Column Mode Plugin for Gedit

This plugin is not maintained any more. You can use the Multi Edit plugin instead, it works much better :) . It is part of gedit-plugins and some documentation can be found here.

This plugin implements a simple column mode for gedit that allows the user to edit text in multiple rows simultaneously.


  • Enable the column mode via the Edit-menu or with Alt+C
  • Select rows in one column with Shift+Up or Shift+Down, the cursor will expand.
  • Type or delete text

Not implemented

  • Block selection/editing with keyboard or mouse


Copy unpacked files to ~/usr/lib/gedit-2/plugins (OLD: ~/.gnome2/gedit/plugins), including patch, then apply patch: # patch <2_1.diff


Please add your comments on the plugin here.

11 Oct 2007
Would love to have this feature. I installed and enabled the plugin, but I just get the normal keyboard function. Should I be getting anything right now? Please let me know when future versions are released and I'll be happy to test! (scottc at movingtofreedom dot org) Thanks!
25 Nov 2007
Would love to have this feature too. Please go on and develop it further. Thanks! Best Greetings and regards from berlin/ Germany! Bart.
26 Nov 2007
The plugin is useful as is, but perhaps it does not what is expected. Once in "column-mode" (Alt-C), you can hold SHIFT and move the cursor, but only in vertical. It does not allow to select a rectangular section, but only a "vertical insertion point". Then, all you type is added to several lines at once, at the selected point.

There is however an issue with non-english keyboard. For example, in spanish keyboards, if you want to type the character "#" or "|", you have to hold the AltGr key (MOD5). This exits the multi-line mode. I successfully patched the source to avoid this problem. The patch is:

<         if (event.state != 0 and event.state != gtk.gdk.SHIFT_MASK):
>         if (event.state != 0 and event.state != gtk.gdk.SHIFT_MASK
>             and event.state != gtk.gdk.MOD2_MASK
>             and event.state != gtk.gdk.MOD3_MASK
>             and event.state != gtk.gdk.MOD4_MASK
>             and event.state != gtk.gdk.MOD5_MASK):
  • --JLD
08 Dec 2007

Sorry for my late reply and thanks for all your interest. I did not expect that some people actually use the plugin because it is unfinished and very buggy. I don't think that I will implement 'real' column mode with block selection in the near future because of lack of time and right now I don't have a good idea how to do it (maybe somebody else has?). Anyway, thanks for the patch, I will test it and release a new version. StefanSchweizer

28 Aug 2008
This plugin does not work with gedit 2.22.3. I was using it often, column mode lack is bad for me in linux.
26 Nov 2008

It does indeed not work. As a workaround the newly opensourced crimsoneditor -> emerald-editor works great under Wine.

08 Jan 2009

I made a patch that solve some (not all) problems:

  • Ignore the Num key (MOD2)
  • All characters insertable (e.g. german umlauts äöü)
  • Undo/Redo works better
  • Scroll to cursor when expanding insert mark

The code is available here or

  • bzr branch lp:~barcc/+junk/gedit-columnmode-bits
29 Aug 2010
I've noticed two bugs with the plug-in:
  • If selecting text that extends beyond the current vertical limit of the screen, the screen does not scroll.
  • It is not possible to deselect a selected line - i.e. once you have selected some lines with Shift+Down you cannot deselect the last one with Shift+Up.
12 Feb 2011
This is the only column-type plugin under development for Gedit, and it needs work. Help! Anyone?!
  • By downloading the latest and applying the patch in Gedit 2.3. (Ubuntu 10.10), it does create a vertical line where anything typed is repeated on all lines. Thanks to those who have made it work.
  • But this is marginally useful for most! Block selection alone -- even with just the ability to delete what is selected -- is needed more. Best would be to combine both features, even if block selection worked only in no-wrap mode.
  • Anyone who wants to try, please step up!
14 Feb 2011

Sorry for not updating this page earlier. I do not develop this plugin any more because there is a much better plugin available. StefanSchweizer

Apps/Gedit/Plugins/ColumnMode (last edited 2013-08-08 17:01:51 by WilliamJonMcCann)