I am a programmer by profession and am looking for good text processors to help me with my blog writing. Word (MS/OpenOffice) has felt too clunky, because of the interruptions (corrections,formatting etc....) it throws up while writing. I tried out VIM which is my workplace editor, and though it has been great in letting me think clear and write, I just haven't been able to use it for efficient formatting. I'm now looking for something that can combine both. Is there one you would recommend? I would prefer to do the formatting/rewriting from the keyboard without having to go to the mouse but am flexible about that part. I also want something that doesn't make me wait a few seconds while it's saving the text. (i.e: light and responsive) Any suggestions ?

Update: I use Linux for all my work and don't have a Windows. UPDATE 2: After trying out some of these, I'm going with VIM itself and using latex for formatting. Only problem is that's fine for latex2pdf but otherwise Wordpress supports only latex math package. I'll need to find a different blog host or try latex2html. I'll update once I'm done with that.

  • 1
    You definitely want TeX.
    – StrixVaria
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 20:47
  • I appreciate this question... Gonna do some research once I finish my programming assignment. sigh Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 22:16
  • @StrixVaria: I know about tex and plan to learn it, once i find some clear time... but editor is still a problem.. Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 6:29
  • @StrixVaria: Besides, for casual writing, like blogs, the idea of typing in the formatting tags feels queasy..perhaps i should just man up and learn latex and get used to it....Phew... Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 6:32
  • 1
    If you don't like the automatic things Word et. al. do for you, why not turn those features off?
    – kindall
    Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 20:39

4 Answers 4


Every time I've gone looking for a simple solution such as the one you're looking for, I've come across Emacs with all kinds of nifty attachments/macros that people have developed over the years.

Here is a fairly thorough rundown of some options you have for building a system that works.

Also, take a look at this question for more info/discussion of using Emacs for writing.


If you're interested in TeX but do not want to type things like \begin{} and whatever, you could take a look at LyX.

It is a What You Mean Is What You Get editor (not What You See Is What You Get), based on LaTeX and it doesn't keep you busy with appearance and formatting.

  • Hmm.. had a short trial.. interesting, looks like what i wanted.. but also looks like i have a lot of old habits i need to unlearn.. Anyways, thanks a lot... Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 3:56
  • Little more attempts and it doesn't qualify. I love the philosophy and the idea, but it forces me to use the mouse too much. Would rather learn the latex commands and use them than move my hand away from keyboard. Otherwise it's a brilliant editor. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 10:02

I've heard good things about LyX, but haven't actually used it. I don't know LaTeX either.

Whatever editor you settle on, I would recommend checking out AutoKey.


It will allow you to add many useful features to your text processor (or any other program). Its phrases feature can be used to insert words/phrases, code skeletons, HTML, and boilerplates.

Its functions can do almost anything - limited only by your knowledge of python (you mentioned you were a programmer). It communicates with your application through the keyboard interface, so your application can't tell it's not you typing. You don't have to configure anything.

It has a macro recorder function, so you can build simple functions without any coding or knowing python.

  • I really hadn't taken a look at autokey.It supports python programming.. gr8. Am a python programmer. Commented Feb 4, 2012 at 3:11

I have been using TextPad for well over a decade. It is light, responsive, and very flexible as far as using the built-in keyboard shortcuts or designing your own. I'm not sure what kind of formatting you have in mind, but TextPad can probably handle it!

  • I am looking for basic formating, like paragraph alignments, bulleting, .. will try Textpad though.. Update: Oops Textpad is not available on Linux... Commented Jan 29, 2012 at 6:33

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