red'] = 0x4D4D99
  yellow = color('99', '99', '4D'),  | prop['color.yellow'] = 0x4D9999
  ...                                | ...
}                                    |
l.style_nothing = style{}            | prop['style.nothing'] = ''
l.style_class = style{               | prop['style.class'] =
  fore = l.colors.yellow             |   'fore:%(color.yellow)'
}                                    | ...
...                                  | prop['style.identifier'] =
l.style_identifier = l.style_nothing |   '%(style.nothing)'
...                                  | ...
                                     | prop['font'] = 'Monospace'
local font, size = 'Monospace', 10   | prop['fontsize'] = 10
l.style_default = style{             | prop['style.default'] =
  font = font, size = size,          |   'font:%(font),'..
  fore = l.colors.light_black        |   'size:%(fontsize),'..
  back = l.colors.white              |   'fore:%(color.light_black),'..
}                                    |   'back:%(color.white)'
...                                  | ...

-- File *theme/view.lua*             | -- Same file *theme.lua*!
...                                  | ...
-- Caret and Selection Styles.       | -- Caret and Selection Styles.
buffer:set_sel_fore(true, 0x333333)  | buffer:set_sel_fore(true,
                                     |   prop_int['color.light_black'])
buffer:set_sel_back(true, 0x999999)  | buffer:set_sel_back(true,
                                     |   prop_int['color.light_grey'])
--buffer.sel_alpha =                 | --buffer.sel_alpha =
--buffer.sel_eol_filled = true       |
buffer.caret_fore = 0x4D4D4D         | buffer.caret_fore =
                                     |   prop_int['color.grey_black']
...                                  | ...


  1. Textadept 7’s themes share its Lua state and set lexer colors and styles through named buffer properties.
  2. Convert colors from “RRGGBB” string format to the “0xBBGGRR” number format that Textadept’s API documentation uses consistently.
  3. The only property names that matter are the “style.name” ones. Other property names are arbitrary.
  4. Instead of using variables, which are evaluated immediately, use “%(key)” notation, which substitutes the value of property “key” at a later point in time. This means you do not have to define properties before use. You can also modify existing properties without redefining the properties that depend on them. See the creating themes section for an example.
  5. Set view properties related to colors directly in theme.lua now instead of a separate view.lua. You may use color properties defined earlier. Try to refrain from setting properties like buffer.sel_eol_filled which belong in a properties.lua file.
  6. The separate buffer.lua is gone. Use properties.lua or a language module.
Theme Preference

Textadept 7 ignores the ~/.textadept/theme and ~/.textadept/theme_term files that specified your preferred Textadept 6 theme. Use ~/.textadept/init.lua to set a preferred theme instead. For example, if you had custom GUI and terminal themes:

-- File *~/.textadept/init.lua*
ui.set_theme(not CURSES and 'custom' or 'custom_term')

You may still use absolute paths for themes instead of names.

Textadept 5 to 6

Textadept 6 introduces some API changes. These changes affect themes in particular, so your themes may require upgrading.

Old API Change New API
annotation_get_text(line) Renamed annotation_text[line]
annotation_set_text(line, text) Renamed annotation_text[line] = text
auto_c_get_current() Renamed auto_c_current
auto_c_get_current_text() Renamed auto_c_current_text
get_lexer_language() Renamed lexer_language
get_property(key) Renamed property[key]
get_property_expanded(key) Renamed property_expanded[key]
get_tag(n) Renamed tag[n]
margin_get_text(line) Renamed margin_text[line]
margin_set_text(line, text) Renamed margin_text[line] = text
marker_set_alpha(n, alpha) Renamed marker_alpha[n] = alpha
marker_set_back(n, color) Renamed marker_back[n] = color
marker_set_back_selected(n, color) Renamed marker_back_selected[n] = color
marker_set_fore(n, color) Renamed marker_fore[n] = color
set_fold_flags(flags) Renamed fold_flags = flags
set_lexer_language(name) Renamed lexer_language = name
style_get_font(n) Renamed style_font[n]
gtkmenu() Renamed menu()
user_dofile(file) Renamed dofile(_USERHOME..‘/’..file)
lua.goto_required() Removed N/A
php.goto_required() Removed N/A
ruby.goto_required() Removed N/A
complete_symbol() Replaced complete()
show_documentation() Replaced show_apidoc()
N/A New toggle()
add() Renamed toggle(true)
remove() Renamed toggle(false)
prepare_for_save() Removed N/A
rebuild_command_tables() Replaced set_menubar()
execute() Replaced run() and compile()
prompt_load() Replaced load()
prompt_save() Replaced save()

Textadept 4 to 5

Textadept 5 upgraded its copy of Lua from 5.1 to 5.2. Many old scripts are not compatible and need to be upgraded. Since incompatible scripts may cause crashes on startup, the following guide will help you migrate your scripts from Textadept 4 to Textadept 5. While this guide is not exhaustive, it covers the changes I had to make to Textadept’s internals.

API Changes

Old API Change New API
getfenv(f) Removed N/A. Use:
debug.getupvalue(f, 1)
loadstring() Replaced load()
module() Removed N/A
setfenv(f, env) Removed N/A. Use:
debug.setupvalue(f, 1, env)a
unpack() Renamed table.unpack()
xpcall(f, msgh) Changed xpcall(f, msgh, …)
_m Renamed _Mb
current_word(action) Renamed select_word()c
locale Removed N/A
localize(message) Renamed _G._L[message]
code = execute(cmd) Changed ok, status, code = execute(cmd)

aIn some cases, use load() with an environment instead:

setfenv(loadstring(str), env)() --> load(str, nil, 'bt', env)()

bIn Textadept, search for “_m” and replace with “_M” with the “Match Case” and “Whole Words” options checked – this is what I did when upgrading Textadept’s internals.

cTo delete, call _M.textadept.keys.utils.delete_word() or define your own:

local function delete_word()

Module Changes

You can use the following as a reference for converting your Lua 5.1 modules to Lua 5.2:

-- File *~/.textadept/modules/foo.lua*
-- Lua 5.1                    | -- Lua 5.2
                              | local M = {}
                              | --[[ This comment is for LuaDoc
---                           | ---
-- This is the documentation  | -- This is the documentation
-- for module foo.            | -- for module foo.
module('foo', package.seeall) | module('foo')]]
---                           | ---
-- Documentation for bar.     | -- Documentation for bar.
-- ...                        | -- ...
--                            | -- @name bar
function bar()                | function M.bar()
  ...                         |   ...
end                           | end
function baz()                | function M.baz()
  bar()                       |   M.bar()
end                           | end
                              | return M

-- File *~/.textadept/init.lua*
-- Lua 5.1                    | -- Lua 5.2
require 'textadept'           | _M.textadept = require 'textadept'
require 'foo'                 | foo = require 'foo'


  1. Even though Lua 5.2 deprecates Lua 5.1’s module(), Textadept 5 removes it.
  2. Prefix all intern module tables and function calls with M.
  3. Also, replace all instances (if any) of _M (a references created by module() that holds the current module table) with M.
  4. You can use your existing LuaDoc comments by keeping the module() call commented out and adding @name tags.

Theme Changes

You can use the following as a reference for converting your Lua 5.1 themes to Lua 5.2:

-- File *~/.textadept/themes/theme/lexer.lua*
-- Lua 5.1                       | -- Lua 5.2
                                 | local l = lexer
module('lexer', package.seeall)  | local color = l.color
                                 | local style = l.style
colors = {                       | l.colors = {
  ...                            |   ...
}                                | }
style_nothing = style{}          | l.style_nothing = style{...}
style_class = style{             | l.style_class = style{
  fore = colors.light_yellow     |   fore = l.colors.light_yellow
}                                | }
...                              | ...
style_identifier = style_nothing | l.style_identifier = l.style_nothing
...                              | ...
style_default = style{           | l.style_default = style{
  ...                            |   ...
}                                | }
style_line_number = {            | l.style_line_number = {
  fore = colors.dark_grey,       |   fore = l.colors.dark_grey,
  back = colors.black            |   back = l.colors.black
}                                | }
...                              | ...

Note the l. prefix before most identifiers.

Textadept 3 to 4

Key and Menu Changes

Textadept 4 features a brand new set of key bindings and menu structure. It also shows simple key bindings (not keychains) in menus. In order for key bindings to appear in menus, _m.textadept.menu must know which commands map to which keys. Therefore, the menu module needs to be required after _m.textadept.keys. If your ~/.textadept/init.lua calls require 'textadept', you do not have to make any changes. If you load individual modules from _m.textadept, ensure _m.textadept.menu loads after _m.textadept.keys.

Mac OSX has different modifier key definitions. A new m indicates ⌘ (command) and a changed from ⌘ to ⌥ (alt/option). c remains ^ (control). Keep in mind that ⌥ functions as a compose key for locale-dependent characters.

API Changes

Old API Change New API
select_scope() Renamed select_style()

Textadept 2 to 3

Module Changes

Core Extensions

The core extention modules moved from core/ext/ to modules/textadept/. Putting

require 'textadept'

in your ~/.textadept/init.lua loads all the modules you would expect. The loading modules section has instructions on how to load specific modules.

Autoloading Keys and Snippets

Key bindings in ~/.textadept/key_commands.lua and snippets in ~/.textadept/snippets.lua no longer auto-load. Move them to your ~/.textadept/init.lua or a file loaded by ~/.textadept/init.lua.

API Changes

Textadept has a brand new Lua API. Old scripts and themes are likely not compatible and need to be upgraded.

Old API Change New API
N/A New events
N/A New gui
_m.textadept.lsnippets Renamed _m.textadept.snippets
textadept Removed N/A
_print() Renamed _G.gui._print()
buffer_functions Renamed _G._SCINTILLA.functions
buffer_properties Renamed _G._SCINTILLA.properties
buffers Renamed _G._BUFFERS
check_focused_buffer() Renamed _G.gui.check_focused_buffer()
clipboard_text Renamed _G.gui.clipboard_text
command_entry Renamed _G.gui.command_entry
constants Renamed _G._SCINTILLA.constants
context_menu Renamed _G.gui.context_menu
dialog Renamed _G.gui.dialog()
docstatusbar_text Renamed _G.gui.docstatusbar_text
events Renamed _G.events
events.add_handler() Renamed _G.events.connect()
events.handle() Renamed _G.events.emit()
find Renamed _G.gui.find
focused_doc_pointer Renamed _G.gui.focused_doc_pointer
get_split_table() Renamed _G.gui.get_split_table()
goto_view() Renamed _G.gui.goto_view()
gtkmenu() Renamed _G.gui.gtkmenu()
iconv() Renamed _G.string.iconv()
menubar Renamed _G.gui.menubar
new_buffer() Renamed _G.new_buffer()
print() Renamed _G.gui.print()
quit() Renamed _G.quit()
reset() Renamed _G.reset()
session_file Renamed _G._SESSIONFILE
size Renamed _G.gui.size
statusbar_text Renamed _G.gui.statusbar_text
switch_buffer() Renamed _G.gui.switch_buffer()
title Renamed _G.gui.title
user_dofile() Renamed _G.user_dofile()
views Renamed _G._VIEWS