Why I love Sublime Text

For a long time now, my editor of choice has been Sublime Text 2. However, it’s best features are not obvious out of the box, and some need installing as packages.

If you’re using Sublime Text then you shouldn’t miss out all all this goodness. You might find your own favorites, but these are my suggestions:

Keyboard Shortcuts

First, some built-in keyboard short-cuts. You can get much bigger lists elsewhere or just by browsing menus in the app, but these are my favorites:

⌘ + D

The ⌘ + D key combination first selects the current word at the cursor and then sequentially multi-selects subsequent occurences of that word. This is really useful for editing the same text in multiple places without having to do a search-and-replace of the whole document.

But I use this even more frequently to jump through a document to find the same text elsewhere, such as a method call.

⌘ + L

Simply use ⌘ + L to select a whole line, usually to copy or delete it. Often I remove a bunch of console.log or print lines by selecting them with ⌘ + D and ⌘ + L and then Delete.

⌘ + /

This is for commenting-out the selected lines. The same ⌘ + / works on many different file types E.g. Python JavaScript, HTML, CSS adding the correct comment syntax to each. Very handy.

⌘ + [ or ]

This will indent selected text to the left or right by a ‘Tab’ E.g. 4 spaces.

⌘ + F

Quickly “Find” words in your current document. Or use Shift + ⌘ + F to perform a “Global Find” of all files in your Project.

⌘ + P

You can use ⌘ + P to launch the quick-search prompt for finding files in your Project. I used to spend a lot of time browsing the file hierarchy but now I always just search and jump straight to the file.

Shift + ⌘ + P

The Shift + ⌘ + P key combination launches the command prompt. You can use a ‘fuzzy search’ here to find and run any menu item. We’ll be using this in a bunch of places below.

Package Control

All the packages are installed via Package Control, but even this doesn’t come built-in. Follow these install instructions to get started with Package Control.

After a restart, you can use Shift + ⌘ + P to launch the menu shortcut dialog and type ‘Install’. Select “Package Control: Install Package” and wait a moment for the list of available packages to load. Then you can filter and select to install…


The git package has a bunch of commands, but the one I use most is ‘Git Diff Current’ which will show the diff of the file you’re editing. Quickly launch the command prompt with Shift + ⌘ + P then with fuzzy search 'g d c' is enough to find it:

Git Gutter

This is one of the packages that I couldn’t live without. Git Gutter shows your code modifications in the gutter as you’re editing. It’s really useful to see which parts of a file you’re currently working on, and for removing unwanted changes before committing. You can see Git Gutter in all the animations above.

Sublime Linter

Sublime Linter will give you warnings of syntax errors when you save (or when editing) instead of during run-time. It works for multiple languages out of the box, including JavaScript and Python.


That may seem like a lot to remember, but you don’t have to learn them all at once! Just pick the ones you find most useful to start with and go from there.

Happy editing!

Written on August 24, 2016