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I have been using TextMate 'til now, but I am missing exactly one feature: vertical split view.

I know that Coda supports it, but I am not a big fan of a huge IDE which changes my workflow too much – in other words, I hate it if one application takes over my job.

TextMate is actually all I need:

  • code completion
  • syntax highlighting
  • snippets
  • filebrowser (project folder)
  • accessible via the terminal

But the Vertical Split is just one feature I am really looking for. Have you an idea which editor could be the solution to my problem?

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migrated from Feb 7 '11 at 2:41

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Not sure what you mean by vertical split (it's somewhat ambiguous) but TextWrangler (free) and it's payware big brother BBEdit are both very good and let you split the window in one axis, at least. – Paul R Feb 4 '11 at 16:35
@Spectator vertical splits would be extremely nice. I've looked at a few different IDE's (PyCharm, Eclipse, KomodoEdit), but have ended up sticking with mvim as my text editor of choice, sacrificing amenities like a Snippets filebrowser or code completion that works the way I like. I like mvim because it keeps my vi and vim chops lean for those times when I find myself using another computer where one of the popular IDE's haven't been installed. Best of luck to you! – mkelley33 Feb 4 '11 at 16:52
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I will always answer Vim (or MacVim in this case): it does everything you want, some more and runs on every platform which gets the next hype!


You can split horizontally and vertically until you bleed. If you shy away from the steep learning curve of pure VIM, you can make Cream to tune Vim into an easier and "more to the standards" version ... but of course you can still vertically split and tab yourself to death.

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+1 for MacVim - it's the best GUI vim on any platform IMO. You also have the benefit that many people who used TextMate have switched to vim, so there are lots of switcher guides (e.g., – redacted Jun 3 '11 at 13:58

Sublime Text 2 looks promising (probably until TextMate 2 comes along), though it is only in (early) alpha stage.

Here's a Screenshot of the feature you're requesting in SublimeText 2.

Sublime Text 2 split view

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I am very optimistic over Sublime Text 2 the alpha is working great for me ... i am loving the Fullscreen mode and Splitscreening is perfect. I am just a little sad about seeing the evaluation dialog during public alpha ... I would pay for the editor if it would be a release but for an alpha I don't know. – Spectator Feb 8 '11 at 11:28

Emacs runs on OSX and is a very popular editor for code, text and well... just about everything. It was originally very much a geek's editor, but has since become much more simple and easy to use. You might give it a shot.

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I'll give it a try but as far as I can remeber i couldn't get my had over the shortcuts ... Maybe this time i'll take some more time! – Spectator Feb 4 '11 at 16:22
Short-cuts are now really just that: short-cuts. Everything is mouse enabled and menu-enabled now. The short cuts are generally faster to use because your fingers don't have to move to and from the mouse, but most of them aren't required any longer. – Wes Hardaker Feb 4 '11 at 16:42

If you think you might consider Vim, it definitely has vertical text splitting. You can split your window into as many windows as you like - top and bottom, left and right, two on the top and one on bottom, etc. The splits can be different files or different parts of the same file.

Vim has a steep learning curve, but I'm a big fan, and after watching me use it, my boss is preparing to switch from Textmate to Vim.

If you want to consider it, I'd highly recommend the Peepcode episode on Vim to get you started.

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You can also try using TextMate's bookmark feature as a substitute.

enter image description here

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Try Fraise or Smultron. (Fraise is based on and very similar to Smultron.) They both support split view and are both free or very cheap (Smultron costs $5).

Link for Smultron changed to current version.

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Note: Fraise is no longer being developed. – Wuffers Feb 7 '11 at 2:56

Have you considered Cinch?

It allows you to drag a window so that it resizes to half of the screen. You can also drag a window to resize to full screen. You can use it with Exposé to work with more than two windows.

This would enable you to continue using TextMate or any other editor of choice.

Cinch currently costs $7.

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TextWrangler has a sweet split view. Still kinda two windows but check it out. command+click to highlight the two docs you want to compare, then right (control) click and choose compare. Observe the awesomeness. I posted this on MacRumors as well.

That and a lot of other great tips here:

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Another free option is Jedit, available for Mac, Windows and Linux. It can split horizontally and vertically. Sublime looks better, but it's not free. Macvim is another option, but you have to get used to its different way of doing things.

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