Split pane text editor for a Mac?
March 2, 2009 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a Mac text editor that can do a horizontal split pane (i.e. two panes showing the same document, side by side)

I don't need much from my text editor — I'm just reading guitar tabs on a widescreen monitor, which can mean about six inches of text in on the left side of the screen, a tremendous scroll length, and the other foot of horizontal screen space doing nothing but projecting the hell out of some white pixels. This is not ideal — I'd prefer less scrolling and more real estate used.

Because this is such a small problem, I'm only really interested if I can find some free-as-in-beer software to do this. But if nothing is out there but paid apps, well, I've been talked into sillier purchases...
posted by electric_counterpoint to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Vim can do it, but not worth learning it for this feature.

Therefore, use jEdit
posted by tmcw at 7:36 AM on March 2, 2009

Komodo Edit does this just fine. In the window menu, choose split view, and then double click the split divider to switch between vertical and horizontal splits.

It's a great open source editor and works just as well on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
posted by advicepig at 7:49 AM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: macvim or just vim through terminal.app will do this very well (not much learning required!).

Vim calls these kind of split screen things "viewports". Google will help with the rest.

:vsp will make a new vertical split and you can use theres a cool little app (called ultimate maximiser or something like that) which will make any cocoa app (e.g. macvim or terminal.app) *properly* full screen (i.e. no menubar) so there's no wasted screen space and no white pixels getting the hell projected out of them...

hope that's helpful!

posted by tkbarbarian at 8:09 AM on March 2, 2009

Response by poster: @tmcw: Looks good! jEdit does what I need, although it seems a bit pokey...

@advicepig: I can't seem to get Komodo to do more than one split (it opens new ones in tabs in the two existing splits). Do you know whether I can get an actual third and fourth split?
posted by electric_counterpoint at 8:14 AM on March 2, 2009

I came in here to mention Komodo as well, but I'm not finding a way to get multiple splits like you're describing...
posted by kingbenny at 8:23 AM on March 2, 2009

Emacs permits multiple split panes. (Ctrl-x 2 splits horizontally; Ctrl-x 3 splits vertically.) According to EmacsWiki Mac OS X comes at least with a terminal-only version of Emacs; of course you can always download and install other versions for Mac OS.
posted by yz at 8:23 AM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: If you like Emacs, you might want to try Aquamacs. It can split in both directions. It's a more native/mac-like than the original GNU emacs, but I think all the keyboard shortcuts and features are the same, so you can use yz's directions as well.
posted by bluefly at 8:30 AM on March 2, 2009

Ooops, I missed that you needed more than two. No idea if that would work in Komodo.
posted by advicepig at 10:27 AM on March 2, 2009

BBEdit (as of version 9) lets you have the same document open in multiple windows, allowing you to arrange them in whatever way works best for you.

I don't believe this feature has yet trickled down to its freeware sibling, TextWrangler, however.
posted by SomePerlGeek at 11:09 AM on March 2, 2009

If you're just reading, not editing, you could just open multiple browser windows and place them anyway you like, all looking at one file or different files.
posted by chairface at 11:58 AM on March 2, 2009

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