My tweaked out Atom

My text editor licentiousness is legendary. That’s for a good reason. If you make software for a living you probably spend more time with your text editor than you do with your loved ones. Getting something that fits you and fits your task is paramount. It takes a long time to get a text editor to the point where you don’t think about it anymore, so switching text editors comes with a penalty. Pay it. The cost of using the wrong tool is always higher than the cost of learning new things.

My new favorite, use-all-the-time editor is Atom, the open source editor from Github.

Yes, they borrowed pretty heavily from Sublime Text. No, I don’t care. In fact that’s kind of awesome. I have a paid license for Sublime, and all the things I liked in Sublime are in Atom, including many muscle-memory keyboard shortcuts. Atom then went whizzing by Sublime. Sublime development petered out; Atom is developing at a breakneck pace (being open source helps). My lone criticism of Atom was the speed, and since they moved to React, that problem is history.

Atom is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac. I’m using the AUR repo for Atom on my Majaro rig. Windows can install it via Chocolately, the only decent package manager on that shitty platform (no judgement).

And now onto my settings. You can install the extensions and themes directly from your File->Preferences dashboard by searching for them.


I’m using the Input Sans font from The Font Bureau. I know, you should never use non-monospaced fonts for coding, blah blah blah. Read the info page on their site. You can totally do this, and it looks awesome.


I’m using the Seti UI Theme and Seti Syntax. It’s a gorgeous dark theme without looking too much like Darth Vader’s bathroom.


There are tons of plugins available. An editor is really a solid base from which to extent, and there are lots of ways to extend Atom. Search for a package to do something in Atom and you will likely find several.

  • Atom Prettify - because ugly HTML is ugly.
  • Color Picker - because I need help with colors.
  • CSS Color Highlighting - so you don’t have to wonder what #bada55 looks like.
  • Emmet - because typing sucks.
  • Linter - this lets you use various linters for your code in real-time. Each linter is an additional install. Such as -
  • Linter Jshint - lints your JavaScript. Because stupid.
  • Minimap - this is like the Sublime right-hand mini map. It makes navigating your document a lot faster.
  • Stylus - in case you get some Stylus (LESS and SASS highlighting are built in).

Keyboard shortcuts you gotta know

There are lots of keyboard shortcuts you can and should learn for Atom, but the biggies:

  • ctrl-p - open any file in your project by typing
  • ctrl-shift-p - pretty much do anything, from changing file syntax to running your extensions
  • ctrl-\ - close or open the file tree
  • ctrl-f - find and replace text. Also duh.