Tag Archives: text editor


Updates to Noisli

One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your focus and productivity is to adjust your working environment. We each have different preferences for things like soft or hard furniture, room temperature, and background noise. Figuring out what works best for you in your environment can help you make the most out of your work time.

I’ve written before about Noisli, an online tool that combines a highly customizable background noise generator with a distraction-free writing environment….


The Wizards of Vim

I met a Vim wizard for the first time in 1994. Two of them actually, a married couple. They really were wizards, at least in that mysterious internet gaming environment known as a MUD. That meant they had powers to build and transform the online world that the rest of us plodded through, one “north” or “south” command at a time. They had the power to bring objects into being and banish players from the realm. They told me that someday 3D graphics would allow us to wander through digital worlds w…


From the Archives: All About Text

alphabet crackersNot surprisingly, the writers at ProfHacker have thought quite a bit about the software tools they use to write.

Here’s a collection of posts from the archives that focus on the use of plain text editors and alternative word processors.

Text Editors

Lincoln describes text editors like Vim, Notepad++, and TextWrangler as Writing Power Tools that are stable, efficient, and promote good writing habits.

Jason discusses Notational Velocity, a Mac plain-text note app that is can be used for idea captu…


The Up Goer Five Text Editor

No matter how regular your writing practice, it’s possible to get stuck. When you’re stuck, sometimes what’s helpful is not motivation, but just a change in perspective. And what could offer a bigger change in perspective from the complexity of most academic writing than a text editor that restricts you to the thousand most common words in English?

As with most great things, the idea originated with an xkcd strip by Randall Munroe, “Up Goer Five” (Click for full size):

The Up-Goer Five

The idea, then, is to des…


Writing Power Tools: Text Editors

Vim screen shotOne of the recent themes on ProfHacker has been the virtues of using plain text to do your work, especially your writing. For me there is one big advantage: I write in plain text so that I can use a text editor to do my writing.

By text editor, I mean a program that is meant to edit code—the type of tool that programmers use. My text editor of choice is Vim, but there are many similar programs: BBEdit, Emacs, Notepad++, TextMate, TextWrangler, and SciTE are just a few of the …


Markdown: The Syntax You (Probably) Already Know

Writing Markdown in nvALT

There’s a simple idea about productivity and writing: almost anything you need to do, you can do in a plain text file. By a plain text file, I mean a .txt file that contains nothing but text without formatting—the kind of file that your PC probably opens in Notepad and that your Mac opens in TextEdit. (Linux users already know what I’m talking about.)

There are a lot of reasons to love plain text. We’ve mentioned some of them in earlier ProfHacker posts, such as Alex’s about JDarkRoom and Jason’…