Use Bluefish as your HTML editor

Jack Wallen
Oct 29, 2010
Updated • Jan 16, 2013

Do people still code HTML by hand? Of course they do. And when they do, what tools do they use? Some use a simple text editor like nano or vi. Some prefer a little more GUI-goodness like Gedit or Kate. Still, some others prefer an application dedicated to the task at hand.

For those Linux (and BSD, and Mac, and Windows) users, the tool by which most measure the standard is Bluefish. Bluefish is a GPL software that was started in 1997 to facilitate web development on the Linux platform. Although the programmers and the name has changed over time, the intent has not. Bluefish was and is a fantastic HTML editor.


  • Lightweight
  • Fast
  • WYSIWYG interface
  • Multiple document interface. Opens 500+ documents simultaneously.
  • Project support.
  • Multi-threaded support for remote files using gvfs.
  • Powerful search and replace.
  • Open files recursively.
  • Snippets sidebar.
  • Integrate external programs.
  • Integrate external filters.
  • Unlimited undo/redo functionality.
  • Program-language aware in-line spell checker.
  • Auto-recovery of changes.
  • Character map of all unicode characters.
  • Upload / download synchronisation.
  • Full screen editing.
  • Customizable programming language support.
  • Multiple encodings support.
  • Bookmarks functionality
  • HTML toolbar and tearable menu's.
  • Compliance with the Gnome and KDE.
  • Translations into ten languages.


The installation of Bluefish is simple:

Open up your Add/Remove Software tool.

Search for "bluefish" (no quotes).

Mark Bluefish for installation.

Click Apply to install.

Figure 1

You will have to enter your administrative password and accept any dependencies that might be necessary. When Bluefish has completed installation you will find the application in Applications > Programming. When the tool starts up you will notice a ton of features quickly available (see Figure 1).

Once you start working with the editor you will want to start immediately using the syntax highlighting. In order to do this you will first select the type of document you are working with (click Document > Document Type > HTML if you are working with an HTML document). Once you have selected the type of document, update the highlighting by either clicking F5 or clicking Document > Update Highlighting.

You will also notice all of the toolbars in Bluefish. There is a Main toolbar, a custom toolbar, an HTML toolbar, and a sidebar. The HTML toolbar is exactly what you would expect - it contains all of the icons for adding tags to your document. The sidebar allows you to navigate your directory hierarchy as well as check reference materials for different styles or types.

Also included with Bluefish is the ability to preview your code in a browser. As any good HTML editor, you can view your code in multiple browsers - and even add new browsers from within the Preferences window. To add a new browser clickthe Preferences icon on the main window and then select the External Programs tab. Here click the Add button near the middle of the right pane and then double click under the Name column (and enter the name of your browser) and then double click under the command column (and enter the command necessary for the new browser).

After you add a new browser it will show up in the External menu.

Final thoughts

If you prefer to do your HTML work by hand, in an HTML-specific text editor, you can not go wrong with Bluefish.


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Debianero said on October 30, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I’m in love with Quanta, unfortunately it isn’t in KDE4 yet.

  2. Chocobito said on October 29, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    Years ago I used Arachnophilia before this became a JAVA app, this look like a good and light alternative.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.