Question-and-Answer Resource for the Building Energy Modeling Community
Get started with the Help page
Ask Your Question

What are some good programs/applications to use as a text editor for EnergyPlus models?

asked 2014-09-02 12:52:51 -0500

If you want to modify an EnergyPlus .idf file using a text editor, are there specific text editing programs/applications that users like? Along with the text editor, do users use syntax highlighting to allow for easier editing and visualization?

edit retag flag offensive close merge delete


Which operating system are you using? Many text editors only work on a single platform.

Neal Kruis's avatar Neal Kruis  ( 2014-09-03 14:37:24 -0500 )edit

That's a good point. I use Windows the majority of the time and have used mainly TextPad along with Notepad++ previously but I am curious in what other people use. I am interested in doing some text editing on the Mac side as well which is what I am most curious about.

Matt Larson's avatar Matt Larson  ( 2014-09-03 14:47:36 -0500 )edit

4 Answers

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted

answered 2014-09-03 13:47:47 -0500

updated 2015-02-18 02:59:26 -0500

Any text editor would do, but text editors have more or less functionality that can help.

There's a variety of text editors that are suited for this job: Notepad++, Sublime Text, UltraEdit, Vim, Emacs, Textpad...

I personally use Notepad++ for my edits. I didn't think twice about it because I've been using it for years for programming.

For syntax highlighting, see the E+ Support Knowledge base. It is imperfect but handles about 85% of it correctly.

I also recommend the Notepad++ plugin "Compare" that highlight the differences between two files, it's really useful (though I use git for that as well).

Note that on the E+ support knowledge base, there are also syntax highlighting scripts for Ultraedit and Textpad, but I can't say how they perform.

If you're an avid Unix user and are familiar with Vim, there's a syntax highlighting script here.

edit flag offensive delete link more



Thanks for the syntax highlighting link. I was just thinking about that today. And Notepad++ gets my vote too, even without the highlighting.

Jamie Bull's avatar Jamie Bull  ( 2014-09-03 14:06:33 -0500 )edit

If you want to fully highlight a class name that has a ":" in the name, such as "AirLoopHVAC:OutdoorAirSystem" (right now it will only highly AirLoopHVAC), go to the language settings, Operators and Delimiters, and in Operators 1 delete ":" from the list.

Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2014-09-04 03:30:28 -0500 )edit

Notepad++ for sure. The Compare plug-in is really helpful for quickly comparing .idfs. Ahh, I see that is also noted above.

Jeff Landreth's avatar Jeff Landreth  ( 2014-09-10 22:17:52 -0500 )edit

On mac I use text wrangler. It has a nice search feature which allows you to find and replace entire blocks of text.

Hayes Zirnhelt's avatar Hayes Zirnhelt  ( 2014-09-12 12:33:11 -0500 )edit

@Hayes Zirnhelt I use TextWrangler when I'm on mac too, it's the closest I've found to notepad++. By the way, the simple multi-line search and replace exists in notepad++. See the ToolBucket addin. (I tend to just do a regex using \r\n)

Julien Marrec's avatar Julien Marrec  ( 2014-09-13 10:03:55 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-10-29 09:56:02 -0500

I typically use Sublime Text along with a custom syntax highlighter, although recently I have been using Atom from GitHub.

The advantage of both of these text editors is that they are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. This allows for consistent development environments across different operating systems.

They both also have 3rd party package systems so you can install added functionality, such as file diffing and more.

edit flag offensive delete link more


Would you be willing to share your custom syntax highlighter. We are working with a similar sublime text plus custom system and it would be great to compare notes.

gmaia's avatar gmaia  ( 2014-11-11 12:30:21 -0500 )edit

@gmaia, I am making sure my work does not have any issue with open sourcing my syntax highlighter and once that is complete I will post a GitHub link.

MarkAdams's avatar MarkAdams  ( 2014-11-18 09:51:00 -0500 )edit

Mark; any updates on the Sublime syntax highlighter? I'm planning on starting to work on this but I hate to duplicate the effort. Thx.

eayoungs's avatar eayoungs  ( 2015-04-17 17:15:55 -0500 )edit

I've started a public repo with my first attempt here: -See the EnergyPlus.YAML-tmLanguage file. Follow the commented out link for the tutorial page I've started with. The file needs to be converted to .tmLanguage to be used in Sublime using an installed package.

eayoungs's avatar eayoungs  ( 2015-04-19 18:17:09 -0500 )edit

@eayoungs You have brought idf editing to my favorite text editors! Thank you very much!

JustinShultz's avatar JustinShultz  ( 2016-08-11 10:12:55 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-10-28 15:08:02 -0500

Emacs is the king of all text editors!

edit flag offensive delete link more



OK. I'll give you my vote for being close. But Emacs probably falls more under the category of operating system. Long live Vim! And I see there is actually a syntax file for vim. Can you match that?

Kyle Benne's avatar Kyle Benne  ( 2014-10-28 20:31:29 -0500 )edit

@Kyle Benne. Is that a dare?

__AmirRoth__'s avatar __AmirRoth__  ( 2014-10-28 20:54:30 -0500 )edit

What @Mark Adams says, below.

rpg777's avatar rpg777  ( 2014-10-29 10:28:52 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-10-28 13:49:54 -0500

For comparison of two files, if you weren't already using Notepad++ for editing, I like "Compare-It!" - you can add a list of keywords to highlight, and it will identify different types of modeling input file extensions if you add a description.

Actually I need to check out the latest version, there may be new features since I last checked.

edit flag offensive delete link more



For comparing two text files, like IDF files, I use WinMerge:

It is open source. One really nice feature is being able to just select two files in a folder and right click and select WinMerge and have them compared. You can also compare files in a directory.

Maybe this deserves a "question" of its own.

JasonGlazer's avatar JasonGlazer  ( 2014-10-29 11:21:08 -0500 )edit

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account.

Add Answer

Training Workshops


Question Tools



Asked: 2014-09-02 12:52:51 -0500

Seen: 44,985 times

Last updated: Feb 18 '15