A fast, light, GTK+ IDE

Authors: Enrico Tröger
Nick Treleaven
Frank Lanitz
Date: 2010-02-14
Version: 0.18.1

Copyright © 2005-2010

This document is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. A copy of this license can be found in the file COPYING included with the source code of this program, and also in the chapter GNU General Public License.



About Geany

Geany is a small and lightweight Integrated Development Environment. It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies from other packages. Another goal was to be as independent as possible from a special Desktop Environment like KDE or GNOME - Geany only requires the GTK2 runtime libraries.

Some basic features of Geany:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code folding
  • Autocompletion of symbols/words
  • Construct completion/snippets
  • Auto-closing of XML and HTML tags
  • Calltips
  • Many supported filetypes including C, Java, PHP, HTML, Python, Perl, Pascal, and others
  • Symbol lists
  • Code navigation
  • Build system to compile and execute your code
  • Simple project management
  • Plugin interface

Where to get it

You can obtain Geany from or perhaps also from your distributor. For a list of available packages, please see


Geany is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. A copy of this license can be found in the file COPYING included with the source code of this program and in the chapter, GNU General Public License.

The included Scintilla library (found in the subdirectory scintilla/) has its own license, which can be found in the chapter, License for Scintilla and SciTE.

About this document

This documentation is available in HTML and text formats. The latest version can always be found at

If you want to contribute to it, see Contributing to this document.



You will need the GTK (>= 2.8.0) libraries and their dependencies (Pango, GLib and ATK). Your distro should provide packages for these, usually installed by default. For Windows, you can download an installer which bundles these libraries from the website.

Binary packages

There are many binary packages available. For an up-to-date but maybe incomplete list see

Source compilation

Compiling Geany is quite easy. To do so, you need the GTK (>= 2.8.0) libraries and header files. You also need the Pango, GLib and ATK libraries and header files. All these files are available at, but very often your distro will provide development packages to save the trouble of building these yourself.

Furthermore you need, of course, a C and C++ compiler. The GNU versions of these tools are recommended.

Autotools based build system

The Autotools based build system is very mature and has been well tested. To use it, you just need the Make tool, preferably GNU Make.

Then run the following commands:

$ ./configure
$ make

Then as root:

% make install

Waf based build system

The Waf build system is still quite young and under heavy development but already in an usable state. In contrary to the Autotools, Waf needs Python. So before using Waf, you need to install Python on your system. The advantage of the Waf build system over the Autotools based build system is that the whole build process might be a bit faster. Especially when you use the Waf cache feature repetitive builds (e.g. when changing only a few source files to test something) will become much faster since Waf will cache and re-use the unchanged built files and only compile the changed code again. See Waf Cache for details. To build Geany with Waf as usual run:

$ ./waf configure
$ ./waf build

Then as root:

% ./waf install

Waf Cache

The Waf build system has a nice and interesting feature which can help a lot to avoid unnecessary rebuilding of unchanged code. This often happens when developing new features or trying to debug something. Waf is able to store and retrieve the object files from a cache. This cache is declared using the environment variable WAFCACHE. A possible location of the cache directory could be ~/.cache/waf. In order to make use of this, you first need to create this directory:

$ mkdir -p ~/.cache/waf

then add the environment variable to your shell configuration (the following example is for Bash and should be adjusted to your used shell):

export WAFCACHE=/home/username/.cache/waf

Remember to replace username with your actual username.

More information about the Waf cache feature are available at

Cleaning the Cache

You should take care about the size of the cache directory as it may grow rapidly by time. Waf doesn't do any cleaning or other house-keeping of the cache yet so you need to keep it clean by yourself. An easy way to keep it clean is to run the following command regularly to remove old cached files:

$ find /home/username/.cache/waf -mtime +14 -exec rm {} \;

This will delete all files in the cache directory which are older than 14 days.

For details about the find command and its options, check its manual page.

Custom installation

The configure script supports several common options, for a detailed list, type:

$ ./configure --help
$ ./waf --help

(depending on which build system you use).

You may also want to read the INSTALL file for advanced installation options.

Dynamic linking loader support

In the case that your system lacks dynamic linking loader support, you probably want to pass the option --disable-vte to the configure script. This prevents compiling Geany with dynamic linking loader support to automatically load if available.

Build problems

If there are any errors during compilation, check your build environment and try to find the error, otherwise contact the mailing list or one the authors. Sometimes you might need to ask for specific help from your distro.

Installation prefix

If you want to edit any of Geany's system configuration files after installation you will need to know the installation prefix. Usually this is not necessary as you can just use user configuration files.

Use the --print-prefix option to check - see Command line options. The first path is the prefix.

This is commonly /usr if you installed from a binary package, or /usr/local if you build from source.


Getting started

You can start Geany in the following ways:

  • From the Desktop Environment menu:

    Choose in your application menu of your used Desktop Environment: Development --> Geany.

  • From the command line:

    To start Geany from a command line, type the following and press Return:

    % geany

Command line options

Short option Long option Function
none +number Set initial line number for the first opened file (same as --line, do not put a space between the + sign and the number). E.g. "geany +7" will open the file and place the cursor in line 7.
none --column Set initial column number for the first opened file.
-c dir_name --config=directory_name Use an alternate configuration directory. Default configuration directory is ~/.config/geany/ and there resides geany.conf and other configuration files.
none --ft-names Print a list of Geany's internal filetype names (useful for snippets configuration).
-g --generate-tags Generate a global tags file (see Generating a global tags file).
-P --no-preprocessing Don't preprocess C/C++ files when generating tags.
-i --new-instance Do not open files in a running instance, force opening a new instance. Only available if Geany was compiled with support for Sockets.
-l --line Set initial line number for the first opened file.
-m --no-msgwin Do not show the message window. Use this option if you do not need compiler messages or VTE support.
-n --no-ctags Do not load symbol completion and call tip data. Use this option if you do not want to use them.
-p --no-plugins Do not load plugins or plugin support.
none --print-prefix Print installation prefix, the data directory, the lib directory and the locale directory (in this order) to stdout, each per line. This is mainly intended for plugin authors to detect installation paths.
-s --no-session Do not load the previous session's files.
-t --no-terminal Do not load terminal support. Use this option if you do not want to load the virtual terminal emulator widget at startup. If you do not have installed, then terminal-support is automatically disabled. Only available if Geany was compiled with support for VTE.
none --vte-lib Specify explicitly the path including filename or only the filename to the VTE library, e.g. /usr/lib/ or This option is only needed when the auto-detection does not work. Only available if Geany was compiled with support for VTE.
-v --verbose Be verbose (print useful status messages).
-V --version Show version information and exit.
-? --help Show help information and exit.
none [files ...]

Open all given files at startup. This option causes Geany to ignore loading stored files from the last session (if enabled). Geany also recognizes line and column information when appended to the filename with colons, e.g. "geany" will open the file and place the cursor in line 10 at column 5.

Projects can also be opened but a project file (*.geany) must be the first non-option argument. All additionally given files are ignored.

You can also pass line number and column number information, e.g.:


Geany supports all generic GTK options, a list is available on the help screen.



At startup, Geany loads all files from the last time Geany was launched. You can disable this feature in the preferences dialog (see General Startup preferences). If you specify some files on the command line, only these files will be opened, but you can find the files from the last session in the file menu under the "Recent files" item. By default this contains the last 10 recently opened files. You can change the amount of recently opened files in the preferences dialog.

You can start several instances of Geany, but only the first will load files from the last session. To run a second instance of Geany, do not specify any filenames on the command-line, or disable opening files in a running instance using the appropriate command line option.

Opening files from the command-line in a running instance

Geany detects an already running instance of itself and opens files from the command-line in the already running instance. So, Geany can be used to view and edit files by opening them from other programs such as a file manager.

You can also pass line number and column number information, e.g.:


This would open the file with the cursor on line 55, column 4.

If you do not like this for some reason, you can disable using the first instance by using the appropriate command line option -- see the section called Command line options.

Virtual terminal emulator widget (VTE)

If you have installed in your system, it is loaded automatically by Geany, and you will have a terminal widget in the notebook at the bottom.

If Geany cannot find any at startup, the terminal widget will not be loaded. So there is no need to install the package containing this file in order to run Geany. Additionally, you can disable the use of the terminal widget by command line option, for more information see the section called Command line options.

You can use this terminal (from now on called VTE) nearly as an usual terminal program like xterm. There is basic clipboard support. You can paste the contents of the clipboard by pressing the right mouse button to open the popup menu and choosing Paste. To copy text from the VTE, just select the desired text and then press the right mouse button and choose Copy from the popup menu. On systems running the X Window System you can paste the last selected text by pressing the middle mouse button in the VTE (on 2-button mice, the middle button can often be simulated by pressing both mouse buttons together).

In the preferences dialog you can specify a shell which should be started in the VTE. To make the specified shell a login shell just use the appropriate command line options for the shell. These options should be found in the manual page of the shell. For zsh and bash you can use the argument --login.


Geany tries to load If this fails, it tries to load some other filenames. If this fails too, you should check whether you installed libvte correctly. Again, Geany also runs without this library.

It could be, that the library is called something else than (e.g. on FreeBSD 6.0 it is called So please set a link to the correct file (as root):

# ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

Obviously, you have to adjust the paths and set X to the number of your

You can also specify the filename of the VTE library to use on the command line (see the section called Command line options) or at compile time by specifying the command line option --with-vte-module-path to ./configure.

Defining own widget styles using .gtkrc-2.0

You can define your widget style for many of Geany's GUI parts. To do this, just edit your .gtkrc-2.0 (usually found in your home directory on UNIX-like systems and in the etc subdirectory of your Geany installation on Windows).

To get a defined style get noticed by Geany you must it assign to one of Geany's widgets. To do so, use the following line:

widget "Geany*" style "geanyStyle"

This would assign your already defined style "geany_style" to all Geany widgets. You can also assign styles only to specific widgets. At the moment you can use the following widgets:

  • GeanyMainWindow
  • GeanyEditMenu
  • GeanyToolbarMenu
  • GeanyDialog
  • GeanyDialogPrefs
  • GeanyDialogProject
  • GeanyDialogSearch
  • GeanyMenubar
  • GeanyToolbar

Example of a simple .gtkrc-2.0:

style "geanyStyle"
    font_name="Sans 12"
widget "GeanyMainWindow" style "geanyStyle"

style "geanyStyle"
    font_name="Sans 10"
widget "GeanyPrefsDialog" style "geanyStyle"


Switching between documents

The documents list and the editor tabs are two different ways to switch between documents using the mouse. When you hit the key combination to move between tabs, the order is determined by the tab order, not alphabetical as shown in the documents list (regardless of whether or not editor tabs are visible).

See the Notebook tabs group in the Keybindings section for useful shortcuts including for Most-Recently-Used document switching.

Character sets and Unicode Byte-Order-Mark (BOM)

Using character sets

Geany provides support for detecting and converting character sets. So you can open and save files in different character sets and even can convert a file from a character set to another one. To do this, Geany uses the character conversion capabilities of the GLib.

Only text files are supported, i.e. opening files which contain NULL-bytes may fail. Geany will try to open the file anyway but it is likely that the file will be truncated because it can only opened up to the first occurrence of a NULL-byte. All characters after this position are lost and are not written when you save the file.

Geany tries to detect the encoding of a file while opening it. It might be that the encoding of a file cannot be detected correctly so you have to set manually the encoding of the file in order to display it correctly. You can this in the file open dialog by selecting an encoding in the drop down box or by reloading the file with the file menu item "Reload as". The auto-detection works well for most encodings but there are also some encodings known where auto-detection has its problems. Auto-detecting the encoding of a file is not easy and sometimes an encoding might be detected not correctly.

There are different ways to use different encodings in Geany:

  • Using the file open dialog

    This opens the file with the encoding specified in the encoding drop down box. If the encoding is set to "Detect from file" auto-detection will be used. If the encoding is set to "Without encoding (None)" the file will be opened without any character conversion and Geany will not try to auto-detect the encoding (see below for more information).

  • Using the "Reload as" menu item

    This item reloads the current file with the specified encoding. It can help if you opened a file and found out that a wrong encoding was used.

  • Using the "Set encoding" menu item

    In contrary to the above two options, this will not change or reload the current file unless you save it. It is useful when you want to change the encoding of the file.

  • Specifying the encoding in the file itself

    As mentioned above, auto-detecting the encoding of a file may fail on some encodings. If you know that Geany doesn't open a certain file, you can add a special line to the beginning of the file to force an encoding when opening the file (for details see below).

In-file encoding specification

Geany detects meta tags of HTML files which contain charset information like:

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-15" />

and the found charset is used when opening the file. This is useful if the encoding of the file cannot be detected properly. For non-HTML files you can also define a line like:

/* geany_encoding=ISO-8859-15 */


# geany_encoding=ISO-8859-15 #

to force an encoding to be used. The used #, /* and */ are only examples for filetype-specific comment characters. It doesn't matter which characters are around the string " geany_encoding=ISO-8859-15 " as long as there is at least one whitespace character before and after this string. Whitespace characters are in this case a space or tab character. An example to use this could be you have a file with ISO-8859-15 encoding but Geany constantly detects the file encoding as ISO-8859-1. Then you simply add such a line to the file and Geany will open it correctly the next time.

Since Geany 0.15 you can also use lines like:

# encoding = ISO-8859-15


# coding: ISO-8859-15

The used regular expression to find the encoding string is: coding[\t ]*[:=][\t ]*([a-z0-9-]+)[\t ]*


These specifications must be in the first 512 bytes of the file. Anything after the first 512 bytes will not be recognized.

Special encoding "None"

There is a special encoding "None" which is actually no real encoding. It is useful when you know that Geany cannot auto-detect the encoding of a file and it is not displayed correctly. Especially when the file contains NULL-bytes this can be useful to skip auto detection and open the file properly at least until the occurrence of the first NULL-byte. Using this encoding opens the file as it is without any character conversion.

Unicode Byte-Order-Mark (BOM)

Furthermore, Geany detects an Unicode Byte Order Mark (see for details). Of course, this feature is only available if the opened file is in an Unicode encoding. The Byte Order Mark helps to detect the encoding of a file, e.g. whether it is UTF-16LE or UTF-16BE and so on. On Unix-like systems using a Byte Order Mark could cause some problems, e.g. the gcc stops with stray errors, PHP does not parse a script containing a BOM and script files starting with a she-bang maybe cannot be started. In the status bar you can easily see whether the file starts with a BOM or not. If you want to set a BOM for a file or if you want to remove it from a file, just use the document menu and toggle the checkbox.


If you are unsure what a BOM is or if you do not understand where to use it, then it is probably not important for you and you can safely ignore it.



Geany provides basic code folding support. Folding means the ability to show and hide parts of the text in the current file. You can hide unimportant code sections and concentrate on the parts you are working on and later you can show these sections again. In the editor window there is a small grey margin on the left side with some [+] and [-] symbols. By clicking on these icons you can simply show and hide sections which are marked by vertical lines within this margin. For many filetypes nested folding is supported, so there may be several fold points within other fold points.

If you don't like it or don't need it at all, you can simply disable folding support completely in the preferences dialog.

The folding behaviour can be changed with the "Fold/Unfold all children of a fold point" option in the preference dialog. If activated, Geany will unfold all nested fold points below the current one if they are already folded (when clicking on a [+] symbol). When clicking on a [-] symbol, Geany will fold all nested fold points below the current one if they are unfolded.

The usage of this option can be instantly inverted by pressing the Shift key while clicking on a fold symbol. That means, if the "Fold/Unfold all children of a fold point" option is enabled, pressing Shift will disable it for this click and vice versa.

Column mode editing (rectangular selections)

There is basic support for column mode editing. To use it, create a rectangular selection by holding down the Control and Shift keys (or Control and Alt if it doesn't work) while selecting some text. It is also possible to create a zero-column selection but be careful because there is no visual indication of this selection. Once a rectangular selection exists you can start editing the text within this selection and the modifications will be done for every line in the selection.

Drag and drop of text

If you drag selected text in the editor widget of Geany the text is moved to the position where the mouse pointer is when releasing the mouse button. Holding Control when releasing the mouse button will copy the text instead. This behaviour was changed in Geany 0.11 - before the selected text was copied to the new position.


Geany allows each document to indent either with a tab character or multiple spaces. The default indent mode is set in the Editor Features preferences (see the link for more information). But this can be overridden using either the Document->Indent Type menu, or by using the Detect from file indentation preference. When enabled, this scans each file that is opened and sets the indent mode based on how many lines start with a tab vs. 2 or more spaces.

The indent mode for the current document is shown on the status bar as follows:

Indent with Tab characters.
Indent with spaces.
Indent with tabs and spaces, depending on how much indentation is on a line.


When enabled, auto-indentation happens when pressing Enter in the Editor. It adds a certain amount of indentation to the new line so the user doesn't always have to indent each line manually.

Geany knows four types of auto-indentation:

Disables auto-indentation completely.
Adds the same amount of whitespace on a new line as on the last line.
Current chars
Does the same as Basic but also indents a new line after an opening brace '{', and de-indents when typing a closing brace '}'. For Python, a new line will be indented after typing ':' at the end of the previous line.
Match braces
Similar to Current chars but the closing brace will be aligned to match the indentation of the line with the opening brace.


Geany provides a handy bookmarking feature that lets you mark one or more lines in a document, and return the cursor to them using a key combination.

To place a mark on a line, either left-mouse-click in the left margin of the editor window, or else use Ctrl-m. Either way, this will produce a small green plus symbol in the margin. You can have as many marks in a document as you like. Click again (or use Ctrl-m again) to remove the bookmark. To remove all the marks in a given document, use "Remove Markers" in the Document menu.

To navigate down your document, jumping from one mark to the next, use Ctrl-. (control period). To go in the opposite direction on the page, use Ctrl-, (control comma). Using the bookmarking feature together with the commands to switch from one editor tab to another (Ctrl-PgUp/PgDn and Ctrl-Tab) provides a particularly fast way to navigate around multiple files.

Code navigation history

To ease navigation in source files and especially between different files, Geany lets you jump between different navigation points. Currently, this works for the following:

When using one of these actions, Geany remembers your current position and jumps to the new one. If you decide to go back to your previous position in the file, just use "Navigate back a location". To get back to the new position again, just use "Navigate forward a location". This makes it easier to navigate in e.g. foreign code and between different files.

Send text through definable commands

You can define several custom commands in Geany and send the current selection to one of these commands. The output of the command will be used to replace the current selection. So, it is possible to use text formatting tools with Geany in a general way. The selected text will be sent to the standard input of the executed command, so the command should be able to read from it and it should print all results to its standard output which will be read by Geany. To help finding errors in executing the command, the output of the program's standard error will be printed on Geany's standard output.

To add a custom command, just go to the Set Custom Commands dialog in the Format sub menu of the Edit and Popup menu. Then click on Add to get a new text entry and type the command. You can also specify some command line options. To delete a command, just clear the text entry and press OK. It will be deleted automatically.

Context actions

You can execute a specified command on the current word near the cursor position or an available selection and this word is passed as an argument to this command. It can be used for example to open some API documentation in a browser window or open any other external program. To do this, there is an menu entry in the popup menu of the editor widget and also a keyboard shortcut(see the section called Keybindings).

The command can be specified in the preferences dialog and additionally for each filetype (see "context_action_cmd" in the section called Format). At executing, the filetype specific command is used if available otherwise the command specified in the preferences dialog is executed.

The passed word can be referred with the wildcard "%s" everywhere in the command, before executing it will be replaced by the current word. For example, the command to open the PHP API documentation would be:

firefox ""

when executing the command, the %s is substituted by the word near the cursor position or by the current selection. If the cursor is at the word "echo", a browser window will open(assumed your browser is called firefox) and it will open the address:


Geany can offer a list of possible completions for symbols defined in the tags and for all words in a document.

The autocompletion list for symbols is presented when the first few characters of the symbol are typed (configurable, see Editor Completions preferences, default 4) or when the Complete word keybinding is pressed (configurable, see Configurable keybindings, default Ctrl-Space).

When the defined keybinding is typed and the Autocomplete all words in document preference (in Editor Completions preferences) is selected then the autocompletion list will show all matching words in the document, if there are no matching symbols.

If you don't want to use autocompletion it can be dismissed until the next symbol by pressing Escape. The autocompletion list is updated as more characters are typed so that it only shows completions that start with the characters typed so far. If no symbols begin with the sequence, the autocompletion window is closed.

The up and down arrows will move the selected item. The highlighted item on the autocompletion list can be chosen from the list by Tab or Enter/Return. You can also double-click to select an item. The sequence will be completed to match the chosen item, and if the Drop rest of word on completion preference is set (in Editor Completions preferences) then any characters after the cursor that match a symbol or word are deleted.

Scope autocompletion


    int i;
    char c;
} foo;

When you type foo. it will show an autocompletion list with 'i' and 'c' symbols.

It only works for languages that set parent scope names for e.g. struct members. Currently this means C-like languages. The C tag parser only parses global scopes, so this won't work for structs or objects declared in local scope.

User-definable snippets

Snippets are small strings or code constructs which can be replaced or completed to a more complex string. So you can save a lot of time by not typing often used strings and letting Geany do the work for you. To know what to complete or replace Geany reads a configuration file called snippets.conf at startup.

The system-wide configuration file can be found in $prefix/share/geany, where $prefix is the path where Geany is installed (see Installation prefix). It is not recommended to edit the system-wide file, because it will be overridden when Geany is updated.

To change the settings, copy the file from $prefix/share/geany in your configuration directory (usually ~/.config/geany/).

For example:

% cp /usr/local/share/geany/snippets.conf /home/username/.config/geany/

Then you can edit the file and the changes are also available after an update of Geany because the file resides in your configuration directory. Alternatively, you can create a file ~/.config/geany/snippets.conf and add only these settings you want to change. All missing settings will be read from the global snippets file in $prefix/share/geany.

The file snippets.conf may contain several sections for each filetype. It also contains two additional sections "Default" and "Special". Default contains all snippets which are available for every filetype. You may define another section for a certain filetype(e.g. C++) containing the same snippets. Then when using such a snippet in a C++ file the snippet defined in the C++ section will be used. In any other file the snippet defined in the Default section will be used unless a section for the current filetype exists and the used snippet is defined in this section. The section "Special" contains special snippets which can only be used in other snippets. So you can define often used parts of snippets and just use the special snippet as a placeholder (see the snippets.conf for details).

To define snippets you can use several special characters which will be replaced when using the snippet:

Wildcards for snippets

\n or %newline% Insert a new line (it will be replaced by the used EOL char(s): LF, CR/LF, or CR).
\t or %ws% Insert an indentation step, it will be replaced according to the current document's indent mode.
\s \s to force whitespace at beginning or end of a value ('key= value' won't work, use 'key=\svalue')
%cursor% Place the cursor at this position after completion has been done. You can define multiple %cursor% wildcards and use the keybinding Move cursor in snippet to jump to the next defined cursor position in the completed snippet.
%...% "..." means the name of a key in the "Special" section. If you have defined a key "brace_open" in the "Special" section you can use %brace_open" in any other snippet.

Snippet names must not contain spaces otherwise they won't work correctly. But beside that you can define almost any string as a snippet and use it later in Geany. It is not limited to existing contructs of certain programming languages(like if, for, switch). Define whatever you need.

Maybe you need to often type your name, so define a snippet like this:

myname=Enrico Tröger

Every time you write myname <TAB> in Geany, it will replace "myname" with "Enrico Tröger". The key to start autocompletion can be changed in the preferences dialog, by default it is TAB. The corresponding keybinding is called Complete snippet.

Since Geany 0.15 you can also use most of the available templates wildcards listed in Template wildcards. All wildcards which are listed as available in snippets can be used. For instance to improve the above example:

myname=My name is {developer}

this will replace myname with "My name is " and the value of the template preference developer.

You may change the behaviour Geany recognizes the word to complete, i.e. where define the start and end of a word. The section "Special" may contain a key "wordchars" which lists all characters a string may contain to be recognized as a word for completion. Leave it commented to use default characters or define it to add or remove characters to fit your needs.

Inserting Unicode characters

With GTK 2.10 and above, you can insert Unicode code points by hitting Ctrl-Shift-u, then still holding Ctrl-Shift, type some hex digits representing the code point for the character you want, then let go of Ctrl-Shift and hit Enter or Return.

For this to work in Geany, you'll need to first unbind Ctrl-Shift-u in the keybinding preferences, then restart Geany. Note that it works slightly differently from other GTK applications, in that you'll need to continue to hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys while typing the code point hex digits.

For GTK < 2.10, it is also possible, but typing the first Ctrl-Shift-u is not necessary. One problem is that you may find the alphabetic keys conflict with other Geany keybindings.

Search, replace and go to

This section describes search-related commands from the Search menu and the editor window's popup menu:

  • Find
  • Find usage *
  • Find in files
  • Replace
  • Go to tag definition *
  • Go to tag declaration *
  • Go to line

* These items are available from the editor window's popup menu, or by using a keyboard shortcut (see the section called Keybindings).


The Find dialog is used for finding text in one or more open documents.


Matching options

The syntax for the Use regular expressions option is shown in Regular expressions.

The Use escape sequences option will transform any escaped characters into their UTF-8 equivalent. For example, \t will be transformed into a tab character. Other recognized symbols are: \\, \n, \r, \uXXXX (Unicode characters).

Find all

To find all matches, click on the Find All expander. This will reveal several options:

  • In Document
  • In Session
  • Mark

Find All In Document will show a list of matching lines in the current document in the Messages tab of the Message Window. Find All In Session does the same for all open documents.

Mark will highlight all matches in the current document with a colored box. These markers can be removed by selecting the Remove Markers command from the Document menu.

Change font in search dialog text fields

All search related dialogs use a Monospace for the text input fields to increase the readability of input text. This is useful when you are typing e.g. regular expressions with spaces, periods and commas which might it hard to read with a proportional font.

If you want to change the font for some reason, you can do this easily by inserting the following style into your .gtkrc-2.0 (usually found in your home directory on UNIX-like systems and in the etc subdirectory of your Geany installation on Windows):

style "search_style"
    font_name="Monospace 8"
widget "GeanyDialogSearch.*.GtkEntry" style:highest "search_style"

Please note the addition ":highest" in the last line which sets the priority of this style to the highest available. Otherwise, the style is ignored for the search dialogs.

Find usage

Find usage searches all open files. It is similar to the Find All In Session Find dialog command.

If there is a selection, then it is used as the search text; otherwise the current word is used. The current word is either taken from the word nearest the edit cursor, or the word underneath the popup menu click position when the popup menu is used. The search results are shown in the Messages tab of the Message Window.

Find in files

Find in files is a more powerful version of Find usage that searches all files in a certain directory using the Grep tool. The Grep tool must be correctly set in Preferences to the path of the system's Grep utility. GNU Grep is recommended.


The Encoding combo box can be used to define the encoding of the files to be searched. The chosen encoding is used to convert the entered search text into and to convert the search results back to UTF-8. The Extra options field is used to pass any additional arguments to the grep tool.

Filtering out version control files

When using the Recurse in subfolders option with a directory that's under version control, you can set the Extra options field to use grep's --exclude flag to filter out filenames.

SVN Example: --exclude=*.svn-base

The --exclude argument only matches the file name part, not the path. If you have GNU Grep >= 2.5.2 you can use the --exclude-dir argument to filter out CVS and hidden directories like .svn.

Example: --exclude-dir=.* --exclude-dir=CVS


The Replace dialog is used for replacing text in one or more open documents.


The Replace dialog has the same options for matching text as the Find dialog. See the section called Matching options.

The Use regular expressions option applies both to the search string and to the replacement text; for the latter back references can be used -- see the entry for '\n' in Regular expressions.

Replace all

To replace several matches, click on the Replace All expander. This will reveal several options:

  • In Document
  • In Session
  • In Selection

Replace All In Document will replace all matching text in the current document. Replace All In Session does the same for all open documents. Replace All In Selection will replace all matching text in the current selection of the current document.

Go to tag definition

If the current word is the name of a tag definition (like a function body) and the file containing the tag definition is open, this command will switch to that file and go to the corresponding line number. The current word is either taken from the word nearest the edit cursor, or the word underneath the popup menu click position when the popup menu is used.

Go to tag declaration

Like Go to tag definition, but for a forward declaration such as a function prototype or extern declaration instead of a function body.

Go to line

Go to a particular line number in the current file.

Regular expressions

You can use regular expressions in the Find and Replace dialogs by selecting the Use regular expressions check box. The syntax is POSIX-like, as described in the table below.


  1. Searching backwards with regular expressions is not supported.
  2. \r and \n are never matched because regular expression searches are made line per line (stripped of end-of-line chars).
  3. The POSIX '?' regular expression character for optional matching is not supported.

In a regular expression, the following characters are interpreted:

. Matches any character.
( This marks the start of a region for tagging a match.
) This marks the end of a tagged region.
\n Where n is 1 through 9 refers to the first through ninth tagged region when replacing. For example, if the search string was Fred([1-9])XXX and the replace string was Sam\1YYY, when applied to Fred2XXX this would generate Sam2YYY.
\< This matches the start of a word.
\> This matches the end of a word.

A backslash followed by d, D, s, S, w or W, becomes a character class (both inside and outside sets []).

  • d: decimal digits
  • D: any char except decimal digits
  • s: whitespace (space, \t \n \r \f \v)
  • S: any char except whitespace (see above)
  • w: alphanumeric & underscore (changed by user setting)
  • W: any char except alphanumeric & underscore (see above)
\x This allows you to use a character x that would otherwise have a special meaning. For example, \[ would be interpreted as [ and not as the start of a character set. Use \\ for a literal backslash.
\xHH A backslash followed by x and two hexa digits, becomes the character whose Ascii code is equal to these digits. If not followed by two digits, it is 'x' char itself.

Matches one of the characters in the set. If the first character in the set is ^, it matches the characters NOT in the set, i.e. complements the set. A shorthand S-E (start dash end) is used to specify a set of characters S up to E, inclusive. The special characters ] and - have no special meaning if they appear as the first chars in the set. To include both, put - first: [-]A-Z] (or just backslash them).


[-]|]    matches these 3 chars
[]-|]    matches from ] to | chars
[a-z]    any lowercase alpha
[^-]]    any char except - and ]
[^A-Z]   any char except uppercase alpha
[a-zA-Z] any alpha
^ This matches the start of a line (unless used inside a set, see above).
$ This matches the end of a line.
* This matches 0 or more times. For example, Sa*m matches Sm, Sam, Saam, Saaam and so on.
+ This matches 1 or more times. For example, Sa+m matches Sam, Saam, Saaam and so on.


This table is adapted from Scintilla and SciTE documentation, distributed under the License for Scintilla and SciTE.


Geany has built-in functionality for generating tag information (aka "workspace tags") for supported filetypes when you open a file. You can also have Geany automatically load external tag files (aka "global tags files") upon startup, or manually using Tools --> Load Tags.

Geany uses its own tag file format, similar to what ctags uses (but is incompatible with ctags). You use Geany to generate global tags files, as described below.

Workspace tags

Tags for each document are parsed whenever a file is loaded or saved. These are shown in the Symbol list in the Sidebar. These tags are also used for autocompletion of symbols and calltips for all documents open in the current session that have the same filetype.

The Go to Tag commands can be used with all workspace tags. See Go to tag definition.

Global tags

Global tags are used to provide autocompletion of symbols and calltips without having to open the corresponding source files. This is intended for library APIs, as the tags file only has to be updated when you upgrade the library.

You can load a custom global tags file in two ways:

  • Using the Load Tags command in the Tools menu.
  • By creating a directory ~/.config/geany/tags, and moving or symlinking the tags files there before starting Geany.
  • By creating a directory $prefix/share/geany/tags, and moving or symlinking the tags files there before starting Geany. $prefix is the installation prefix (see Installation prefix).

You can either download these files or generate your own. They have the format:


lang_ext is one of the extensions set for the filetype associated with the tags. See the section called Filetype extensions for more information.

Default global tags files

For some languages, a list of global tags is loaded when the corresponding filetype is first used. Currently these are for:

  • C -- GTK+ and GLib
  • Pascal
  • PHP
  • HTML -- &symbol; completion, e.g. for ampersand, copyright, etc.
  • LaTeX
  • Python

Global tags file format

Global tags files can have two different formats:

  • Tagmanager format
  • Pipe-separated format

The first line of global tags files should be a comment, introduced by # followed by a space and a string like format=pipe respectively format=tagmanager (case-sensitive). This helps Geany to read the file properly. If this line is missing, Geany tries to auto-detect the used format but this might fail.

The Tagmanager format is a bit more complex and is used for files created by the geany -g command. There is one tag per line. Different tag attributes like the return value or the argument list are separated with different characters indicating the type of the following argument.

The Pipe-separated format is easier to read and write. There is one tag per line and different tag attributes are separated by the pipe character (|). A line looks like:

basename|string|(string path [, string suffix])|
The first field is the tag name (usually a function name).
The second field is the type of the return value.
The third field is the argument list for this tag.
The fourth field is the description for this tag but currently unused and should be left empty.

Except for the first field (tag name), all other field can be left empty but the pipe separator must appear for them.

You can easily write your own global tag files using this format. Just save them in your tags directory, as described earlier in the section Global tags.

Generating a global tags file

You can generate your own global tags files by parsing a list of source files. The command is:

geany -g [-P] <Tag File> <File list>
  • Tag File filename should be in the format described earlier -- see the section called Global tags.
  • File list is a list of filenames, each with a full path (unless you are generating C/C++ tags and have set the CFLAGS environment variable appropriately).
  • -P or --no-preprocessing disables using the C pre-processor to process #include directives for C/C++ source files. Use this option if you want to specify each source file on the command-line instead of using a 'master' header file. Also can be useful if you don't want to specify the CFLAGS environment variable.

Example for the wxD library for the D programming language:

geany -g wxd.d.tags /home/username/wxd/wx/*.d

Generating C/C++ tag files:

For C/C++ tag files, gcc and grep are required, so that header files can be preprocessed to include any other headers they depend upon.

For C/C++ files, the environment variable CFLAGS should be set with appropriate -I/path include paths. The following example works with the bash shell, generating tags for the GnomeUI library:

CFLAGS=`pkg-config --cflags libgnomeui-2.0` geany -g gnomeui.c.tags \

You can adapt this command to use CFLAGS and header files appropriate for whichever libraries you want.

Replacing the default C/C++ tags file:

Geany currently uses a default global tags file c99.tags for C and C++, commonly installed in /usr/share/geany. This file can be replaced with one containing tags parsed from a different set of header files. When Geany is next started, your custom tags file will be loaded instead of the default c99.tags. You should keep a copy of the generated tags file because it will get overwritten when upgrading Geany.

Ignore tags

You can also ignore certain tags if they would lead to wrong parsing of the code. Simply create a file called "ignore.tags" in your Geany configuration directory (usually ~/.config/geany/). Then list all tags you want to ignore in this file, separated by spaces and/or newlines.

More detailed information about the usage from the Exuberant Ctags manual page:

Specifies a list of identifiers which are to be specially handled
while  parsing C and C++ source files. This option is specifically
provided to handle special cases arising through the use of
pre-processor macros. When the identifiers listed are simple identifiers,
these identifiers will be ignored during parsing of the source files.
If an identifier is suffixed with a '+' character, ctags will also
ignore any parenthesis-enclosed argument list which may immediately
follow the identifier in the source files.
If two identifiers are separated with the '=' character, the first
identifiers is replaced by the second identifiers for parsing purposes.

For even more detailed information please read the manual page of Exuberant Ctags.


You may adjust Geany's settings using the Edit --> Preferences dialog. Any changes you make there can be applied by hitting either the Apply or the OK button. These settings will persist between Geany sessions. Note that most settings here have descriptive popup bubble help -- just hover the mouse over the item in question to get help on it.

You may also adjust some View settings (under the View menu) that persist between Geany sessions. The settings under the Document menu, however, are only for the current document and revert to defaults when restarting Geany.

There are also some rarer Hidden preferences.


In the paragraphs that follow, the text describing a dialog tab comes after the screenshot of that tab.

General Startup preferences



Load files from the last session
On startup, load the same files you had open the last time you used Geany.
Load virtual terminal support
Load the library for running a terminal in the message window area.
Enable plugin support
Allow plugins to be used in Geany.


Save window position and geometry
Save the current position and size of the main window so next time you open Geany it's in the same location.
Confirm Exit
Have a dialog pop up to confirm that you really want to quit Geany.


Startup path
Path to start in when opening or saving files. It must be an absolute path. Leave it blank to use the current working directory.
Project files
Path to start in when opening project files.
Extra plugin path
Geany looks by default in the global installation path and in the configuration directory. The path entered here will be searched additionally for plugins. Usually you do not need to set an additional path to search for plugins. It might be useful when Geany is installed on a multi-user machine and additional plugins should be available in a custom location for all users. Leave blank to not set an additional lookup path.

General Miscellaneous preferences



Beep on errors when compilation has finished
Have the computer make a beeping sound when compilation of your program has completed or any errors occurred.
Switch status message list at new message
Switch to the status message tab (in the notebook window at the bottom) once a new status message arrives.
Suppress status messages in the status bar
Remove all messages from the status bar. The messages are still displayed in the status messages window.
Auto-focus widgets (focus follows mouse)
Give the focus automatically to widgets below the mouse cursor. This works for the main editor widget, the scribble, the toolbar search field goto line fields and the VTE.

Interface preferences



Change the font used to display documents.
Symbol list
Change the font used for the Symbols sidebar tab.
Message window
Change the font used for the message window area.

Editor tabs

Show editor tabs
Show a notebook tab for all documents so you can switch between them using the mouse (instead of using the Documents window).
Show close buttons
Make each tab show a close button so you can easily close open documents.
Placement of new file tabs
Whether to create a document with its notebook tab to the left or right of all existing tabs.
Double-clicking hides all additional widgets
Whether to call the View->Toggle All Additional Widgets command when double-clicking on a notebook tab.

Tab positions

Set the positioning of the editor's notebook tabs to the right, left, top, or bottom of the editing window.
Set the positioning of the sidebar's notebook tabs to the right, left, top, or bottom of the sidebar window.
Message window
Set the positioning of the message window's notebook tabs to the right, left, top, or bottom of the message window.


Show status bar
Show the status bar at the bottom of the main window. It gives information about the file you are editing like the line and column you are on, whether any modifications were done, the file encoding, the filetype and other information.

Toolbar preferences

Affects the main toolbar underneath the menu bar.



Show Toolbar
Whether to show the toolbar.
Append Toolbar to the Menu
Allows to append the toolbar to the main menu bar instead of placing it below. This is useful to save vertical space.


Icon Style
Select the toolbar icon style to use - either icons and text, just icons or just text.
Icon size
Select the size of the icons you see (large, small or very small).

Editor Features preferences



Line wrapping
Show long lines wrapped around to new display lines.
Enable "smart" home key
Whether to move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character on the line when you hit the home key on your keyboard. Pressing it again will go to the very start of the line.
Disable Drag and Drop
Do not allow the dragging and dropping of selected text in documents.
Enable folding
Allow groups of lines in a document to be collapsed for easier navigation/editing.
Fold/Unfold all children of a fold point
Whether to fold/unfold all child fold points when a parent line is folded.
Use indicators to show compile errors
Underline lines with compile errors using red squiggles to indicate them in the editor area.
Newline strip trailing spaces
Remove any white space at the end of the line when you hit the Enter/Return key.
Line breaking column
The editor column number to insert a newline at when Line Breaking is enabled for the current document.
Comment toggle marker
A string which is added when toggling a line comment in a source file. It is used to mark the comment as toggled.

Editor Indentation preferences


Indentation group

See Indentation for more information.


When Geany inserts indentation, whether to use:

  • Just Tabs
  • Just Spaces
  • Tabs and Spaces, depending on how much indentation is on a line

The Tabs and Spaces indent type is also known as Soft tab support in some other editors.

The width of a single indent size in spaces. By default the indent size is equivalent to 4 spaces.
Hard tab width
When the Tabs and Spaces indent type is enabled, this is the display size of a tab. Otherwise this is ignored. Although configurable, this should usually be set to 8.
Detect from file
Try to detect and set the indent type based on file content, when a file is opened.
Auto-indent mode

The type of auto-indentation you wish to use after pressing Enter, if any.

Just add the indentation of the previous line.
Current chars
Add indentation based on the current filetype and any characters at the end of the line such as {, } for C, : for Python.
Match braces
Like Current chars but for C-like languages, make a closing } brace line up with the matching opening brace.
Tab key indents

If set, pressing tab will indent the current line or selection, and unindent when pressing Shift-tab. Otherwise, the tab key will insert a tab character into the document (which can be different from indentation, depending on the indent type).


There are also separate configurable keybindings for indent & unindent, but this pref allows the tab key to have different meanings in different contexts - e.g. for snippet completion.

Editor Completions preferences



Snippet Completion
Whether to replace special keywords after typing Tab into a pre-defined text snippet. See User-definable snippets.
XML tag autocompletion
When you open an XML tag automatically generate its completion tag.
Automatic continuation multi-line comments

Continue automatically multi-line comments in languages like C, C++ and Java when a new line is entered inside such a comment. With this option enabled, Geany will insert a * on every new line inside a multi-line comment, for example when you press return in the following C code:

 * This is a C multi-line comment, press <Return>

then Geany would insert:


on the next line with the correct indentation based on the previous line, as long as the multi-line is not closed by */.

Autocomplete symbols
When you start to type a symbol name, look for the full string to allow it to be completed for you.
Autocomplete all words in document
When you start to type a word, Geany will search the whole document for words starting with the typed part to complete it, assuming there are no tag names to show.
Drop rest of word on completion
Remove any word part to the right of the cursor when choosing a completion list item.
Characters to type for autocompletion
Number of characters of a word to type before autocompletion is displayed.
Completion list height
The number of rows to display for the autocompletion window.
Max. symbol name suggestions
The maximum number of items in the autocompletion list.

Auto-close quotes and brackets

Geany can automatically insert a closing bracket and quote characters when you open them. For instance, you type a ( and Geany will automatically insert ). With the following options, you can define for which characters this should work.

Parenthesis ( )
Auto-close parenthesis when typing an opening one
Curly brackets { }
Auto-close parenthesis when typing an opening one
Square brackets [ ]
Auto-close parenthesis when typing an opening one
Single quotes ' '
Auto-close parenthesis when typing an opening one
Double quotes " "
Auto-close parenthesis when typing an opening one

Editor Display preferences

This is for visual elements displayed in the editor window.



Invert syntax highlighting colors
Invert all colors, by default this makes white text on a black background.
Show indendation guides
Show vertical lines to help show how much leading indentation there is on each line.
Show whitespaces
Mark all tabs with an arrow "-->" symbol and spaces with dots to show which kinds of whitespace are used.
Show line endings
Display a symbol everywhere that a carriage return or line feed is present.
Show line numbers
Show or hide the Line Number margin.
Show markers margin
Show or hide the small margin right of the line numbers, which is used to mark lines.
Stop scrolling at last line
When enabled Geany stops scrolling when at the last line of the document. Otherwise you can scroll one more page even if there are no real lines.

Long line marker

The long line marker helps to indicate overly-long lines, or as a hint to the user for when to break the line.

Show a thin vertical line in the editor window at the given column position.
Change the background color of characters after the given column position to the color set below. (This is recommended over the Line setting if you use proportional fonts).
Don't mark long lines at all.
Long line marker
Set this value to a value greater than zero to specify the column where it should appear.
Long line marker color
Set the color of the long line marker.

Files preferences


New files

Open new documents from the command-line
Whether to create new documents when passing filenames that don't exist from the command-line.
Default encoding (new files)
The type of file encoding you wish to use when creating files.
Used fixed encoding when opening files
Assume all files you are opening are using the type of encoding specified below.
Default encoding (existing files)
Opens all files with the specified encoding instead of auto-detecting it. Use this option when it's not possible for Geany to detect the exact encoding.
Default end of line characters
The end of line characters to which should be used for new files. On Windows systems, you generally want to use CR/LF which are the common characters to mark line breaks. On Unix-like systems, LF is default and CR is used on MAC systems.

Saving files

Perform special formatting operations when a document is saved. These can each be undone with the Undo command as usual.

Ensure newline at file end
Add a newline at the end of the document if one is missing.
Strip trailing spaces
Remove the trailing spaces on each line of the document.
Replace tabs by space

Replace all tabs in the document with the equivalent number of spaces.


It is better to use spaces to indent than use this preference - see Indentation.


Recent files list length
The number of files to remember in the recently used files list.
Disk check timeout

The number of seconds to periodically check the current document's file on disk in case it has changed. Setting it to 0 will disable this feature.


These checks are only performed on local files. Remote files are not checked for changes due to performance issues (remote files are files in ~/.gvfs/).

Tools preferences


Tool paths

The location of the make executable.
The location of your terminal executable.
The location of your web browser executable.
The location of the grep executable.


For Windows users: at the time of writing it is recommended to use the grep.exe from the UnxUtils project ( The grep.exe from the Mingw project for instance might not work with Geany at the moment.


Context action
Set this to a command to execute on the current word. You can use the "%s" wildcard to pass the current word below the cursor to the specified command.

Template preferences

This data is used as meta data for various template text to insert into a document, such as the file header. You only need to set fields that you want to use in your template files.


For changes made here to take effect a restart of geany is required.


Template data

The name of the developer who will be creating files.
The initials of the developer.
Mail address

The email address of the developer.


You may wish to add anti-spam markup, e.g. name<at>site<dot>ext.

The company the developer is working for.
Initial version
The initial version of files you will be creating.
Specify a format for the the {year} wildcard. You can use any conversion specifiers which can be used with the ANSI C strftime function. For details please see
Specify a format for the the {date} wildcard. You can use any conversion specifiers which can be used with the ANSI C strftime function. For details please see
Date & Time
Specify a format for the the {datetime} wildcard. You can use any conversion specifiers which can be used with the ANSI C strftime function. For details please see

Keybinding preferences


There are some handy commands in here that are not, by default, bound to a key combination, and may not be available as a menu item.


For more information see the section called Keybindings.

Printing preferences

Use external command for printing
Use a system command to print your file out.
Use native GTK printing
Let the GTK GUI toolkit handle your print request.
Print line numbers
Print the line numbers on the left of your paper.
Print page number
Print the page number on the bottom right of your paper.
Print page header
Print a header on every page that is sent to the printer.
Use base name of the printed file
Don't use the entire path for the header, only the filename.
Date format
How the date should be printed. You can use the same format specifiers as in the ANSI C function strftime(). For details please see

Terminal (VTE) preferences

See also: Virtual terminal emulator widget (VTE).


Terminal widget

Terminal font
Select the font that will be used in the terminal emulation control.
Foreground color
Select the font color.
Background color
Select the background color of the terminal.
Scrollback lines
The number of lines buffered so that you can scroll though the history.
The location of the shell on your system.
Scroll on keystroke
Scroll the terminal to the prompt line when pressing a key.
Scroll on output
Scroll the output down.
Cursor blinks
Let the terminal cursor blink.
Override Geany keybindings
Allow the VTE to receive keyboard shortcuts (apart from focus commands).
Disable menu shortcut key (F10 by default)
Disable the menu shortcut when you are in the virtual terminal.
Follow path of the current file
Make the path of the terminal change according to the path of the current file.
Execute programs in VTE
Execute programs in the virtual terminal instead of using the external terminal tool.
Don't use run script
Don't use the simple run script which is usually used to display the exit status of the executed program. This can be useful if you already have a program running in the VTE like a Python console (e.g. ipython). Use this with care.

Project Management

Project Management is optional in Geany. Currently it can be used for:

  • Storing and opening session files on a project basis.
  • Running Make from the project's base directory.
  • Setting a custom Run command specific to the project.

A list of session files can be stored and opened with the project when the Use project-based session files preference is enabled, in the Project group of the Preferences dialog.

As long as a project is open, the Make and Run commands will use the project's settings, instead of the defaults. These will be used whichever document is currently displayed.

The current project's settings are saved when it is closed, or when Geany is shutdown. When restarting Geany, the previously opened project file that was in use at the end of the last session will be reopened.

Below are the commands used to create, modify, open and close projects.

New Project

To create a new project, fill in the Name field. By default this will setup a new project file ~/projects/name.geany. Usually it's best to store all your project files in the same directory (they are independent of any source directory trees).

The Base path text field is setup to use ~/projects/name. This can safely be set to any existing path -- it will not touch the file structure contained in it.

Project Properties

You can set an optional description for the project, but it is not used elsewhere by Geany.

The Base path field is used as the directory to run the Make and Make custom commands in. It is also used as working directory for the project specific Run command. The specified path can be an absolute path or relative to the project's file name.

Make in base path

This setting makes the Build->Make command use the project's base path. Uncheck this if you want to use the current file's directory instead.

Run command

The Run command overrides the default run command. You can set this to the executable or main script file for the project, and append any command-line arguments.

The following variables can be used:

  • %f -- complete filename without path
  • %e -- filename without path and without extension

See [build_settings] Section for details.

Open Project

The Open command displays a standard file chooser, starting in ~/projects. Choose a project file named with the .geany extension.

When project session support is enabled, Geany will close the currently open files and open the session files associated with the project.

Close Project

Project file settings are saved when the project is closed.

When project session support is enabled, Geany will close the project session files and open any previously closed default session files.

Build system

Geany has an integrated build system. Firstly this means that the current source file will be saved before it is processed. This is for convenience so that you don't need to keep saving small changes to the current file before building.

Secondly the output for Compile, Build and Make actions will be captured in the Compiler notebook tab of the messages window. If there are any warnings or errors with line numbers shown in red in the Compiler output tab, you can click on them and Geany will switch to the relevant source file (or open it) and mark the line number so the problem can be corrected. Geany will also set indicators for warnings or errors with line numbers.


If Geany's default error message parsing does not parse errors for the tool you're using, you can set a custom regex. See Filetype definition files and the [build_settings] Section.

Depending on the current file's filetype, the Build menu will contain the following items:

  • Compile
  • Build
  • Make All
  • Make Custom Target
  • Make Object
  • Execute
  • Set Includes and Arguments


The Compile command has different uses for different kinds of files.

For compilable languages such as C and C++, the Compile command is setup to compile the current source file into a binary object file.

Java source files will be compiled to class file bytecode. Interpreted languages such as Perl, Python, Ruby will compile to bytecode if the language supports it, or will run a syntax check, or failing that will run the file in its language interpreter.


For compilable languages such as C and C++, the Build command will link the current source file's equivalent object file into an executable. If the object file does not exist, the source will be compiled and linked in one step, producing just the executable binary.

Interpreted languages do not use the Build command.

Make all

This effectively runs "make all" in the same directory as the current file.


For each of the Make commands, The Make tool path must be correctly set in the Tools tab of the Preferences dialog.

Make custom target

This is similar to running 'Make all' but you will be prompted for the make target name to be passed to the Make tool. For example, typing 'clean' in the dialog prompt will run "make clean".

Make object

Make object will run "make current_file.o" in the same directory as the current file, using its prefix for 'current_file'. It is useful for compiling just the current file without building the whole project.


Execute will run the corresponding executable file, shell script or interpreted script in a terminal window. Note that the Terminal tool path must be correctly set in the Tools tab of the Preferences dialog - you can use any terminal program that runs a Bourne compatible shell and accept the "-e" command line argument to start a command.

After your program or script has finished executing, you will be prompted to press the return key. This allows you to review any text output from the program before the terminal window is closed.

Stopping running processes

When there is a running program, the Run button in the toolbar becomes a stop button and you can stop the current action. This works by sending a signal to the process (and its child process(es)) to stop the process. The used signal is SIGQUIT.

Depending on the process you started it might occur that the process cannot be stopped. This can happen when the process creates more than one child process.

Terminal emulators

Xterm is known to work properly. If you are using "Terminal" (the terminal program of Xfce), you should add the command line option --disable-server otherwise the started process cannot be stopped. Just add this option in the preferences dialog on the Tools tab in the terminal field.

Set Includes and Arguments

By default the Compile and Build commands invoke the compiler and linker with only the basic arguments needed by all programs. Using Set Includes and Arguments you can add any include paths and compile flags for the compiler, any library names and paths for the linker, and any arguments you want to use when running Execute.


If you need complex settings for your build system, or several different settings, then writing a Makefile and using the Make commands is recommended; this will also make it easier for users to build your software.

These settings are saved automatically when Geany is shut down.

The following variables can be used:

  • %f -- complete filename without path
  • %e -- filename without path and without extension

See [build_settings] Section for details.

One step compilation

If you are using the Build command to compile and link in one step, you will need to set both the compiler arguments and the linker arguments in the linker command setting.


Indicators are red squiggly underlines which are used to highlight errors which occurred while compiling the current file. So you can easily see where your code failed to compile. To remove the indicators, just click on "Remove all indicators" in the document file menu.

If you do not like this feature, you can disable it in the preferences dialog.

Printing support

Since Geany 0.13 there is full printing support using GTK's printing API. The printed page(s) will look nearly the same as on your screen in Geany. Additionally, there are some options to modify the printed page(s). You can define whether to print line numbers, page numbers at the bottom of each page and whether to print a page header on each page. This header contains the filename of the printed document, the current page number and the date and time of printing. By default, the file name of the document is added with full path information to the header. If you prefer to add only the basename of the file(without any path information) you can set it in the preferences dialog. You can also adjust the format of the date and time added to the page header. The available conversion specifiers are the same as the ones which can be used with the ANSI C strftime function. All of these settings can also be changed in the print dialog just before actual printing is done. On Unix-like systems the provided print dialog offers a print preview. The preview file is opened with a PDF viewer and by default GTK uses evince for print preview. If you don't have installed evince or just want to use another PDF viewer, you can change the program to use in the file .gtkrc-2.0 (usually found in your home directory). Simply add a line like:

gtk-print-preview-command = "epdfview %f"

at the end of the file. Of course, you can also use xpdf, kpdf or whatever as the print preview command.

Unfortunately, native GTK printing support is only available if Geany was built against GTK 2.10 (or above) and is running with GTK 2.10 (or above). If not, Geany provides basic printing support. This means you can print a file by passing the filename of the current file to a command which actually prints the file. However, the printed document contains no syntax highlighting. You can adjust the command to which the filename is passed in the preferences dialog. The default command is:

% lpr %f

%f will be substituted by the filename of the current file. Geany will not show errors from the command itself, so you should make sure that it works before(e.g. by trying to execute it from the command line).

A nicer example, which I prefer is:

% a2ps -1 --medium=A4 -o - %f | xfprint4

But this depends on a2ps and xfprint4. As a replacement for xfprint4, gtklp or similar programs can be used.


Plugins are loaded at startup, if the Enable plugin support general preference is set. There is also a command-line option, -p, which prevents plugins being loaded. Plugins are scanned in the following directories:

Most plugins add menu items to the Tools menu when they are loaded.

Since Geany 0.13, there is a Plugin Manager to let you choose which plugins should be loaded at startup. You can also load and unload plugins on the fly using this dialog. Once you click the checkbox for a specific plugin in the dialog, it is loaded or unloaded according to its previous state. By default, no plugins are loaded at startup until you select some. You can also configure some plugin specific options when the plugin provides some.

See also Plugin documentation for information about single plugins which are included in Geany.


Geany supports the default keyboard shortcuts for the Scintilla editing widget. For a list of these commands, see Scintilla keyboard commands. The Scintilla keyboard shortcuts will be overridden by any custom keybindings with the same keyboard shortcut.

Switching documents

There are a few non-configurable bindings to switch between documents, listed below. These can also be overridden by custom keybindings.

Key Action
Alt-[1-9] Select left-most tab, from 1 to 9.
Alt-0 Select right-most tab.
Ctrl-Shift-PgUp Select left-most tab.
Ctrl-Shift-PgDn Select right-most tab.

Configurable keybindings

For all actions listed below you can define your own keybindings. Open the Preferences dialog, select the desired action and click on change. In the opening dialog you can press any key combination you want and it will be saved when you press OK. You can define only one key combination for one action.

Some of the default key combinations cannot be changed, e.g. menu_new or menu_open. These are set by GTK and should be kept, but you can still add other key combinations for these actions. For example to execute menu_open by default Ctrl-O is set, but you can also define Alt-O, so that the file open dialog is shown by pressing either Ctrl-O or Alt-O.

The following table lists all customizable keyboard shortcuts.

Action Default shortcut Description
New Ctrl-N Creates a new file.
Open Ctrl-O Opens a file.
Save Ctrl-S Saves the current file.
Save As   Saves the current file under a new name.
Save all Ctrl-Shift-S Saves all open files.
Close all Ctrl-Shift-W Closes all open files.
Close Ctrl-W Closes the current file.
Reload file Ctrl-R Reloads the current file. All unsaved changes will be lost.
Print Ctrl-P Prints the current file.
Undo Ctrl-Z Un-does the last action.
Redo Ctrl-Y Re-does the last action.
Delete current line(s) Ctrl-K Deletes the current line (and any lines with a selection).
Delete to line end Ctrl-Shift-Delete Deletes from the current caret position to the end of the current line.
Duplicate line or selection Ctrl-D Duplicates the current line or selection.
Transpose current line Ctrl-T Transposes the current line with the previous one.
Scroll to current line Ctrl-Shift-L Scrolls the current line into the centre of the view. The cursor position and or an existing selection will not be changed.
Scroll up by one line Alt-Up Scrolls the view.
Scroll down by one line Alt-Down Scrolls the view.
Complete word Ctrl-Space Shows the autocompletion list. If already showing tag completion, it shows document word completion instead, even if it is not enabled for automatic completion. Likewise if no tag suggestions are available, it shows document word completion.
Show calltip Ctrl-Shift-Space Shows call tips for the current function or method.
Show macro list Ctrl-Return Shows a list of available macros and variables in the workspace.
Complete snippet Tab If you type a construct like if or for and press this key, it will be completed with a matching template.
Suppress snippet completion   If you type a construct like if or for and press this key, it will not be completed, and a space or tab will be inserted, depending on what the construct completion keybinding is set to. For example, if you have set the construct completion keybinding to space, then setting this to Shift+space will prevent construct completion and insert a space.
Context Action   Executes a command and passes the current word (near the cursor position) or selection as an argument. See the section called Context actions.
Move cursor in snippet   Jumps to the next defined cursor positions in a completed snippets if multiple cursor positions where defined.
Cut Ctrl-X Cut the current selection to the clipboard.
Copy Ctrl-C Copy the current selection to the clipboard.
Paste Ctrl-V Paste the clipboard text into the current document.
Cut current line(s) Ctrl-Shift-X Cuts the current line (and any lines with a selection) to the clipboard.
Copy current line(s) Ctrl-Shift-C Copies the current line (and any lines with a selection) to the clipboard.
Select all Ctrl-A Makes a selection of all text in the current document.
Select current word Alt-Shift-W Selects the current word under the cursor.
Select current paragraph Alt-Shift-P Selects the current paragraph under the cursor which is defined by two empty lines around it.
Select current line(s) Alt-Shift-L Selects the current line under the cursor (and any partially selected lines).
Insert date Shift-Alt-D Inserts a customisable date.
Insert alternative whitespace   Inserts a tab character when spaces should be used for indentation and inserts space characters of the amount of a tab width when tabs should be used for indentation.
Toggle case of selection Ctrl-Alt-U Changes the case of the selection. A lowercase selection will be changed into uppercase and vice versa. If the selection contains lower- and uppercase characters, all will be converted to lowercase.
Comment line   Comments current line or selection.
Uncomment line   Uncomments current line or selection.
Toggle line commentation Ctrl-E Comments a line if it is not commented or removes a comment if the line is commented.
Increase indent Ctrl-I Indents the current line or selection by one tab or by spaces in the amount of the tab width setting.
Decrease indent Ctrl-U Removes one tab or the amount of spaces of the tab width setting from the indentation of the current line or selection.
Increase indent by one space   Indents the current line or selection by one space.
Decrease indent by one space   Deindents the current line or selection by one space.
Smart line indent   Indents the current line or all selected lines with the same indentation as the previous line.
Send to Custom Command 1 (2,3) Ctrl-1 (2,3) Passes the current selection to a configured external command (available for the first three configured commands, see Send text through definable commands for details).
Send Selection to Terminal   Sends the current selection or the current line (if there is no selection) to the embedded Terminal (VTE).
Reflow lines/block   Reformat selected lines or current (indented) text block, breaking lines at the long line marker.
Preferences Ctrl-Alt-P Opens preferences dialog.
Find Ctrl-F Opens the Find dialog.
Find Next Ctrl-G Finds next result.
Find Previous Ctrl-Shift-G Finds previous result.
Replace Ctrl-H Opens the Replace dialog.
Find in files Ctrl-Shift-F Opens the Find in files dialog.
Next message   Jumps to the line with the next message in the Messages window.
Previous message   Jumps to the line with the previous message in the Messages window.
Find Usage   Finds all occurrences of the current word (near the keyboard cursor) or selection in all open documents and displays them in the messages window.
Find Document Usage   Finds all occurrences of the current word (near the keyboard cursor) or selection in the current document and displays them in the messages window.
Mark All   Highlight all matches of the current word/selection in the current document with a colored box. If there's nothing to find, highlighted matches will be cleared.
Go to    
Navigate forward a location   Switches to the next location in the navigation history. See the section called Code Navigation History.
Navigate back a location   Switches to the previous location in the navigation history. See the section called Code navigation history.
Go to line Ctrl-L Opens the Go to line dialog.
Goto matching brace Ctrl-B If the cursor is ahead or behind a brace, then it is moved to the brace which belongs to the current one. If this keyboard shortcut is pressed again, the cursor is moved back to the first brace.
Toggle marker Ctrl-M Set a marker on the current line, or clear the marker if there already is one.
Goto next marker Ctrl-. Goto the next marker in the current document.
Goto previous marker Ctrl-, Goto the previous marker in the current document.
Go to tag definition   Jump to the definition of the current word (near the keyboard cursor). If the definition cannot be found (e.g. the relevant file is not open) Geany will beep and do nothing. See the section called Go to tag definition.
Go to tag declaration   Jump to the declaration of the current word (near the keyboard cursor). If the declaration cannot be found (e.g. the relevant file is not open) Geany will beep and do nothing. See the section called Go to tag declaration.
Go to Start of Line Home Move the caret to the end of the line indentation unless it is already there, in which case it moves it to the start of the line.
Go to End of Line End Move the caret to the end of the line.
Go to End of Display Line Alt-End Move the caret to the end of the display line. This is useful when you use line wrapping and want to jump to the end of the wrapped, virtual line, not the real end of the whole line. If the line is not wrapped, it behaves like Go to End of Line, see above.
Go to Previous Word Part Ctrl-/ Goto the previous part of the current word.
Go to Next Word Part Ctrl- Goto the next part of the current word.
Fullscreen F11 Switches to fullscreen mode.
Toggle Messages Window   Toggles the message window (status and compiler messages) on and off.
Toggle Sidebar   Shows or hides the sidebar.
Toggle all additional widgets   Hide and show all additional widgets like the notebook tabs, the toolbar, the messages window and the statusbar.
Zoom In Ctrl-+ Zooms in the text
Zoom Out Ctrl-- Zooms out the text
Switch to Editor F2 Switches to editor widget.
Switch to Scribble F6 Switches to scribble widget.
Switch to VTE F4 Switches to VTE widget.
Switch to Search Bar F7 Switches to the search bar in the toolbar (if visible).
Switch to Sidebar   Focus the Sidebar.
Switch to Compiler   Focus the Compiler message window tab.
Notebook tabs    
Switch to left document Ctrl-PageUp Switches to the previous open document.
Switch to right document Ctrl-PageDown Switches to the next open document.
Switch to last used document Ctrl-Tab Switches to the previously shown document (if it's still open). Holding Ctrl (or another modifier if the keybinding has been changed) will show a dialog, then repeated presses of the keybinding will switch to the 2nd-last used document, 3rd-last, etc. Also known as Most-Recently-Used documents switching.
Move document left Alt-PageUp Changes the current document with the left hand one.
Move document right Alt-PageDown Changes the current document with the right hand one.
Move document first   Moves the current document to the first position.
Move document last   Moves the current document to the last position.
Replace tabs by space   Replaces all tabs with the right amount of spaces.
Replace spaces by tabs   Replaces all spaces with tab characters.
Toggle current fold   Toggles the folding state of the current code block.
Fold all   Folds all contractible code blocks.
Unfold all   Unfolds all contracted code blocks.
Reload symbol list Ctrl-Shift-R Reloads the tag/symbol list.
Toggle Line wrapping   Enables or disables wrapping of long lines.
Toggle Line breaking   Enables or disables automatic breaking of long lines at a configurable column.
Compile F8 Compiles the current file.
Build F9 Builds (compiles if necessary and links) the current file.
Make all Shift-F9 Builds the current file with the Make tool.
Make custom target Ctrl-Shift-F9 Builds the current file with the Make tool and a given target.
Make object   Compiles the current file with the Make tool.
Next error   Jumps to the line with the next error from the last build process.
Previous error   Jumps to the line with the previous error from the last build process.
Run F5 Executes the current file in a terminal emulation.
Run (alternative command)   Executes the current file in a terminal emulation.
Build options   Opens the build options dialog.
Show Color Chooser   Opens the Color Chooser dialog.
Help F1 Opens the manual.

Configuration files

Tools menu items

There's a Configuration files submenu in the Tools menu that contains items for some of the available user configuration files. Clicking on one opens it in the editor for you to update. Geany will reload the file after you have saved it.


Other configuration files are not shown here and you will need to open them manually and usually restart Geany to see any changes.

There's also a Reload Configuration item which can be used if you updated a configuration file outside of the current instance. This item is also necessary to update syntax highlighting colors.


Syntax highlighting colors aren't updated after saving filetypes.common as this can take a short while depending on which documents are open.

Global configuration file

You can use a global configuration file for Geany which will be used if the user starts Geany for the first time and an user's configuration file was not yet created or in case an user deleted the configuration file to use default values.

The global configuration file is read from $prefix/share/geany/geany.conf (where $prefix is the path where Geany is installed, see Installation prefix) when starting Geany and an user configuration file does not exist. It can contain any settings which are found in the usual configuration file created by Geany but does not have to contain all settings.


This feature is mainly intended for package maintainers or system admins who want to set up Geany in a multi user environment and set some sane default values for this environment. Usual users won't need to do that.

Filetype definition files

All color definitions and other filetype specific settings are stored in the filetype definition files. Those settings are colors for syntax highlighting, general settings like comment characters or word delimiter characters as well as compiler and linker settings.

The system-wide configuration files can be found in $prefix/share/geany and are called filetypes.$ext, where $prefix is the path where Geany is installed (see Installation prefix) and $ext is the name of the filetype. For every filetype there is a corresponding definition file. There is one exception: filetypes.common -- this file is for general settings, which are not specific to a certain filetype.


It is not recommended for users to edit the system-wide files, because they will be overridden when Geany is updated.

To change the settings, copy a file from $prefix/share/geany to the subdirectory filedefs in your configuration directory (usually ~/.config/geany/).

For example:

% cp /usr/local/share/geany/filetypes.c /home/username/.config/geany/filedefs/

Then you can edit the file and the changes are also available after an update of Geany because they reside in your configuration directory. Alternatively, you can create a file ~/.config/geany/filedefs/filetypes.X and add only these settings you want to change. All missing settings will be read from the corresponding global definition file in $prefix/share/geany.


[styling] Section

In this section the colors for syntax highlighting are defined. The manual format is:

  • key=foreground_color;background_color;bold_flag;italic_flag

Colors have to be specified as RGB hex values prefixed by 0x. For example red is 0xff0000, blue is 0x0000ff. The values are case-insensitive, but it is a good idea to use small letters. Bold and italic are flags and should only be "true" or "false". If their value is something other than "true" or "false", "false" is assumed.

You can omit fields to use the "default" named style.

E.g. key=0xff0000;;true

This makes the key style have red foreground text, default background color text and bold emphasis.

Using a named style

The second format uses a named style name to reference a style defined in filetypes.common.

  • key=named_style
  • key2=named_style2,bold,italic

The bold and italic parts are optional, and if present are used to toggle the bold or italic flags to the opposite of the named style's flags. In contrast to style definition booleans, they are a literal ",bold,italic" and commas are used instead of semi-colons.

E.g. key=comment,italic

This makes the key style match the "comment" named style, but with italic emphasis.

To define named styles, see the filetypes.common [named_styles] Section.

[keywords] Section

This section contains keys for different keyword lists specific to the filetype. Some filetypes do not support keywords, so adding a new key will not work. You can only add or remove keywords to/from an existing list.


The keywords list must be in one line without line ending characters.

[settings] Section


This is the default file extension used when saving files, not including the period character (.). The extension used should match one of the patterns associated with that filetype (see Filetype extensions).

Example: extension=cxx


These characters define word boundaries when making selections and searching using word matching options.

Example: (look at system filetypes.* files)


A character or string which is used to comment code. If you want to use multiline comments, also set comment_close, otherwise leave it empty.

Example: comment_open=/*


If multiline comments are used, this is the character or string to close the comment.

Example: comment_close=*/


Set this to false if a comment character or string should start at column 0 of a line. If set to true it uses any indentation of the line.

Note: Comment indentation

comment_use_indent=true would generate this if a line is commented (e.g. with Ctrl-D):


comment_use_indent=false would generate this if a line is commented (e.g. with Ctrl-D):

#   command_example();

Note: This setting only works for single line comments (like '//', '#' or ';').

Example: comment_use_indent=true


A command which can be executed on a certain word or the current selection. Example usage: Open the API documentation for the current function call at the cursor position. The command can be set for every filetype or if not set, a global command will be used. The command itself can be specified without the full path, then it is searched in $PATH. But for security reasons, it is recommended to specify the full path to the command. The wildcard %s will be replaced by the current word at the cursor position or by the current selection.

Hint: for PHP files the following could be quite useful: context_action_cmd=firefox ""

Example: context_action_cmd=devhelp -s "%s"

[build_settings] Section


This is a GNU-style extended regular expression to parse a filename and line number from build output. If undefined, Geany will fall back to its default error message parsing.

Only the first two matches will be read by Geany. Geany will look for a match that is purely digits, and use this for the line number. The remaining match will be used as the filename.

Example: error_regex=(.+):([0-9]+):[0-9]+

This will parse a message such as: E202 whitespace before ']'

Build commands

The build commands are all configurable using the Set Includes and Arguments dialog.


This item specifies the command to compile source code files. But it is also possible to use it with interpreted languages like Perl or Python. With these filetypes you can use this option as a kind of syntax parser, which sends output to the compiler message window.

You should quote the filename to also support filenames with spaces. The following wildcards for filenames are available:

  • %f -- complete filename without path
  • %e -- filename without path and without extension

Example: compiler=gcc -Wall -c "%f"


This item specifies the command to link the file. If the file is not already compiled, it will be compiled while linking. The -o option is automatically added by Geany. This item works well with GNU gcc, but may be problematic with other compilers (esp. with the linker).

Example: linker=gcc -Wall "%f"


Use this item to execute your file. It has to have been built already. Use the %e wildcard to have only the name of the executable (i.e. without extension) or use the %f wildcard if you need the complete filename, e.g. for shell scripts.

Example: run_cmd="./%e"

Special file filetypes.common

There is a special filetype definition file called filetypes.common. This file defines some general non-filetype-specific settings.

See the Format section for how to define styles.

[named_styles] Section

Named styles declared here can be used in the [styling] section of any filetypes.* file.

For example:

In filetypes.common:


In filetypes.c:


This saves copying and pasting the whole style definition into several different files.


You can define aliases for named styles, as shown with the bar entry in the above example, but they must be declared after the original style.

[styling] Section


This is the default style. It is used for styling files without a filetype set.

Example: default=0x000000;0xffffff;false;false


The style for coloring selected text. The format is:

  • Foreground color
  • Background color
  • Use foreground color
  • Use background color

The colors are only set if the 3rd or 4th argument is true. When the colors are not overridden, the default is a dark grey background with syntax highlighted foreground text.

Example: selection=0xc0c0c0;0x00007F;true;true


The style for brace highlighting when a matching brace was found.

Example: brace_good=0xff0000;0xFFFFFF;true;false


The style for brace highlighting when no matching brace was found.

Example: brace_bad=0x0000ff;0xFFFFFF;true;false


The style for coloring the caret(the blinking cursor). Only first and third argument is interpreted. Set the third argument to true to change the caret into a block caret.

Example: caret=0x000000;0x0;false;false


The width for the caret(the blinking cursor). Only the first argument is interpreted. The width is specified in pixels with a maximum of three pixel. Use the width 0 to make the caret invisible.

Example: caret=1;0;false;false


The style for coloring the background of the current line. Only the second and third arguments are interpreted. The second argument is the background color. Use the third argument to enable or disable background highlighting for the current line (has to be true/false).

Example: current_line=0x0;0xe5e5e5;true;false


The style for coloring the indentation guides. Only the first and second arguments are interpreted.

Example: indent_guide=0xc0c0c0;0xffffff;false;false


The style for coloring the white space if it is shown. The first both arguments define the foreground and background colors, the third argument sets whether to use the defined foreground color or to use the color defined by each filetype for the white space. The fourth argument defines whether to use the background color.

Example: white_space=0xc0c0c0;0xffffff;true;true


The style of folding icons. Only first and second arguments are used.

Valid values for the first argument are:

  • 1 -- for boxes
  • 2 -- for circles

Valid values for the second argument are:

  • 1 -- for straight lines
  • 2 -- for curved lines

Example: folding_style=1;1;false;false


Draw a thin horizontal line at the line where text is folded. Only first argument is used.

Valid values for the first argument are:

  • 0 -- disable, do not draw a line
  • 1 -- draw the line above folded text
  • 2 -- draw the line below folded text

Example: folding_horiz_line=0;0;false;false


First argument: drawing of visual flags to indicate a line is wrapped. This is a bitmask of the values:

  • 0 -- No visual flags
  • 1 -- Visual flag at end of subline of a wrapped line
  • 2 -- Visual flag at begin of subline of a wrapped line. Subline is indented by at least 1 to make room for the flag.

Second argument: wether the visual flags to indicate a line is wrapped are drawn near the border or near the text. This is a bitmask of the values:

  • 0 -- Visual flags drawn near border
  • 1 -- Visual flag at end of subline drawn near text
  • 2 -- Visual flag at begin of subline drawn near text

Only first and second argument is interpreted.

Example: line_wrap_visuals=3;0;false;false


First argument: sets the size of indentation of sublines for wrapped lines in terms of the width of a space, only used when the second argument is 0.

Second argument: wrapped sublines can be indented to the position of their first subline or one more indent level. Possible values:

  • 0 - Wrapped sublines aligned to left of window plus amount set by the first argument
  • 1 - Wrapped sublines are aligned to first subline indent (use the same indentation)
  • 2 - Wrapped sublines are aligned to first subline indent plus one more level of indentation

Only first and second argument is interpreted.

Example: line_wrap_indent=0;1;false;false


Translucency for the current line (first argument) and the selection (second argument). Values between 0 and 256 are accepted.

Note for Windows 95, 98 and ME users: keep this value at 256 to disable translucency otherwise Geany might crash.

Only the first and second argument is interpreted.

Example: translucency=256;256;false;false


The style for a highlighted line (e.g when using Goto line or goto tag). The foreground color (first argument) is only used when the Markers margin is enabled (see View menu).

Only the first and second argument is interpreted.

Example: marker_line=0x000000;0xffff00;false;false


The style for a marked search results (when using "Mark" in Search dialogs). The second argument sets the background colour for the drawn rectangle.

Only the second argument is interpreted.

Example: marker_search=0x000000;0xb8f4b8;false;false


The style for a marked line (e.g when using the "Toggle Marker" keybinding (Ctrl-M)). The foreground color (first argument) is only used when the Markers margin is enabled (see View menu).

Only the first and second argument is interpreted.

Example: marker_mark=0x000000;0xb8f4b8;false;false


Translucency for the line marker (first argument) and the search marker (second argument). Values between 0 and 256 are accepted.

Note for Windows 95, 98 and ME users: keep this value at 256 to disable translucency otherwise Geany might crash.

Only the first and second argument is interpreted.

Example: marker_translucency=256;256;false;false


Amount of space to be drawn above and below the line's baseline. The first argument defines the amount of space to be drawn above the line, the second argument defines the amount of space to be drawn below.

Only the first and second argument is interpreted.

Example: line_height=0;0;false;false

[settings] Section


Characters to treat as whitespace. These characters are ignored when moving, selecting and deleting across word boundaries (see Scintilla keyboard commands).

This should include space (\s) and tab (\t).

Example: whitespace_chars=\s\t!\"#$%&'()*+,-./:;<=>?@[\\]^`{|}~

Filetype extensions

To change the default filetype extension used when saving a new file, see Filetype definition files.

You can override the list of file extensions that Geany uses for each filetype using the filetype_extensions.conf file.

To override the system-wide configuration file, copy it from $prefix/share/geany to your configuration directory, usually ~/.config/geany/. $prefix is the path where Geany is installed (see Installation prefix).

For example:

% cp /usr/local/share/geany/filetype_extensions.conf /home/username/.config/geany/

Then edit it and remove all the lines for filetype extensions that you do not want to override. The remaining lines can be edited after the = sign, using a semi-colon separated list of patterns which should be matched for that filetype.

For example, to set the filetype extensions for Make, the /home/username/.config/geany/filetype_extensions.conf file should look like:



Geany supports the following templates:

  • ChangeLog entry
  • File header
  • Function description
  • Short GPL notice
  • Short BSD notice
  • Filetype template

To use these templates, just open the Edit menu or open the popup menu by right-clicking in the editor widget, and choose "Insert Comments" and insert templates as you want.

Some templates (like File header or ChangeLog entry) will always be inserted at the top of the file.

To insert a function description, the cursor must be inside of the function, so that the function name can be determined automatically. The description will be positioned correctly one line above the function, just check it out. If the cursor is not inside of a function or the function name cannot be determined, the inserted function description won't contain the correct function name but "unknown" instead.

Template meta data

Meta data can be used with all templates, but by default user set meta data is only used for the ChangeLog and File header templates.

In the configuration dialog you can find a tab "Templates" (see Template preferences). You can define the default values which will be inserted in the templates. You should restart Geany after making changes, because they are only read at startup.

File templates

File templates are templates used as the basis of a new file. To use them, choose the New (with Template) menu item from the File menu.

By default, templates are created for some filetypes. Custom file templates can be added by creating the appropriate template file and restarting Geany. You can also edit the default filetype templates.

The file's contents are just the text to place in the document, except for the optional {fileheader} template wildcard. This can be placed anywhere, but is usually on the first line of the file, followed by a blank line.

Custom file templates

These are read from the ~/.config/geany/templates/files directory (created the first time Geany is started). The filetype to use is detected from the template file's extension, if any. For example, creating a file main.c would add a menu item which created a new document with the filetype set to 'C'.

The template file is read from disk when the corresponding menu item is clicked, so you don't need to restart Geany after editing a custom file template.

Filetype templates

Filetype template files are read from the ~/.config/geany/templates directory, and are named "filetype." followed by the filetype name, e.g. "filetype.python", "", etc. If you are unsure about the filetype name extensions, they are the same as the filetype configuration file extensions, commonly installed in /usr/share/geany, with the prefix "filetypes.".

There is also a template file filetype.none which is used when the New command is used without a filetype. This is empty by default.

Customizing templates

Each template can be customized to your needs. The templates are stored in the ~/.config/geany/templates/ directory (see the section called Command line options for further information about the configuration directory). Just open the desired template with an editor (ideally, Geany ;-) ) and edit the template to your needs. There are some wildcards which will be automatically replaced by Geany at startup.

Template wildcards

All wildcards must be enclosed by "{" and "}", e.g. {date}.

Wildcard Description Available in
developer The name of the developer. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
initial The developer's initials, e.g. "ET" for Enrico Tröger or "JFD" for John Foobar Doe. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
mail The email address of the developer. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
company The company the developer is working for. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
year [1] The current year. Default format is: YYYY filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
version The initial version of a new file. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
date [1] The current date. Default format: YYYY-MM-DD. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
untitled The string "untitled" (this will be translated to your locale), used in filetype templates. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
geanyversion The actual Geany version, e.g. "Geany 0.18.1". filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
datetime [1] The current date and time. Default format: DD.MM.YYYY HH:mm:ss ZZZZ. filetype templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets
filename The filename of the current file. file header, snippets
gpl This wildcard inserts a short GPL notice. file header
bsd This wildcard inserts a BSD licence notice. file header
functionname The function name of the function at the cursor position. This wildcard will only be replaced in the function description template. function description
fileheader The file header template. This wildcard will only be replaced in filetype templates. file header, snippets, custom filetype templates
[1](1, 2, 3) The format for the year, date and datetime wildcards can be changed in the preferences dialog, see Template preferences. You can use any conversion specifiers which can be used with the ANSI C strftime function. For details please see

Customizing the toolbar

You can add, remove and reorder the elements in the toolbar by using the toolbar editor by manually editing the file ui_toolbar.xml.

The toolbar editor can be opened from the preferences editor on the Toolbar tab or by right-clicking on the toolbar itself and choosing it from the menu.

Manually editing of the toolbar layout

To override the system-wide configuration file, copy it from $prefix/share/geany to your configuration directory, usually ~/.config/geany/. $prefix is the path where Geany is installed (see Installation prefix).

For example:

% cp /usr/local/share/geany/ui_toolbar.xml /home/username/.config/geany/

Then edit it and add any of the available elements listed in the file or remove any of the existing elements. Of course, you can also reorder the elements as you wish and add or remove additional separators. This file must be valid XML, otherwise the global toolbar UI definition will be used instead.

Your changes are applied once you save the file.


  1. You cannot add new actions which are not listed below.
  2. Everything you add or change must be inside the /ui/toolbar/ path.

Available toolbar elements

Element name Description
New Create a new file
Open Open an existing file
Save Save the current file
SaveAll Save all open files
Reload Reload the current file from disk
Close Close the current file
CloseAll Close all open files
Print Print the current file
Cut Cut the current selection
Copy Copy the current selection
Paste Paste the contents of the clipboard
Delete Delete the current selection
Undo Undo the last modification
Redo Redo the last modification
NavBack Navigate back a location
NavFor Navigate forward a location
Compile Compile the current file
Build Build the current file, includes also a submenu for Make commands. Geany remembers the last chosen action from the submenu and uses this as default action when the button itself is clicked.
Run Run or view the current file
Color Open a color chooser dialog, to interactively pick colors from a palette
ZoomIn Zoom in the text
ZoomOut Zoom out the text
UnIndent Decrease indentation
Indent Increase indentation
Replace Replace text in the current document
SearchEntry The search field belonging to the 'Search' element (can be used alone)
Search Find the entered text in the current file (only useful if you also use 'SearchEntry')
GotoEntry The goto field belonging to the 'Goto' element (can be used alone)
Goto Jump to the entered line number (only useful if you also use 'GotoEntry')
Preferences Show the preferences dialog
Quit Quit Geany

Plugin documentation

Instant Save

This plugin sets on every new file (File->New or File-> New (with template)) a randomly chosen filename and set its filetype appropriate to the used template or when no template was used, to a configurable default filetype. This enables you to quickly compile, build and/or run the new file without the need to give it an explicit filename using the Save As dialog. This might be useful when you often create new files just for testing some code or something similar.

Backup Copy

This plugin creates a backup copy of the current file in Geany when it is saved. You can specify the directory where the backup copy is saved and you can configure the automatically added extension in the configure dialog in Geany's plugin manager.

After the plugin was loaded in Geany's plugin manager, every file is copied into the configured backup directory when the file is saved in Geany.

Contributing to this document

This document (geany.txt) is written in reStructuredText (or "reST"). The source file for it is located in Geany's doc subdirectory. If you intend on making changes, you should grab the source right from SVN to make sure you've got the newest version. After editing the file, to build the HTML document to see how your changes look, run "make doc" in the subdirectory doc of Geany's source directory. This regenerates the geany.html file. To generate a PDF file, use the command "make pdf" which should generate a file called geany-0.18.1.pdf.

After you are happy with your changes, create a patch:

% svn diff geany.txt > foo.patch

and then submit that file to the mailing list for review.

Note, you will need the Python docutils software package installed to build the docs. The package is named python-docutils on Debian and Fedora systems.

Scintilla keyboard commands

Copyright © 1998, 2006 Neil Hodgson <neilh(at)scintilla(dot)org>

This appendix is distributed under the terms of the License for Scintilla and SciTE. A copy of this license can be found in the file scintilla/License.txt included with the source code of this program and in the appendix of this document. See License for Scintilla and SciTE.

20 June 2006

Keyboard commands

Keyboard commands for Scintilla mostly follow common Windows and GTK+ conventions. All move keys (arrows, page up/down, home and end) allows to extend or reduce the stream selection when holding the Shift key, and the rectangular selection when holding the Shift and Ctrl keys. Some keys may not be available with some national keyboards or because they are taken by the system such as by a window manager or GTK. Keyboard equivalents of menu commands are listed in the menus. Some less common commands with no menu equivalent are:

Action Shortcut key
Magnify text size. Ctrl+Keypad+
Reduce text size. Ctrl+Keypad-
Restore text size to normal. Ctrl+Keypad/
Indent block. Tab
Dedent block. Shift+Tab
Delete to start of word. Ctrl+BackSpace
Delete to end of word. Ctrl+Delete
Delete to start of line. Ctrl+Shift+BackSpace
Go to start of document. Ctrl+Home
Extend selection to start of document. Ctrl+Shift+Home
Go to start of display line. Alt+Home
Extend selection to start of display line. Alt+Shift+Home
Go to end of document. Ctrl+End
Extend selection to end of document. Ctrl+Shift+End
Extend selection to end of display line. Alt+Shift+End
Previous paragraph. Shift extends selection. Ctrl+Up
Next paragraph. Shift extends selection. Ctrl+Down
Previous word. Shift extends selection. Ctrl+Left
Next word. Shift extends selection. Ctrl+Right

Tips and tricks

Document notebook

  • Double-click on empty space in the notebook tab bar to open a new document.
  • Double-click on a document's notebook tab to toggle all additional widgets (to show them again use the View menu or the keyboard shortcut). The interface pref must be enabled for this to work.
  • Middle-click on a document's notebook tab to close the document.


  • Alt-scroll wheel moves up/down a page.
  • Ctrl-scroll wheel zooms in/out.
  • Shift-scroll wheel scrolls 8 characters right/left.
  • Ctrl-click on a word in a document to perform Go to Tag Definition.
  • Ctrl-click on a bracket/brace to perform Go to Matching Brace.


  • Double-click on a symbol-list group to expand or compact it.

Hidden preferences

There are some uncommon preferences that are not shown in the Preferences dialog. These can be set by editing ~/.config/geany/geany.conf, then restarting Geany. Search for the key name, then edit the value. Example:


The table below show the key names of hidden preferences in the configuration file.

Key Description Default
Editor related    
brace_match_ltgt Whether to highlight <, > angle brackets. false
show_editor_scrollbars Whether to display scrollbars. If set to false, the horizontal and vertical scrollbars are hidden completely. true
use_gtk_word_boundaries Whether to look for the end of a word when using word-boundary related Scintilla commands (see Scintilla keyboard commands). true
complete_snippets_whilst_editing Whether to allow completion of snippets when editing an existing line (i.e. there is some text after the current cursor position on the line). Only used when the keybinding Complete snippet is set to Space. false
Interface related    
show_symbol_list_expanders Whether to show or hide the small expander icons on the symbol list treeview (only available with GTK 2.12 or above). true
allow_always_save Whether files can be saved always, even if they don't have any changes. By default, the Save buttons and menu items are disabled when a file is unchanged. When setting this option to true, the Save buttons and menu items are always active and files can be saved. false
VTE related    
emulation Terminal emulation mode. Only change this if you have VTE termcap files other than vte/termcap/xterm. xterm
File related    
use_safe_file_saving Defines the mode how Geany saves files to disk. If disabled, Geany directly writes the content of the document to disk. This might cause in loss of data when there is no more free space on disk to save the file. When set to true, Geany first saves the contents into a temporary file and if this succeeded, the temporary file is moved to the real file to save. This gives better error checking in case of no more free disk space. But it also destroys hard links of the original file and its permissions (e.g. executable flags are reset). Use this with care as it can break things seriously. The better approach would be to ensure your disk won't run out of free space. false

Compile-time options

There are some options which can only be changed at compile time, and some options which are used as the default for configurable options. To change these options, edit the appropriate source file in the src subdirectory. Look for a block of lines starting with #define GEANY_*. Any definitions which are not listed here should not be changed.


Most users should not need to change these options.


Option Description Default
GEANY_STRING_UNTITLED A string used as the default name for new files. Be aware that the string can be translated, so change it only if you know what you are doing. untitled
GEANY_WINDOW_MINIMAL_WIDTH The minimal width of the main window. 620
GEANY_WINDOW_MINIMAL_HEIGHT The minimal height of the main window. 440
GEANY_WINDOW_DEFAULT_WIDTH The default width of the main window at the first start. 900
GEANY_WINDOW_DEFAULT_HEIGHT The default height of the main window at the first start. 600
Windows specific    
GEANY_USE_WIN32_DIALOG Set this to 1 if you want to use the default Windows file open and save dialogs instead GTK's file open and save dialogs. The default Windows file dialogs are missing some nice features like choosing a filetype or an encoding. Do not touch this setting when building on a non-Win32 system. 0


Option Description Default
GEANY_PROJECT_EXT The default filename extension for Geany project files. It is used when creating new projects and as filter mask for the project open dialog. geany


Option Description Default
GEANY_WORDCHARS These characters define word boundaries when making selections and searching using word matching options. a string with: a-z, A-Z, 0-9 and underscore.


These are default settings that can be overridden in the Preferences dialog.

Option Description Default
GEANY_MIN_SYMBOLLIST_CHARS How many characters you need to type to trigger the autocompletion list. 4
GEANY_DISK_CHECK_TIMEOUT Time in seconds between checking a file for external changes. 30
GEANY_DEFAULT_TOOLS_MAKE The make tool. This can also include a path. "make"
GEANY_DEFAULT_TOOLS_TERMINAL A terminal emulator. It has to accept the command line option "-e". This can also include a path. "xterm"
GEANY_DEFAULT_TOOLS_BROWSER A web browser. This can also include a path. "firefox"
GEANY_DEFAULT_TOOLS_PRINTCMD A printing tool. It should be able to accept and process plain text files. This can also include a path. "lpr"
GEANY_DEFAULT_TOOLS_GREP A grep tool. It should be compatible with GNU grep. This can also include a path. "grep"
GEANY_DEFAULT_MRU_LENGTH The length of the "Recent files" list. 10
GEANY_DEFAULT_FONT_SYMBOL_LIST The font used in sidebar to show symbols and open files. "Sans 9"
GEANY_DEFAULT_FONT_MSG_WINDOW The font used in the messages window. "Sans 9"
GEANY_DEFAULT_FONT_EDITOR The font used in the editor window. "Monospace 10"
GEANY_TOGGLE_MARK A string which is used to mark a toggled comment. "~ "
GEANY_MAX_AUTOCOMPLETE_WORDS How many autocompletion suggestions should Geany provide. 30


Option Description Default
GEANY_BUILD_ERR_HIGHLIGHT_MAX Amount of build error messages which should be highlighted in the Compiler message window. This affects the special coloring when Geany detects a compiler output line as an error message and then highlight the corresponding line in the source code. Usually only the first few messages are interesting because following errors are just aftereffects. 100

GNU General Public License

               Version 2, June 1991

 Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301  USA
 Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
 of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.


  The licenses for most software are designed to take away your
freedom to share and change it.  By contrast, the GNU General Public
License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free
software--to make sure the software is free for all its users.  This
General Public License applies to most of the Free Software
Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to
using it.  (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by
the GNU Library General Public License instead.)  You can apply it to
your programs, too.

  When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
price.  Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you
have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it
if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it
in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.

  To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid
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These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you
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  For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether
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  0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
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                NO WARRANTY




        How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs

  If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest
possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it
free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.

  To do so, attach the following notices to the program.  It is safest
to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively
convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least
the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

    <one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.>
    Copyright (C) <year>  <name of author>

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    GNU General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
    Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301 USA

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

If the program is interactive, make it output a short notice like this
when it starts in an interactive mode:

    Gnomovision version 69, Copyright (C) year  name of author
    Gnomovision comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'.
    This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
    under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.

The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate
parts of the General Public License.  Of course, the commands you use may
be called something other than `show w' and `show c'; they could even be
mouse-clicks or menu items--whatever suits your program.

You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or your
school, if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if
necessary.  Here is a sample; alter the names:

  Yoyodyne, Inc., hereby disclaims all copyright interest in the program
  `Gnomovision' (which makes passes at compilers) written by James Hacker.

  <signature of Ty Coon>, 1 April 1989
  Ty Coon, President of Vice

This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into
proprietary programs.  If your program is a subroutine library, you may
consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the
library.  If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Library General
Public License instead of this License.

License for Scintilla and SciTE

Copyright 1998-2003 by Neil Hodgson <neilh(at)scintilla(dot)org>

All Rights Reserved

Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in supporting documentation.