Linux Apps

ReText – A Powerful Text Editor for Markdown and reStructuredText

ReText Editor for Markdown
Written by Martins D. Okoi

We have written on more than a handful of text editors in the past year but hey, it’s open source; there are a lot more from where the others came from. Today, we bring you a Linux app with a focus on Markdown editing and reStructuredText markup languages – ReText.

ReText is an open source and lightweight but efficient text editor for Markdown and reStructuredText markup languages. It is written in Python to work on Linux and any POSIX-compatible platform. With that being said, Python’s runtime environment is a requirement for its installation.

ReText features a simplified UI with panels for edit functionality, document preferences, an optional panel for document live previews, and all the basic features you will expect in a typical text editor. It also features line numbers and some syntax highlighting to make errors, tags, sections, links, etc stand out.

Features in ReText

  • FOSS – free to download and use with its source code accessible on GitHub.
  • Markdown editing.
  • Support for creating and editing reStructuredText markup languages
  • Memory-friendly with a responsive and intuitive workflow.
  • Minimal design UI.
  • Support for CSS styling.
  • Syntax highlighting.
  • Support for copying and pasting images directly into editor.
  • Synchronized scrolling when live preview is activated.

ReText’s functionality can be extended with the use of extensions for supporting Math formula, smart table editing, document export options, etc. Check out how to enable all that and more from its wiki page.

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Old ReText files are available in Ubuntu’s repo so all you need to do is run the install command:

$ sudo apt install retext

If you want to run the latest version (as you should) then use commands below. They will work to install the latest ReText in Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint and some other distros. Before running the code below remember to remove ReText if you previously had it installed from the repositories:

$ sudo apt remove retext
$ sudo apt install python3-pip python3-pyqt5
$ python3 -m pip install retext --user
$ sed -i "s|Exec=.*|Exec=$HOME/.local/bin/retext %F|" ~/.local/share/applications/me.mitya57.ReText.desktop
$ sed -i "s|Icon=.*|Icon=$HOME/.local/share/retext/icons/retext.png|" ~/.local/share/applications/me.mitya57.ReText.desktop

The last two commands are supposed to fix the ReText desktop file and give it the correct executable and icon path.

You may need to log out and back in of your session when your installation is complete in order for ReText to show up in the menu / Dash.

Append “–upgrade” to the install command whenever you want to update ReText via pip

$ sudo python3 -m pip install retext --user --upgrade

For other Linux distros, install Python3 pip and PyQt5 and then use the instructions as above except this time you don’t need the “apt” keyword.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Jr. (Dillivine) Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Web designer & developer, technical writer, and programmer.

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