A fast, light, GTK+ IDE

Authors: Enrico Tröger
Nick Treleaven
Frank Lanitz
Colomban Wendling
Matthew Brush
Date: 2023-10-19
Version: 2.0

Copyright © 2005 The Geany contributors

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 on other packages. Another goal was to be as independent as possible from a particular Desktop Environment like KDE or GNOME - Geany only requires the GTK+ 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 distribution. 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 (>= 3.24) 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 from the website which bundles these libraries.

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 (>= 3.24) 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

To compile Geany yourself, you just need the Make tool, preferably GNU Make.

Then run the following commands:

$ ./configure
$ make

Then as root:

% make install

Or via sudo:

% sudo make install

Custom installation

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

$ ./configure --help

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

Dynamic linking loader support and VTE

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 for automatically loading 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 distribution.

Installation prefix

If you want to find Geany's system files after installation you may want to know the installation prefix.

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

On Unix-like systems this is commonly /usr if you installed from a binary package, or /usr/local if you build from source.


Editing system files is not necessary as you should use the per-user configuration files instead, which don't need root permissions. See Configuration files.


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.

    At Windows-systems you will find Geany after installation inside the application menu within its special folder.

  • From the command line:

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

    % geany

The Geany workspace

The Geany window is shown in the following figure:



Screenshots in this document are taken with the default GTK Adwaita theme, but Geany will adapt to the desktop GTK theme that is set.

The workspace has the following parts:

  • The menu.
  • An optional toolbar.
  • An optional sidebar that can show the following tabs:
    • Documents - A document list.
    • Symbols - A list of symbols in your code.
  • The main editor window.
  • An optional message window which can show the following tabs:
    • Status - A list of status messages.
    • Compiler - The output of compiling or building programs.
    • Messages - Results of Find Usage, Find in Files and other actions
    • Scribble - A text scratchpad for any use.
    • Terminal - An optional terminal window.
  • A status bar

Most of these can be configured in the Interface preferences, the View menu, or the popup menu for the relevant area.

Additional tabs may be added to the sidebar and message window by plugins.

The position of the tabs can be selected in the interface preferences.

The sizes of the sidebar and message window can be adjusted by dragging the dividers.

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. The default configuration directory is ~/.config/geany/ and that is where geany.conf and other configuration files reside.
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 file.
-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.
none --list-documents Return a list of open documents in a running Geany instance. This can be used to read the currently opened documents in Geany from an external script or tool. The returned list is separated by newlines (LF) and consists of the full, UTF-8 encoded filenames of the documents. Only available if Geany was compiled with support for Sockets.
-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 that order) to stdout, one line each. This is mainly intended for plugin authors to detect installation paths.
-r --read-only Open all files given on the command line in read-only mode. This only applies to files opened explicitly from the command line, so files from previous sessions or project files are unaffected.
-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 --socket-file

Use this socket filename for communication with a running Geany instance. This can be used with the following command to execute Geany on the current workspace:

geany --socket-file=/tmp/geany-sock-$(xprop -root _NET_CURRENT_DESKTOP | awk '{print $3}')
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.

files ...

file:line ...

file:line:col ...

Open all given filenames at startup. If a running instance is detected, pass filenames to it instead.

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.

If a filename does not exist, create a new document with the desired filename if the Open new files from the command-line file pref is set.

A project can also be opened, but the project filename (*.geany) must be the first non-option argument. Any other project filenames will be opened as text files.

Geany also 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).

You can start several instances of Geany, but only the first will load files from the last session. In the subsequent instances, you can find these files in the file menu under the Recent files item. By default this contains the last 10 recently opened files. You can change the number of recently opened files in the Files tab of the preferences dialog.

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 -i command line option.

Opening files

Open dialog

The File->Open command will show a dialog to choose one or more text files to open. There is a list of file filters on the right with the following items:

  • All files (default)
  • All source - a combination of all the patterns for each filetype (see Filetype extensions)
  • Individual filetypes

Clicking More options will reveal controls to open files with a specific filetype and/or encoding (see Character sets and Unicode Byte-Order-Mark (BOM)).

Opening files from the command-line in a running instance

Geany detects if there is an instance of itself already running and opens files from the command-line in that 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 on 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) much as you would a 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 note, Geany will run without this library.

It could be, that the library is called something else than (e.g. on FreeBSD 6.0 it is called If 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.


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. It is not alphabetical as shown in the documents list (regardless of whether or not editor tabs are visible).

See the Notebook tab keybindings section for useful shortcuts including for Most-Recently-Used document switching.

Document list views

There are three different ways to display documents on the sidebar if Show documents list is active. To switch between views press the right mouse button on the documents list and select one of these items:

Documents Only

Show only file names of open documents in sorted order.

Show Paths

Show open documents as a two-level tree in which first level is the paths of directories containing open files and the second level is the file names of the documents open in that path. All documents with the same path are grouped together under the same first level item. Paths are in sorted order and documents are sorted within each group.

Show Tree

Show paths as above, but as a multiple level partial tree. The tree is only expanded at positions where two or more directory paths to open documents share the same prefix. The common prefix is shown as a parent level, and the remainder of those paths are shown as child levels. This applies recursively down the paths making a tree to the file names of open documents, which are grouped in sorted order as an additional level below the last path segment.

For convenience two common file locations are handled specially, open files below the users home directory and open files below an open project base path. Each of these is moved to its own top level tree instead of being in place in the normal tree. The top level of these trees are each labelled differently. For the home directory tree the path of the home directory is shown as ~, and for the project tree the path to the project base path is shown simply as the project name.


In all cases paths and file names that do not fit in the width available are ellipsised.

Cloning documents

The Document->Clone menu item copies the current document's text, cursor position and properties into a new untitled document. If there is a selection, only the selected text is copied. This can be useful when making temporary copies of text or for creating documents with similar or identical contents.

Automatic filename insertion on Save As...

If a document is saved via Document->Save As... then the filename is automatically inserted into the comment header replacing text like untitled.ext in the first 3 lines of the file. E.g. if a new .c file is created using File->New (with Template) then the text untitled.c in line 2 would be replaced with the choosen file name on Save As... (this example assumes the default file templates being used).

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 convert a file from one character set to another. To do this, Geany uses the character conversion capabilities of the GLib library.

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 be read 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, but auto-detecting the encoding of a file is not easy and sometimes an encoding might not be detected correctly. In this case you have to set the encoding of the file manually 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 where it is known that auto-detection has problems.

There are different ways to set 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 the wrong encoding was used.

  • Using the "Set encoding" menu item

    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 the specification line, described in the next section, to the beginning of the file to force Geany to use a specific encoding when opening the file.

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 specified 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 #, /* and */ are examples of 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 which match the regular expression used to find the encoding string: 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.

Some examples are:

# encoding = ISO-8859-15


# coding: ISO-8859-15

Special encoding "None"

There is a special encoding "None" which uses no 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 a Unicode Byte Order Mark (see for details). Of course, this feature is only available if the opened file is in a 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 for programs not expecting it, e.g. the compiler 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 hidden sections again. In the editor window there is a small grey margin on the left side with [+] and [-] symbols which show hidden parts and hide parts of the file respectively. 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.


You can customize the folding icon and line styles - see the filetypes.common Folding Settings.

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.

This option can be 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 Alt and Shift on Windows) while selecting some text. 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.

It is also possible to create a zero-column selection - this is useful to insert text on multiple lines.

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, multiple spaces or a combination of both.

The Tabs setting indents with one tab character per indent level, and displays tabs as the indent width.

The Spaces setting indents with the number of spaces set in the indent width for each level.

The Tabs and Spaces setting indents with spaces as above, then converts as many spaces as it can to tab characters at the rate of one tab for each multiple of the Various preference setting indent_hard_tab_width (default 8) and displays tabs as the indent_hard_tab_width value.

The default indent settings are set in Editor Indentation preferences (see the link for more information).

The default settings can be overridden per-document using the Document menu. They can also be overridden by projects - see Project management.

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.

Applying new indentation settings

After changing the default settings you may wish to apply the new settings to every document in the current session. To do this use the Project->Apply Default Indentation menu item.

Detecting indent type

The Detect from file indentation preference can be used to scan each file as it's opened and set the indent type based on how many lines start with a tab vs. 2 or more spaces.


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 has four types of auto-indentation:

Disables auto-indentation completely.
Adds the same amount of whitespace on a new line as on the previous line. For the Tabs and the Spaces indent types the indentation will use the same combination of characters as the previous line. The Tabs and Spaces indentation type converts as explained above.
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. This requires the filetype to be one where Geany knows that the Scintilla lexer understands matching braces (C, C++, D, HTML, Pascal, Bash, Perl, TCL).

There is also XML-tag auto-indentation. This is enabled when the mode is more than just Basic, and is also controlled by a filetype setting - see xml_indent_tags.


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. 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.

Sending text through custom commands

You can define several custom commands in Geany and send the current selection to one of these commands using the Edit->Format->Send Selection to menu or keybindings. The output of the command will be used to replace the current selection. This makes it 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.

If there is no selection, the whole current line is used instead.

To add a custom command, use the Send Selection to->Set Custom Commands menu item. Click on Add to get a new item and type the command. You can also specify some command line options. Empty commands are not saved.

Normal shell quoting is supported, so you can do things like:

  • sed 's/\./(dot)/g'

The above example would normally be done with the Replace all function, but it can be handy to have common commands already set up.

Note that the command is not run in a shell, so if you want to use shell features like pipes and command chains, you need to explicitly launch the shell and pass it your command:

  • sh -c 'sort | uniq'

Context actions

You can execute the context action command on the current word at the cursor position or the available selection. This word or selection can be used as an argument to the command. The context action is invoked by a menu entry in the popup menu of the editor and also a keyboard shortcut (see the section called Keybindings).

The command can be specified in the preferences dialog and also for each filetype (see "context_action_cmd" in the section called Filetype configuration). When the context action is invoked, the filetype specific command is used if available, otherwise the command specified in the preferences dialog is executed.

The current word or selection can be referred with the wildcard "%s" in the command, it will be replaced by the current word or selection before the command is executed.

For example a context action can be used to open API documentation in a browser window, 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 files and for all words in open documents.

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 Editor keybindings, default Ctrl-Space).

For some languages the autocompletion list is ordered by heuristics to attempt to show names that are more likely to be what the user wants close to the top of the list.

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 pressing 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.

Word part completion

By default, pressing Tab will complete the selected item by word part; useful e.g. for adding the prefix gtk_combo_box_entry_ without typing it manually:

  • gtk_com<TAB>
  • gtk_combo_<TAB>
  • gtk_combo_box_<e><TAB>
  • gtk_combo_box_entry_<s><ENTER>
  • gtk_combo_box_entry_set_text_column

The key combination can be changed from Tab - See Editor keybindings. If you clear/change the key combination for word part completion, Tab will complete the whole word instead, like Enter.

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. Most languages only parse global definitions and so scope autocompletion will not work for names declared in local scope (e.g. inside functions). A few languages parse both local and global symbols (e.g. C/C++ parsers) and for these parsers scope autocompletion works also for local variables.


A handy tooltip is shown when typing ( after a symbol name when the symbol has a parameter list. The tag parser for the filetype must support parsing parameter lists. Calltips can also be shown with a keybinding.

When there is more than one matching symbol, arrows are shown which can be clicked to cycle through the signatures.

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 when typing common 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.

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.


You can override the default snippets using the user snippets.conf file. Use the Tools->Configuration Files->snippets.conf menu item. See also Configuration file paths.

This adds the default settings to the user file if the file doesn't exist. Alternatively the file can be created manually, adding only the settings you want to change. All missing settings will be read from the system snippets file.

Snippet groups

The file snippets.conf contains sections defining snippets that are available for particular filetypes and in general.

The two sections "Default" and "Special" apply to all filetypes. "Default" contains all snippets which are available for every filetype and "Special" contains 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).

You can define sections with the name of a filetype eg "C++". The snippets in that section are only available for use in files with that filetype. Snippets in filetype sections will hide snippets with the same name in the "Default" section when used in a file of that filetype.

Substitution sequences for snippets

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

\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 constructs of certain programming languages(like if, for, switch). Define whatever you need.

Template wildcards

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}
mysystem=My system: {command:uname -a}

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

Word characters

You can change the way Geany recognizes the word to complete, that is how the start and end of a word is recognised when the snippet completion is requested. 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.

Snippet keybindings

Normally you would type the snippet name and press Tab. However, you can define keybindings for snippets under the Keybindings group in snippets.conf:



Snippet keybindings may be overridden by Geany's configurable keybindings.

Inserting Unicode characters

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 and hit Enter or Return (still holding Ctrl-Shift). If you release Ctrl-Shift before hitting Enter or Return (or any other character), the code insertion is completed, but the typed character is also entered. In the case of Enter/Return, it is a newline, as you might expect.

In some earlier versions of Geany, you might need to first unbind Ctrl-Shift-u in the keybinding preferences, then select Tools->Reload Configuration or 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 (and the Enter or Return to finish the code point).

Inserting color values

You can insert a color value by selecting Tools->Color Chooser from the menu. A dialog appears to select the wanted color. If the cursor is placed inside a #RRGGBB format color value then the dialog will show that color after opening. On clicking on Apply or Select the code for the chosen color will be inserted in the format #RRGGBB. If text is selected, then it will be replaced with the color code on the first click on Apply or Select. If no text is selected or on subsequent clicks the color code is inserted at the current cursor position.

Search, replace and go to

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

  • Find
  • Find selection
  • Find usage
  • Find in files
  • Replace
  • Go to symbol definition
  • Go to symbol declaration
  • Go to line

See also Search preferences.

Toolbar entries

There are also two toolbar entries:

  • Search bar
  • Go to line entry

There are keybindings to focus each of these - see Focus keybindings. Pressing Escape will then focus the editor.


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.


Use escape sequences is implied for regular expressions.

The Use multi-line matching option enables multi-line regular expressions instead of single-line ones. See Regular expressions for more details on the differences between the two modes.

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 font for the text input fields to increase the readability of input text. This is useful when you are typing input such as regular expressions with spaces, periods and commas which might be hard to read with a proportional font.

If you want to change the font, you can do this easily by using the following custom CSS snippet, see Customizing Geany's appearance using GTK+ CSS:

#GeanyDialogSearch GtkEntry /* GTK < 3.20 */,
#GeanyDialogSearch entry /* GTK >= 3.20 */ {
    font: 8pt monospace;

Find selection

The Find Next/Previous Selection commands perform a search for the current selected text. If nothing is selected, by default the current word is used instead. This can be customized by the find_selection_type preference - see Various preferences.

Value find_selection_type behaviour
0 Use the current word (default).
1 Try the X selection first, then current word.
2 Repeat last search.

Find usage

Find Usage searches all open files. It is similar to the Find All In Session option in the Find dialog.

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.


You can also use Find Usage for symbol list items from the popup menu.

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 (see note below).


The Search field is initially set to the current word in the editor (depending on Search preferences).

The Files setting allows to choose which files are included in the search, depending on the mode:

Search in all files;
Use the current project's patterns, see Project properties;
Use custom patterns.

Both project and custom patterns use a glob-style syntax, each pattern separated by a space. To search all .c and .h files, use: *.c *.h. Note that an empty pattern list searches in all files rather than none.

The Directory field is initially set to the current document's directory, unless this field has already been edited and the current document has not changed. Otherwise, the current document's directory is prepended to the drop-down history. This can be disabled - see Search preferences.

The Encoding field can be used to define the encoding of the files to be searched. The entered search text is converted to the chosen encoding and the search results are converted back to UTF-8.

The Extra options field is used to pass any additional arguments to the grep tool.


The Files setting uses --include= when searching recursively, Recurse in subfolders uses -r; both are GNU Grep options and may not work with other Grep implementations.

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 filter out version control files.

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=.svn --exclude-dir=CVS

If you have an older Grep, you can try using the --exclude flag to filter out filenames.

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

The --exclude argument only matches the file name part, not the path.


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 Matching options.

The Use regular expressions option allows regular expressions to be used in the search string and back references in the replacement text -- 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 symbol definition

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

If there are more symbols with the same name to which the goto can be performed, a pop up is shown with a list of all the occurrences. After selecting a symbol from the list Geany jumps to the corresponding symbol location. Geany tries to suggest the nearest symbol (symbol from the current file, other open documents or current directory) as the best candidate for the goto and places this symbol at the beginning of the list typed in boldface.


If the corresponding symbol is on the current line, Geany will first look for a symbol declaration instead, as this is more useful. Likewise Go to symbol declaration will search for a symbol definition first in this case also.

Go to symbol declaration

Like Go to symbol definition, but for a forward declaration such as a C 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 (see Matching options). The syntax is Perl compatible. Basic syntax is described in the table below. For full details, see

By default regular expressions are matched on a line-by-line basis. If you are interested in multi-line regular expressions, matched against the whole buffer at once, see the section Multi-line regular expressions below.


  1. The Use escape sequences dialog option always applies for regular expressions.
  2. Searching backwards with regular expressions is not supported.
  3. The Use multi-line matching dialog option to select single or multi-line matching.

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.

Where n is 1 through 9 refers to the first through ninth tagged region when searching or replacing.

Searching for (Wiki)\1 matches WikiWiki.

If the search string was Fred([1-9])XXX and the replace string was Sam\1YYY, when applied to Fred2XXX this would generate Sam2YYY.

\0 When replacing, the whole matching text.
\b This matches a word boundary.

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
  • W: any char except alphanumeric & underscore
\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.

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 first in the set. - can also be last in the set. To include both, put ] first: []A-Z-].


[]|-]    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 matches 0 or 1 time(s). For example, Joh?n matches John, Jon.


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

Multi-line regular expressions


The Use multi-line matching dialog option enables multi-line regular expressions.

Multi-line regular expressions work just like single-line ones but a match can span several lines.

While the syntax is the same, a few practical differences applies:

. Matches any character but newlines. This behavior can be changed to also match newlines using the (?s) option, see
[^...] A negative range (see above) will match newlines if they are not explicitly listed in that negative range. For example, range [^a-z] will match newlines, while range [^a-z\r\n] won't. While this is the expected behavior, it can lead to tricky problems if one doesn't think about it when writing an expression.

View menu

The View menu allows various elements of the main window to be shown or hidden, and also provides various display-related editor options.

Color schemes dialog

The Color Schemes dialog is available under the View->Change Color Scheme menu item. It lists various color schemes for editor highlighting styles, including the default scheme first. Other items are available based on what color scheme files Geany found at startup.

Color scheme files are read from the Configuration file paths under the colorschemes subdirectory. They should have the extension .conf. The default color scheme is read from filetypes.common.

The [named_styles] section and [named_colors] section are the same as for filetypes.common.

The [theme_info] section can contain information about the theme. The name and description keys are read to set the menu item text and tooltip, respectively. These keys can have translations, e.g.:


Symbols and tags files

Upon opening, files of supported filetypes are parsed to extract the symbol information (aka "workspace symbols"). You can also have Geany automatically load external files containing the symbol information (aka "global tags files") upon startup, or manually using Tools --> Load Tags File.

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

Workspace symbols

Each document is parsed for symbols whenever a file is loaded, saved or modified (see Symbol list update frequency preference in the Editor Completions preferences). These are shown in the Symbol list in the Sidebar. These symbols are also used for autocompletion and calltips for all documents open in the current session that have the same filetype.

The Go to Symbol commands can be used with all workspace symbols. See Go to symbol definition.

Global tags files

Global tags files are used to provide symbols for autocompletion and calltips without having to open the source files containing these symbols. 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 File command in the Tools menu.
  • By moving or symlinking tags files to the tags subdirectory of one of the configuration file paths before starting Geany.

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 parser. See the section called Filetype extensions for more information.

Default global tags files

Some global tags files are distributed with Geany and will be loaded automatically when the corresponding filetype is first used. Currently this includes global tags files for these languages:

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

Global tags file format

Global tags files can have three different formats:

  • CTags format
  • Pipe-separated format
  • Tagmanager format

Tag files using the CTags format should be left unmodified in the form generated by the ctags command-line tool.

For the pipe-separated or tagmanager format, the first line of global tag files should be a comment, introduced by # followed by a space and format=pipe or format=tagmanager, respectively; these are case-sensitive. This helps Geany to read the file properly. If this line is missing, Geany tries to auto-detect the format used but this might fail.

CTags format

This is the recommended tags file format, generated by the ctags command-line tool from the universal-ctags project ( This format is compatible with the format historically used by Vi.

The format is described at, but for the full list of existing extensions please refer to universal-ctags. However, note that Geany may actually only honor a subset of the existing extensions.

Pipe-separated format

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

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

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

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

Tagmanager format

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

Generating a global tags file

Generating tags files using ctags

This is currently the recommended way of generating tags files. Unlike the methods below which use the Geany binary for their generation, this method should produce tags files which are compatible across Geany releases, starting from Geany 2.0.

Geany supports loading tag files generated using the ctags command-line tool from the universal-ctags project ( Even though Geany should work with any ctags file, it is recommended to use certain fields to give Geany some additional information. The recommended fields are EfiklsZSt, so to generate symbols for all sources in the my_project directory one can use:

ctags -n --fields=EfiklsZSt -R -o my_project.c.tags my_project

Additional options may be given to the ctags tool, for instance, to restrict the generated tags file to some languages only, use certain tag kinds, etc.

Note that when the l field (specifying the programming language) is enabled, the language of all symbols is set based on the value of this field instead of the language specified in the extension of the tags file. You however still have to name the file according to the same rules regardless of whether the l field is used or not.

Generating tags files using Geany

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

geany -g [-P] <Tags File> <File list>
  • Tags File filename should be in the format described earlier -- see the section called Global tags files.
  • File list is a list of filenames, each with a full path (unless you are generating C/C++ tags files 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++ tags files using Geany

You may need to first setup the C ignore.tags file.

For C/C++ tags files gcc is required by default, so that header files can be preprocessed to include any other headers they depend upon. If you do not want this, use the -P option described above.

For preprocessing, the environment variable CFLAGS should be set with appropriate -I/path include paths. The following example works with the bash shell, generating a tags file 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.

Generating tags files on Windows using Geany

This works basically the same as on other platforms:

"c:\program files\geany\bin\geany" -g c:\mytags.php.tags c:\code\somefile.php

C ignore.tags

You can ignore certain symbols for C-based languages if they would lead to wrong parsing of the code. Use the Tools->Configuration Files->ignore.tags menu item to open the user ignore.tags file. See also Configuration file paths.

List all symbol names you want to ignore in this file, separated by spaces and/or newlines.



This will ignore the above macros and will correctly detect 'Foo' as a type instead of 'BAR' in the following code:

struct Foo BAR { int i; };

In addition, it is possible to specify macro definition similarly to the gcc '-D' option:

<macro>=<definition> Defines a C preprocessor <macro>. This emulates the behavior of the corresponding gcc option. All types of macros are supported, including the ones with parameters and variable arguments. Stringification, token pasting and recursive macro expansion are also supported.

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


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.
Project files
Path to start in when opening project files.
Extra plugin path
By default Geany looks in the system installation and the user configuration - see Plugins. In addition the path entered here will be searched. 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 are available in a common 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.


Another option is to use the Switch to Editor keybinding - it reshows the document statistics on the status bar. See Focus keybindings.

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 go to line fields and the VTE.


Use project-based session files
Save your current session when closing projects. You will be able to resume different project sessions, automatically opening the files you had open previously.
Store project file inside the project base directory
When creating new projects, the default path for the project file contains the project base path. Without this option enabled, the default project file path is one level above the project base path. In either case, you can easily set the final project file path in the New Project dialog. This option provides the more common defaults automatically for convenience.

Interface preferences


Message window

Whether to place the message window on the bottom or right of the editor window.


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.


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.

Interface Notebook tab preferences


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.
Next to current
Whether to place file tabs next to the current tab rather than at the edges of the notebook.
Double-clicking hides all additional widgets
Whether to call the View->Toggle All Additional Widgets command when double-clicking on a notebook tab.
Tab label length
If filenames are long, set the number of characters that should be visible on each tab's label.

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.

Interface 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.
Customize Toolbar
See Customizing the toolbar.


Icon Style
Select the toolbar icon style to use - either icons and text, just icons or just text. The choice System default uses whatever icon style is set by GTK.
Icon size
Select the size of the icons you see (large, small or very small). The choice System default uses whatever icon size is set by GTK.

Editor Features preferences



Line wrapping
Show long lines wrapped around to new display lines.
"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.
Code 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 strips trailing spaces
Remove any whitespace at the end of the line when you hit the Enter/Return key. See also Strip trailing spaces. Note auto indentation is calculated before stripping, so although this setting will clear a blank line, it will not set the next line indentation back to zero.
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.

The width of a single indent size in spaces. By default the indent size is equivalent to 4 spaces.
Detect width from file
Try to detect and set the indent width based on file content, when a file is opened.

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.

Detect type 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 preference allows the tab key to have different meanings in different contexts - e.g. for snippet completion.

Backspace key unindents
If set, pressing backspace while the cursor is in leading whitespace will reduce the indentation level, unless the indentation mode is tabs. Otherwise, the backspace key will delete the character before the cursor.

Editor Completions preferences



Snippet Completion
Whether to replace special keywords after typing Tab into a pre-defined text snippet. See User-definable snippets.
XML/HTML tag auto-closing
When you open an XML/HTML 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 */. If the previous line has no * prefix, no * will be added to the new line.

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 symbol 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.
Symbol list update frequency

The minimum delay (in milliseconds) between two symbol list updates.

This option determines how frequently the symbol list is updated for the current document. The smaller the delay, the more up-to-date the symbol list (and then the completions); but rebuilding the symbol list has a cost in performance, especially with large files.

The default value is 250ms, which means the symbol list will be updated at most four times per second, even if the document changes continuously.

A value of 0 disables automatic updates, so the symbol list will only be updated upon document saving.

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 curly brackets (braces) when typing an opening one
Square brackets [ ]
Auto-close square brackets when typing an opening one
Single quotes ' '
Auto-close single quotes when typing an opening one
Double quotes " "
Auto-close double quotes 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 only non-default line endings
Shows line ending characters only when they differ from the file default line ending character.
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.
Lines visible around the cursor
The number of lines to maintain between the cursor and the top and bottom edges of the view. This allows some lines of context around the cursor to always be visible. If Stop scrolling at last line is disabled, the cursor will never reach the bottom edge when this value is greater than 0.

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.

Virtual spaces

Virtual space is space beyond the end of each line. The cursor may be moved into virtual space but no real space will be added to the document until there is some text typed or some other text insertion command is used.

Do not show virtual spaces
Only for rectangular selections
Only show virtual spaces beyond the end of lines when drawing a rectangular selection
Always show virtual spaces beyond the end of lines

Change History

The change history feature enables changed text in a document to be shown in the markers margin or by underlining the text. By default, the change history feature is disabled.

Newly added, modified and removed lines or words are highlighted to easily track changes to the opened document. The changes can be shown as vertical bars in the markers margin and/or as underlines in the text directly.


This feature may use a moderate amount of memory, especially if there are many or big changes in the document. Also, modification information is not kept when re-opening a document - all change markers will be lost.


The image shows the default visuals:

  • inserted characters appear with coloured underlines
  • points where characters were deleted are shown with small triangles
  • the margin shows a block indicating the overall state of the line, prioritizing the more consequential modified states
  • the states are modified (orange), saved (green), saved then reverted to modified (green-yellow), and saved then reverted to original (cyan).
Show in markers margin
Changes are shown in the markers margin as vertical bars
Show as underline indicators
Changes are shown as underlines in the text directly

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

Ensure newline at file end
Add a newline at the end of the document if one is missing.
Ensure consistent line endings
Ensures that newline characters always get converted before saving, avoiding mixed line endings in the same file.
Strip trailing spaces

Remove any whitespace at the end of each document line.


This does not apply to Diff documents, e.g. patch files.

Replace tabs with spaces

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 command to execute a script in a terminal. Occurrences of %c in the command are substituted with the run script name, see Terminal emulators.
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

See Templates.

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.


Template data

See Template meta 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 {year} wildcard.
Specify a format for the {date} wildcard.
Date & Time
Specify a format for the {datetime} wildcard.

See Date & time wildcards for more information.

Keybinding preferences


There are some commands listed in the keybinding dialog 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 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. For a list of available conversion specifiers see

Various preferences


Rarely used preferences, explained in the table below. A few of them require restart to take effect, and a few other will only affect newly opened or created documents before restart.

Key Description Default Applies
``editor`` group      
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 to new documents
brace_match_ltgt Whether to highlight <, > angle brackets. false immediately
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 immediately
show_editor_scrollbars Whether to display scrollbars. If set to false, the horizontal and vertical scrollbars are hidden completely. true immediately
indent_hard_tab_width The size of a tab character. Don't change it unless you really need to; use the indentation settings instead. 8 immediately
editor_ime_interaction Input method editor (IME)'s candidate window behaviour. May be 0 (windowed) or 1 (inline) 0 to new documents
``interface`` group      
show_symbol_list_expanders Whether to show or hide the small expander icons on the symbol list treeview. true to new documents
compiler_tab_autoscroll Whether to automatically scroll to the last line of the output in the Compiler tab. true immediately
statusbar_template The status bar statistics line format. (See Statusbar Templates for details). See below. immediately
new_document_after_close Whether to open a new document after all documents have been closed. false immediately
msgwin_status_visible Whether to show the Status tab in the Messages Window true immediately
msgwin_compiler_visible Whether to show the Compiler tab in the Messages Window true immediately
msgwin_messages_visible Whether to show the Messages tab in the Messages Window true immediately
msgwin_scribble_visible Whether to show the Scribble tab in the Messages Window true immediately
warn_on_project_close Whether to show a warning when opening a project while one is already open. true immediately
``terminal`` group      
send_selection_unsafe By default, Geany strips any trailing newline characters from the current selection before sending it to the terminal to not execute arbitrary code. This is mainly a security feature. If, for whatever reasons, you really want it to be executed directly, set this option to true. false immediately
send_cmd_prefix String with which prefix the commands sent to the shell. This may be used to tell some shells (BASH with HISTCONTROL set to ignorespace, ZSH with HIST_IGNORE_SPACE enabled, etc.) from putting these commands in their history by setting this to a space. Note that leading spaces must be escaped using s in the configuration file. Empty immediately
``files`` group      
allow_always_save Whether files can be saved always, even if they don't have any changes. By default, the Save button and menu item are disabled when a file is unchanged. When setting this option to true, the Save button and menu item are always active and files can be saved. false immediately
use_atomic_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 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 immediately
use_gio_unsafe_file_saving Whether to use GIO as the unsafe file saving backend. It is better on most situations but is known not to work correctly on some complex setups. true immediately
gio_unsafe_save_backup Make a backup when using GIO unsafe file saving. Backup is named filename~. false immediately
keep_edit_history_on_reload Whether to maintain the edit history when reloading a file, and allow the operation to be reverted. true immediately
reload_clean_doc_on_file_change Whether to automatically reload documents that have no changes but which have changed on disk. If unsaved changes exist then the user is prompted to reload manually. false immediately
save_config_on_file_change Automatically save Geany's configuration to disk once the document list changes (i.e. new documents are opened, saved or closed). This helps to prevent accidentally losing the session file list or other changed settings when Geany is not shut down cleanly. Disable this option if your configuration directory is on a slow drive, network share or similar and you experience problems. true immediately
extract_filetype_regex Regex to extract filetype name from file via capture group one. See ft_regex for default. See link immediately
``search`` group      
find_selection_type See Find selection. 0 immediately
replace_and_find_by_default Set Replace & Find button as default so it will be activated when the Enter key is pressed while one of the text fields has focus. true immediately
``build`` group      
number_ft_menu_items The maximum number of menu items in the filetype build section of the Build menu. 2 on restart
number_non_ft_menu_items The maximum number of menu items in the independent build section. 3 on restart
number_exec_menu_items The maximum number of menu items in the execute section of the Build menu. 2 on restart
``socket`` group      
socket_remote_cmd_port TCP port number to be used for inter process communication (i.e. with other Geany instances, e.g. "Open with Geany"). Only available on Windows, valid port range: 1024 to 65535. 2 on restart

Statusbar Templates

The default statusbar template is (note \t = tab):

line: %l / %L\t col: %c\t sel: %s\t %w      %t      %mEOL: %M      encoding: %e      filetype: %f      scope: %S

Settings the preference to an empty string will also cause Geany to use this internal default.

The following format characters are available for the statusbar template:

Placeholder Description
%l The current line number starting at 1
%L The total number of lines
%c The current column number starting at 0, including virtual space.
%C The current column number starting at 1, including virtual space.
%s The number of selected characters or if only whole lines selected, the number of selected lines.
%n The number of selected characters, even if only whole lines are selected.
%w Shows RO when the document is in read-only mode, otherwise shows whether the editor is in overtype (OVR) or insert (INS) mode.
%t Shows the indentation mode, either tabs (TAB), spaces (SP) or both (T/S).
%m Shows whether the document is modified (MOD) or nothing.
%M The name of the document's line-endings (ex. Unix (LF))
%e The name of the document's encoding (ex. UTF-8).
%f The filetype of the document (ex. None, Python, C, etc).
%S The name of the scope where the caret is located.
%p The caret position in the entire document starting at 0.
%r Shows whether the document is read-only (RO) or nothing.
%Y The Scintilla style number at the caret position. This is useful if you're debugging color schemes or related code.

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.
Background image
Select the background image to show behind the terminal's text.
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. Note that if you run multiple execute commands at once the output may become mixed together in the VTE.
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.
  • Overriding default settings with project equivalents.
  • Configuring the Build menu on a project basis.

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 Projects group of the General Miscellaneous preferences tab of the Preferences dialog.

As long as a project is open, the Build menu will use the items defined in project's settings, instead of the defaults. See Build Menu Configuration for information on configuring the menu.

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.

The project menu items are detailed below.

New project

There are two ways of creating new projects, either by using Project->New menu item or by using Project->New from Folder menu item.


This method is more suitable for creating new, empty projects from scratch at the default location without having any existing sources.

To create a new project, fill in the Name field. By default this will setup a new project file ~/projects/name/name.geany.

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.

New from Folder

This method is more suitable when there is already some folder containing source files for which you want to create a new project.

When using this method, Geany first opens a directory selection dialog to select the folder containing the sources, and the Base path field is set to that value.

Afterwards, Geany shows the same dialog as the Project->New method but already pre-filled with the values based on the Base path selection. The Name field is filled with the folder name, the Filename field is filled with base_path/name.geany and the Base path field is filled with the path specified in the previous dialog.

Project properties

You can set an optional description for the project. Currently it's only used for the {description}} template wildcard - see Dynamic wildcards.

The Base path field is used as the directory to run the Build menu commands. The specified path can be an absolute path or it is considered to be relative to the project's file name.

The File patterns field allows to specify a list of file patterns for the project, which can be used in the Find in files dialog.

The Indentation tab allows you to override the default Indentation settings.

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 menu

After editing code with Geany, the next step is to compile, link, build, interpret, run etc. As Geany supports many languages each with a different approach to such operations, and as there are also many language independent software building systems, Geany does not have a built-in build system, nor does it limit which system you can use. Instead the build menu provides a configurable and flexible means of running any external commands to execute your preferred build system.

This section provides a description of the default configuration of the build menu and then covers how to configure it, and where the defaults fit in.

Running the commands from within Geany has two benefits:

  • The current file is automatically saved before the command is run.
  • The output is captured in the Compiler notebook tab and parsed for warnings or errors.

Warnings and errors that can be parsed for line numbers will be shown in red in the Compiler tab and you can click on them to switch to the relevant source file (or open it) and mark the line number. Also lines with warnings or errors are marked in the source, see Indicators below.


If Geany's default error message parsing does not parse errors for the tool you're using, you can set a custom regex in the Set Build Commands dialog, see Build Menu Configuration.


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. You can remove them by selecting Remove Error Indicators in the Document menu.

If you do not like this feature, you can disable it - see Editor Features preferences.

Default build menu items

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

  • Compile
  • Build
  • Lint
  • Make All
  • Make Custom Target
  • Make Object
  • Next Error
  • Previous Error
  • Execute
  • Set Build Menu Commands


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

For compilable languages such as C and C++, the Compile command is set up 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 if that is not available 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.


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.


Source code linters are often used to find code that doesn't correspond to certain style guidelines: non-portable code, common or hard to find errors, code "smells", variables used before being set, unused functions, division by zero, constant conditions, etc. Linters inspect the code and issue warnings much like the compilers do. This is formally referred to as static code analysis.

Some common linters are pre-configured for you in the Build menu (pycodestyle for Python, cppcheck for C/C++, JSHint for JavaScript, xmllint for XML, hlint for Haskell, shellcheck for shell code, ...), but all these are standalone tools you need to obtain before using.


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

Make custom target

This is similar to running 'Make' 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 the filename for 'current_file'. It is useful for building just the current file without building the whole project.

Next error

The next error item will move to the next detected error in the file.

Previous error

The previous error item will move to the previous detected error in the file.


Execute will run the corresponding executable file, shell script or interpreted script in a terminal window. The command set in the Set Build Commands dialog is run in a script to ensure the terminal stays open after execution completes. Note: see Terminal emulators below for the command format. Alternatively the built-in VTE can be used if it is available - see Virtual terminal emulator widget (VTE).

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


The execute command output is not parsed for errors.

Stopping running processes

When there is a running program, the Execute menu item in the menu and the Run button in the toolbar each become a stop button so you can stop the current running program (and any child processes). This works by sending the SIGQUIT signal to the process.

Depending on the process you started it is possible that the process cannot be stopped. For example this can happen when the process creates more than one child process.

Terminal emulators

The Terminal field of the tools preferences tab requires a command to execute the terminal program and to pass it the name of the Geany run script that it should execute in a Bourne compatible shell (eg /bin/sh). The marker "%c" is substituted with the name of the Geany run script, which is created in the temporary directory and which changes the working directory to the directory set in the Set Build Commands dialog.

As an example the default (Linux) command is:

xterm -e "/bin/sh %c"

Set build commands

By default Compile, Build and Execute are fairly basic commands. You may wish to customise them using Set Build Commands.

E.g. for C 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.

Build menu configuration

The build menu has considerable flexibility and configurability, allowing menu labels, the commands they execute and the directory they execute in to be configured. For example, if you change one of the default make commands to run say 'waf' you can also change the label to match. These settings are saved automatically when Geany is shut down.

The build menu is divided into four groups of items each with different behaviors:

  • Filetype build commands - are configurable and depend on the filetype of the current document; they capture output in the compiler tab and parse it for errors.
  • Independent build commands - are configurable and mostly don't depend on the filetype of the current document; they also capture output in the compiler tab and parse it for errors.
  • Execute commands - are configurable and intended for executing your program or other long running programs. The output is not parsed for errors and is directed to the terminal command selected in Tools preferences.
  • Fixed commands - these perform built-in actions:
    • Go to the next error.
    • Go to the previous error.
    • Show the build menu commands dialog.

The maximum numbers of items in each of the configurable groups can be configured in Various preferences. Even though the maximum number of items may have been increased, only those menu items that have commands configured are shown in the menu.

The groups of menu items obtain their configuration from four potential sources. The highest priority source that has the menu item defined will be used. The sources in decreasing priority are:

  • A project file if open
  • The user preferences
  • The system filetype definitions
  • The defaults

The detailed relationships between sources and the configurable menu item groups is shown in the following table:

Group Project File Preferences System Filetype Defaults
Filetype Build

Loads From: project file

Saves To: project file

Loads From: file in ~/.config/geany/filedefs

Saves to: as above, creating if needed.

Loads From: in Geany install

Saves to: as user preferences left.

Independent Build

Loads From: project file

Saves To: project file

Loads From: geany.conf file in ~/.config/geany

Saves to: as above, creating if needed.

Loads From: in Geany install

Saves to: as user preferences left.

Label: _Make Command: make
Label: Make Custom _Target Command: make
Label: Make _Object Command: make %e.o

Loads From: project file or else filetype defined in project file

Saves To: project file

Loads From: geany.conf file in ~/.config/geany or else file in ~/.config/geany/filedefs

Saves To: file in ~/.config/geany/filedefs

Loads From: in Geany install

Saves To: as user preferences left.

Label: _Execute Command: ./%e

The following notes on the table may reference cells by coordinate as (group, source):

  • Filetype filenames - for substitute the appropriate extension for the filetype of the current document for xxx - see filenames.
  • System Filetypes - Labels loaded from these sources are locale sensitive and can contain translations.
  • (Filetype build, Project and Preferences) - preferences use a full filetype file so that users can configure all other filetype preferences as well. Projects can only configure menu items per filetype. Saving in the project file means that there is only one file per project not a whole directory.
  • (Filetype-Independent build, System Filetype) - although conceptually strange, defining filetype-independent commands in a filetype file, this provides the ability to define filetype dependent default menu items.
  • (Execute, Project and Preferences) - the project independent execute and preferences independent execute commands can only be set by hand editing the appropriate file, see Preferences file format and Project file format.

Set Build Commands dialog

Most of the configuration of the build menu is done through the Set Build Commands dialog. When no project is open, you can edit the configuration sourced from user preferences using the Build->Set Build Commands menu item. You can edit the configuration sourced from a project in the Build tab of the Project Properties dialog. The former menu item also shows the project dialog when a project is open. Both use the same form shown below.


The dialog is divided into three sections:

  • Filetype build commands (selected based on the current document's filetype).
  • Independent build commands (available regardless of filetype).
  • Filetype execute commands.

The filetype and independent build sections also each contain a field for the regular expression used for parsing command output for error and warning messages.

The columns in the first three sections allow setting of the label, command, and working directory to run the command in. An item with an empty label will not be shown in the menu. An empty working directory will default to the directory of the current document.

If there is no current document then the command will not run.

The dialog will always show the command selected by priority, not just the commands configured in this configuration source. This ensures that you always see what the menu item is going to do if activated.

If the current source of the menu item is higher priority than the configuration source you are editing then the command will be shown in the dialog but will be insensitive (greyed out). This can't happen with the project source but can with the preferences source dialog.

The clear buttons remove the definition from the configuration source you are editing. When you do this the command from the next lower priority source will be shown. To hide lower priority menu items without having anything show in the menu, configure with nothing in the label but at least one character in the command.

Substitutions in commands and working directories

Before the command is run, the first occurrence of each of the following two character sequences in each of the command and working directory fields is substituted by the items specified below:

  • %d - the absolute path to the directory of the current file.
  • %e - the name of the current file without the extension or path.
  • %f - the name of the current file without the path.
  • %p - if a project is open, the base path from the project.
  • %l - the line number at the current cursor position.


If the base path set in Project Properties is not an absolute path, then it is taken as relative to the directory of the project file. This allows a project file stored in the source tree to specify all commands and working directories relative to the tree itself, so that the whole tree including the project file, can be moved and even checked into and out of version control without having to re-configure the build menu.

Build menu keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can be defined for:

  • the first two filetype build menu items
  • the first three independent build menu items
  • the first execute menu item
  • the fixed menu items (Next/Previous Error, Set Commands)

In the keybindings configuration dialog (see Keybinding preferences) these items are identified by the default labels shown in the Build Menu section above.

It is currently not possible to bind keyboard shortcuts to more than these menu items. You can also use underlines in the labels to set mnemonic characters.

Old settings

The configurable Build Menu capability was introduced in Geany 0.19 and required a new section to be added to the configuration files (See Preferences file format). Geany will still load older format project, preferences and filetype file settings and will attempt to map them into the new configuration format. There is not a simple clean mapping between the formats. The mapping used produces the most sensible results for the majority of cases. However, if they do not map the way you want, you may have to manually configure some settings using the Set Build Commands dialog.

Any setting configured in either of these dialogs will override settings mapped from older format configuration files.

Printing support

Since Geany 0.13 there has been 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).


The background text color is set to white, except for text with a white foreground. This allows dark color schemes to save ink when printing.

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 with full path information is added 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. For a list of available conversion specifiers see

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 have not installed evince or just want to use another PDF viewer, you can change the program to use in the file settings.ini (usually found in ~/.config/gtk-3.0, see the GTK documentation). For example, use:

gtk-print-preview-command = epdfview %f

Of course, you can also use xpdf, kpdf or whatever as the print preview command. That command should ideally delete the temporary file referenced by %f. See the GTK documentation for the setting for more details.

Geany also provides an alternative basic printing support using a custom print command. 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 many 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:

  • $prefix/lib/geany on Unix-like systems (see Installation prefix)
  • The lib subfolder of the installation path on Windows.
  • The plugins subfolder of the user configuration directory - see Configuration file paths.
  • The Extra plugin path preference (usually blank) - see Paths.

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

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

Plugin manager

The Plugin Manager dialog lets 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 if the plugin provides any.


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 some 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.

See also Notebook tab keybindings.

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 resulting dialog you can press the key combination you want to assign to the action and it will be saved when you press OK. You can define only one key combination for each action and each key combination can only be defined for one action.

The following tables list all customizable keyboard shortcuts, those which are common to many applications are marked with (C) after the shortcut.

File keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
New Ctrl-N (C) Creates a new file.
Open Ctrl-O (C) Opens a file.
Open selected file Ctrl-Shift-O Opens the selected filename.
Re-open last closed tab   Re-opens the last closed document tab.
Save Ctrl-S (C) 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 (C) Closes the current file.
Reload file Ctrl-R (C) Reloads the current file.
Reload all   Reloads all open files. If the reload will not be 'undo'-able and changes that will be lost are detected (unsaved or saved) the reload will be confirmed, otherwise the reload will proceed without confirmation.
Print Ctrl-P (C) Prints the current file.
Quit Ctrl-Q (C) Quits Geany.

Editor keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Undo Ctrl-Z (C) 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.
Delete to line start Ctrl-Shift-BackSpace Deletes from the beginning of the line to the current caret position.
Duplicate line or selection Ctrl-D Duplicates the current line or selection.
Transpose current line   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 symbol completion, it shows document word completion instead, even if it is not enabled for automatic completion. Likewise if no symbol suggestions are available, it shows document word completion.
Show calltip Ctrl-Shift-Space Shows a calltip for the current function or method.
Complete snippet Tab If you type a keyword like if or for and press this key, it will be completed with a matching template - see User-definable snippets.
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 a 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.
Word part completion Tab When the autocompletion list is visible, complete the currently selected item up to the next word part.
Move line(s) up Alt-PageUp Move the current line or selected lines up by one line.
Move line(s) down Alt-PageDown Move the current line or selected lines down by one line.

Clipboard keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Cut Ctrl-X (C) Cut the current selection to the clipboard.
Copy Ctrl-C (C) Copy the current selection to the clipboard.
Paste Ctrl-V (C) 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 keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Select all Ctrl-A (C) 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).
Select to previous word part   (Extend) selection to previous word part boundary.
Select to next word part   (Extend) selection to next word part boundary.

Insert keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
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.
Insert New Line Before Current   Inserts a new line with indentation.
Insert New Line After Current   Inserts a new line with indentation.

Format keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
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 with 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 9 configured commands, see Sending text through custom 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 or the line breaking column if line breaking is enabled for the current document.
Join Lines   Replace line endings and following indentation with a single space throughout the selection or current (indented) text block.

Settings keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Preferences Ctrl-Alt-P Opens preferences dialog.
Plugin Preferences   Opens plugin preferences dialog.

Search keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Find Ctrl-F (C) Opens the Find dialog.
Find Next Ctrl-G Finds next result.
Find Previous Ctrl-Shift-G Finds previous result.
Find Next Selection   Finds next occurrence of selected text.
Find Previous Selection   Finds previous occurrence of selected text.
Replace Ctrl-H (C) 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 Ctrl-Shift-E Finds all occurrences of the current word or selection (see note below) in all open documents and displays them in the messages window.
Find Document Usage Ctrl-Shift-D Finds all occurrences of the current word or selection (see note below) in the current document and displays them in the messages window.
Mark All Ctrl-Shift-M Highlight all matches of the current word/selection (see note below) in the current document with a colored box. If there's nothing to find, or the cursor is next to an existing match, the highlighted matches will be cleared.


The keybindings marked "see note below" work like this: if no text is selected, the word under cursor is used, and it has to match fully (like when Match only a whole word is enabled in the Search dialog). However if some text is selected, then it is matched regardless of word boundaries.

Go to keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Navigate forward a location Alt-Right (C) Switches to the next location in the navigation history. See the section called Code Navigation History.
Navigate back a location Alt-Left (C) Switches to the previous location in the navigation history. See the section called Code navigation history.
Go to line Ctrl-L Focuses the Go to Line entry (if visible) or shows the Go to line dialog.
Go to 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.
Go to next marker Ctrl-. Go to the next marker in the current document.
Go to previous marker Ctrl-, Go to the previous marker in the current document.
Go to symbol definition Ctrl-T Jump to the definition of the current word or selection. See Go to symbol definition.
Go to symbol declaration Ctrl-Shift-T Jump to the declaration of the current word or selection. See Go to symbol declaration.
Go to Start of Line Home Move the caret to the start of the line. Behaves differently if smart_home_key is set.
Go to End of Line End Move the caret to the end of the line.
Go to Start of Display Line Alt-Home Move the caret to the start of the display line. This is useful when you use line wrapping and want to jump to the start of the wrapped, virtual line, not the real start of the whole line. If the line is not wrapped, it behaves like Go to Start of Line.
Go to End of Display Line Alt-End Move the caret to the end of the display line. If the line is not wrapped, it behaves like Go to End of Line.
Go to Previous Word Part Ctrl-/ Go to the previous part of the current word.
Go to Next Word Part Ctrl-\ Go to the next part of the current word.

View keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Fullscreen F11 (C) 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 status bar.
Zoom In Ctrl-+ (C) Zooms in the text.
Zoom Out Ctrl-- (C) Zooms out the text.
Zoom Reset Ctrl-0 Reset any previous zoom on the text.

Focus keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Switch to Editor F2 Switches to editor widget. Also reshows the document statistics line (after a short timeout).
Switch to Search Bar F7 Switches to the search bar in the toolbar (if visible).
Switch to Message Window   Focus the Message Window's current tab.
Switch to Compiler   Focus the Compiler message window tab.
Switch to Messages   Focus the Messages message window tab.
Switch to Scribble F6 Switches to scribble widget.
Switch to VTE F4 Switches to VTE widget.
Switch to Sidebar   Focus the Sidebar.
Switch to Sidebar Symbol List   Focus the Symbol list tab in the Sidebar (if visible).
Switch to Sidebar Document List   Focus the Document list tab in the Sidebar (if visible).

Notebook tab keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Switch to left document Ctrl-PageUp (C) Switches to the previous open document.
Switch to right document Ctrl-PageDown (C) 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 Ctrl-Shift-PageUp Changes the current document with the left hand one.
Move document right Ctrl-Shift-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.

Document keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Clone   See Cloning documents.
Replace tabs with space   Replaces all tabs with the right amount of spaces in the whole document, or the current selection.
Replace spaces with tabs   Replaces leading spaces with tab characters in the whole document, or the current selection.
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 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.
Remove Markers   Remove any markers on lines or words which were set by using 'Mark All' in the search dialog or by manually marking lines.
Remove Error Indicators   Remove any error indicators in the current document.
Remove Markers and Error Indicators   Combines Remove Markers and Remove Error Indicators.

Project keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
New   Create a new project.
Open   Opens a project file.
Properties   Shows project properties.
Close   Close the current project.

Build keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
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 Shift-F8 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.
Set Build Commands   Opens the build commands dialog.

Tools keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Show Color Chooser   Opens the Color Chooser dialog.

Help keybindings

Action Default shortcut Description
Help F1 (C) Opens the manual.

Configuration files


You must use UTF-8 encoding without BOM for configuration files.

Configuration file paths

Geany has default configuration files installed for the system and also per-user configuration files.

The system files should not normally be edited because they will be overwritten when upgrading Geany.

The user configuration directory can be overridden with the -c switch, but this is not normally done. See Command line options.


Any missing subdirectories in the user configuration directory will be created when Geany starts.

You can check the paths Geany is using with Help->Debug Messages. Near the top there should be 2 lines with something like:

Geany-INFO: System data dir: /usr/share/geany
Geany-INFO: User config dir: /home/username/.config/geany

Paths on Unix-like systems

The system path is $prefix/share/geany, where $prefix is the path where Geany is installed (see Installation prefix).

The user configuration directory is normally: /home/username/.config/geany

Paths on Windows

The system path is the data subfolder of the installation path on Windows.

The user configuration directory might vary, but on Windows XP it's: C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\geany On Windows 7 and above you most likely will find it at: C:\users\UserName\Roaming\geany

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 not shown here will need to be opened manually, and will not be automatically reloaded when saved. (see Reload Configuration below).

There's also a Reload Configuration item which can be used if you updated one of the other configuration files, or modified or added template files.

Reload Configuration is also necessary to update syntax highlighting colors.


Syntax highlighting colors aren't updated in open documents after saving filetypes.common as this may take a significant amount of time.

Customizing Geany's appearance using GTK+ CSS

To override GTK+ CSS styles, you can use traditional mechanisms or you can use the Tools->Configuration files menu to open a file named geany.css which will be loaded after other CSS styles are applied to allow overriding the default styles.

Geany offers a number of CSS IDs which can be used to taylor its appearance. Among the more interesting include:

  • geany-compiler-context - the style used for build command output surrounding errors
  • geany-compiler-error - the style used for build command errors
  • geany-compiler-message - the style other output encountered while running build command
  • geany-document-status-changed - the style for document tab labels when the document is changed
  • geany-document-status-disk-changed - the style for document tab labels when the file on disk has changed
  • geany-document-status-readyonly` - the style for document tab labels when the document is read-only
  • geany-search-entry-no-match - the style of find/replace dialog entries when no match is found
  • geany-terminal-dirty - the style for the message window Terminal tab label when the terminal output has changed.

Global configuration file

System administrators can add a global configuration file for Geany which will be used when starting Geany and a user configuration file does not exist.

The global configuration file is read from geany.conf in the system configuration path - see Configuration file paths. 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. Usually 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.

See also Configuration file paths.


Each filetype has a corresponding filetype definition file. The format for built-in filetype Foo is:

The extension is normally just the filetype name in lower case.

However there are some exceptions:

Filetype Extension
C++ cpp
C# cs
Make makefile
Matlab/Octave matlab

There is also the special file filetypes.common.

For custom filetypes, the filename for Foo is different:


See the link for details.

System files

The system-wide filetype configuration files can be found in the system configuration path and are called filetypes.$ext, where $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 that users edit the system-wide files, because they will be overridden when Geany is updated.

User files

To change the settings, copy a file from the system configuration path to the subdirectory filedefs in your user configuration directory. Then you can edit the file and the changes will still be available after an update of Geany.

Alternatively, you can create the file yourself and add only the settings you want to change. All missing settings will be read from the corresponding system configuration file.

Custom filetypes

At startup Geany looks for filetypes.*.conf files in the system and user filetype paths, adding any filetypes found with the name matching the '*' wildcard - e.g. filetypes.Bar.conf.

Custom filetypes are not as powerful as built-in filetypes, but support for the following has been implemented:

  • Recognizing and setting the filetype (after the user has manually updated the filetype extensions file).
  • Filetype group membership.
  • Reading filetype settings in the [settings] section, including:
  • Build commands ([build-menu] section).
  • Loading global tags files (sharing the tag_parser filetype's namespace).

See Filetype configuration for details on each setting.

Creating a custom filetype from an existing filetype

Because most filetype settings will relate to the syntax highlighting (e.g. styling, keywords, lexer_properties sections), it is best to copy an existing filetype file that uses the lexer you wish to use as the basis of a custom filetype, using the correct filename extension format shown above, e.g.:

cp filetypes.Bar.conf

Then add the lexer_filetype=Foo setting (if not already present) and add/adjust other settings.


The [styling] and [keywords] sections have key names specific to each filetype/lexer. You must follow the same names - in particular, some lexers only support one keyword list, or none.

Filetype configuration

As well as the sections listed below, each filetype file can contain a [build-menu] section as described in [build-menu] section.

[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 or # similar to HTML/CSS hex triplets. For example, all of the following are valid values for pure red; 0xff0000, 0xf00, #ff0000, or #f00. The values are case-insensitive but it is a good idea to use lower-case. Note that you can also use named colors as well by substituting the color value with the name of a color as defined in the [named_colors] section, see the [named_colors] Section for more information.

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 values from the style named "default".

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.

Reading styles from another filetype

You can automatically copy all of the styles from another filetype definition file by using the following syntax for the [styling] group:


Where Foo is a filetype name. The corresponding [styling] section from will be read.

This is useful when the same lexer is being used for multiple filetypes (e.g. C/C++/C#/Java/etc). For example, to make the C++ styling the same as the C styling, you would put the following in filetypes.cpp:


[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.

[lexer_properties] section

Here any special properties for the Scintilla lexer can be set in the format

Properties Geany uses are listed in the system filetype files. To find other properties you need Geany's source code:

egrep -o 'GetProperty\w*\("([^"]+)"[^)]+\)' scintilla/Lex*.cxx

[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)


This overrides the wordchars filetypes.common setting, and has precedence over the whitespace_chars setting.


A character or string which is used to comment code. If you want to use multiline comments only, don't set this but rather comment_open and comment_close.

Single-line comments are used in priority over multiline comments to comment a line, e.g. with the Comment/Uncomment line command.

Example: comment_single=//


A character or string which is used to comment code. You need to also set comment_close to really use multiline comments. If you want to use single-line comments, prefer setting comment_single.

Multiline comments are used in priority over single-line comments to comment a block, e.g. template comments.

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 the current 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"

The TagManager language name, e.g. "C". Usually the same as the filetype name.

A filetype name to setup syntax highlighting from another filetype. This must not be recursive, i.e. it should be a filetype name that doesn't use the lexer_filetype key itself, e.g.:


The second line is wrong, because filetypes.cpp itself uses lexer_filetype=C, which would be recursive.


What the default symbol list sort order should be.

Value Meaning
0 Sort symbols by name
1 Sort symbols by appearance (line number)
If this setting is set to true, a new line after a line ending with an unclosed XML/HTML tag will be automatically indented. This only applies to filetypes for which the HTML or XML lexer is used. Such filetypes have this setting in their system configuration files.
The MIME type for this file type, e.g. "text/x-csrc". This is used for example to chose the icon to display for this file type.

[indentation] section

This section allows definition of default indentation settings specific to the file type, overriding the ones configured in the preferences. This can be useful for file types requiring specific indentation settings (e.g. tabs only for Makefile). These settings don't override auto-detection if activated.

The forced indentation width.

The forced indentation type.

Value Indentation type
0 Spaces only
1 Tabs only
2 Mixed (tabs and spaces)

[build-menu] filetype section

This supports the same keys as the geany.conf [build-menu] section.


FT_00_CM=gcc -c "%f"
FT_01_CM=gcc -o "%e" "%f"

[build_settings] section

As of Geany 0.19 this section is for legacy support. Values that are set in the [build-menu] section will override those in this section.

If any build menu item settings have been configured in the Set Build Commands dialog (or the Build tab of the Project Properties dialog), then these settings are stored in the [build-menu] section and will override the settings in this section for that item.

See the [build-menu] section for details.

Build commands


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.

You can open the user filetypes.common with the Tools->Configuration Files->filetypes.common menu item. This adds the default settings to the user file if the file doesn't exist. Alternatively the file can be created manually, adding only the settings you want to change. All missing settings will be read from the system file.


See the Filetype configuration 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.

[named_colors] section

Named colors declared here can be used in the [styling] or [named_styles] section of any filetypes.* file or color scheme.

For example:



This allows to define a color palette by name so that to change a color scheme-wide only involves changing the hex value in a single location.

[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_width=3


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

Line number margin foreground and background colors.
Fold margin foreground and background colors.
Highlight color of folding symbols.

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
  • 3 -- for arrows
  • 4 -- for +/-

Valid values for the second argument are:

  • 0 -- for no lines
  • 1 -- for straight lines
  • 2 -- for curved lines

Default: folding_style=1;1;

Arrows: folding_style=3;0;


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 arguments are 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 arguments are 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 arguments are interpreted.

Example: translucency=256;256;false;false


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

Only the first and second arguments are 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 color 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 arguments are 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 arguments are 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 arguments are interpreted.

Example: line_height=0;0;false;false


The style for coloring the calltips. The first two arguments define the foreground and background colors, the third and fourth arguments set whether to use the defined colors.

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


The color of the error indicator.

Only the first argument (foreground color) is used.

Example: indicator_error=0xff0000

[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!\"#$%&'()*+,-./:;<=>?@[\\]^`{|}~


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

Example: wordchars=_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0123456789


This has precedence over the whitespace_chars setting.

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 to detect filetypes using the user filetype_extensions.conf file. Use the Tools->Configuration Files->filetype_extensions.conf menu item. See also Configuration file paths.

You should only list lines for filetype extensions that you want to override in the user configuration file and remove or comment out others. The patterns are listed after the = sign, using a semi-colon separated list of patterns which should be matched for that filetype.

For example, to override the filetype extensions for Make, the file should look like:


Filetype group membership

Filetype groups are used in the Document->Set Filetype menu.

Group membership is also stored in filetype_extensions.conf. This file is used to store information Geany needs at startup, whereas the separate filetype definition files hold information only needed when a document with their filetype is used.

The format looks like:


The key names cannot be configured.


Group membership is only read at startup.


You can make commonly used filetypes appear in the top-level of the filetype menu by adding them to the None group, e.g. None=C;Python.

Preferences file format

The user preferences file geany.conf holds settings for all the items configured in the preferences dialog. This file should not be edited while Geany is running as the file will be overwritten when the preferences in Geany are changed or Geany is quit.

[build-menu] section

The [build-menu] section contains the configuration of the build menu. This section can occur in filetype, preferences and project files and always has the format described here. Different menu items are loaded from different files, see the table in the Build Menu Configuration section for details. All the settings can be configured from the dialogs except the execute command in filetype files and filetype definitions in the project file, so these are the only ones which need hand editing.

Error regular expression


This is a Perl-compatible regular expression (PCRE) to parse a filename (absolute or relative) and line number from the build output. If undefined, Geany will fall back to its default error message parsing.

Only the first two match groups will be read by Geany. These groups can occur in any order: the match group consisting of only digits will be used as the line number, and the other group as the filename. In no group consists of only digits, the match will fail.

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

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

Project file format

The project file contains project related settings and possibly a record of the current session files.

[build-menu] additions

The project file also can have extra fields in the [build-menu] section in addition to those listed in [build-menu] section above.

When filetype menu items are configured for the project they are stored in the project file.

The filetypes entry is a list of the filetypes which exist in the project file.

For each filetype the entries for that filetype have the format defined in [build-menu] section but the key is prefixed by the name of the filetype as it appears in the filetypes entry, eg the entry for the label of filetype menu item 0 for the C filetype would be



Geany supports the following templates:

  • ChangeLog entry
  • File header
  • Function description
  • Short GPL notice
  • Short BSD notice
  • File templates

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.


Geany automatically reloads template information when it notices you save a file in the user's template configuration directory. You can also force this by selecting Tools->Reload Configuration.

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.

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. If there is more than one template for a filetype then they will be grouped in a submenu.

By default, file templates are installed for some filetypes. Custom file templates can be added by creating the appropriate template file. You can also edit the default file templates.

The file's contents are just the text to place in the document, with optional template wildcards like {fileheader}. The fileheader wildcard can be placed anywhere, but it's usually put on the first line of the file, followed by a blank line.

Adding file templates

File templates are read from templates/files under the Configuration file paths.

The filetype to use is detected from the template file's extension, if any. For example, creating a file module.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.

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}.

Wildcards for character escaping

Wildcard Description Available in
ob { Opening Brace (used to prevent other wildcards being expanded). file templates, file header, snippets.
cb } Closing Brace. file templates, file header, snippets.
pc % Percent (used to escape e.g. %block% in snippets). snippets.
Global wildcards

These are configurable, see Template preferences.

Wildcard Description Available in
developer The name of the developer. file 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. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
mail The email address of the developer. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
company The company the developer is working for. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
version The initial version of a new file. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
Date & time wildcards

The format for these wildcards can be changed in the preferences dialog, see Template preferences. For a list of available conversion specifiers see

Wildcard Description Available in
year The current year. Default format is: YYYY. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
date The current date. Default format: YYYY-MM-DD. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
datetime The current date and time. Default format: DD.MM.YYYY HH:mm:ss ZZZZ. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
Dynamic wildcards
Wildcard Description Available in
untitled The string "untitled" (this will be translated to your locale), used in file templates. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
geanyversion The actual Geany version, e.g. "Geany 2.0". file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
filename The filename of the current file. For new files, it's only replaced when first saving if found on the first 4 lines of the file. file header, snippets, file templates.
project The current project's name, if any. file header, snippets, file templates.
description The current project's description, if any. file header, snippets, file templates.
functionname The function name of the function at the cursor position. This wildcard will only be replaced in the function description template. function description.
command:path Executes the specified command and replace the wildcard with the command's standard output. See Special {command:} wildcard for details. file templates, file header, function description, ChangeLog entry, bsd, gpl, snippets.
Template insertion wildcards
Wildcard Description Available in
gpl This wildcard inserts a short GPL notice. file header.
bsd This wildcard inserts a BSD licence notice. file header.
fileheader The file header template. This wildcard will only be replaced in file templates. snippets, file templates.
Special {command:} wildcard

The {command:} wildcard is a special one because it can execute a specified command and put the command's output (stdout) into the template.


{command:uname -a}

will result in:

Linux localhost 2.6.9-023stab046.2-smp #1 SMP Mon Dec 10 15:04:55 MSK 2007 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Using this wildcard you can insert nearly any arbitrary text into the template.

In the environment of the executed command the variables GEANY_FILENAME, GEANY_FILETYPE and GEANY_FUNCNAME are set. The value of these variables is filled in only if Geany knows about it. For example, GEANY_FUNCNAME is only filled within the function description template. However, these variables are always set, just maybe with an empty value. You can easily access them e.g. within an executed shell script using:



If the specified command could not be found or not executed, the wildcard is substituted by an empty string. In such cases, you can find the occurred error message on Geany's standard error and in the Help->Debug Messages dialog.

Customizing the toolbar

You can add, remove and reorder the elements in the toolbar by using the toolbar editor, or by manually editing the configuration 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 the toolbar layout

To override the system-wide configuration file, copy it to your user configuration directory (see Configuration file paths).

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 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

HTML Characters

The HTML Characters plugin helps when working with special characters in XML/HTML, e.g. German Umlauts ü and ä.

Insert entity dialog

When the plugin is enabled, you can insert special character entities using Tools->Insert Special HTML Characters.

This opens up a dialog where you can find a huge amount of special characters sorted by category that you might like to use inside your document. You can expand and collapse the categories by clicking on the little arrow on the left hand side. Once you have found the desired character click on it and choose "Insert". This will insert the entity for the character at the current cursor position. You might also like to double click the chosen entity instead.

Replace special chars by its entity

To help make a XML/HTML document valid the plugin supports replacement of special chars known by the plugin. Both bulk replacement and immediate replacement during typing are supported.

A few characters will not be replaced. These are
  • "
  • &
  • <
  • >
  • (&nbsp;)

At typing time

You can activate/deactivate this feature using the Tools->HTML Replacement->Auto-replace Special Characters menu item. If it's activated, all special characters (beside the given exceptions from above) known by the plugin will be replaced by their entities.

You could also set a keybinding for the plugin to toggle the status of this feature.

Bulk replacement

After inserting a huge amount of text, e.g. by using copy & paste, the plugin allows bulk replacement of all known characters (beside the mentioned exceptions). You can find the function under the same menu at Tools->HTML Replacement->Replace Characters in Selection, or configure a keybinding for the plugin.

Save Actions

Auto Save

This plugin provides an option to automatically save documents. You can choose to save the current document, or all of your documents, at a given delay.

Save on focus out

You can save the current document when the editor's focus goes out. Every pop-up, menu dialogs, or anything else that can make the editor lose the focus, will make the current document to be saved.

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 after the file has been saved in Geany.

The created backup copy file permissions are set to read-write only for the user. This should help to not create world-readable files on possibly unsecure destination directories like /tmp (especially useful on multi-user systems). This applies only to non-Windows systems. On Windows, no explicit file permissions are set.

Additionally, you can define how many levels of the original file's directory structure should be replicated in the backup copy path. For example, setting the option Directory levels to include in the backup destination to 2 cause the plugin to create the last two components of the original file's path in the backup copy path and place the new file there.

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 Git to make sure you've got the newest version. First, you need to configure the build system to generate the HTML documentation passing the --enable-html-docs option to the configure script. Then after editing the file, run make (from the root build directory or from the doc subdirectory) to build the HTML documentation and see how your changes look. This regenerates the geany.html file inside the doc subdirectory. To generate a PDF file, configure with --enable-pdf-docs and run make as for the HTML version. The generated PDF file is named geany-2.0.pdf and is located inside the doc subdirectory.

After you are happy with your changes, create a patch e.g. by using:

% git diff geany.txt > foo.patch

or even better, by creating a Git-formatted patch which will keep authoring and description data, by first committing your changes (doing so in a fresh new branch is recommended for master not to diverge from upstream) and then using git format-patch:

% git checkout -b my-documentation-changes # create a fresh branch
% git commit geany.txt
Write a good commit message...
% git format-patch HEAD^
% git checkout master # go back to master

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

Also you can clone the Geany repository at GitHub and send a pull request.

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 appropriate keys (see Column mode editing (rectangular selections)).

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.
  • Middle-click on a document's notebook tab to close the document.
  • Hold Ctrl and click on any notebook tab to switch to the last used 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.


  • 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 Symbol 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.

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_FILETYPE_SEARCH_LINES The number of lines to search for the filetype with the extract filetype regex. 2


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 command, see Terminal emulators. See below.
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
GEANY_DEFAULT_FILETYPE_REGEX The default regex to extract filetypes from files. See below.

The GEANY_DEFAULT_FILETYPE_REGEX default value is -\*-\s*([^\s]+)\s*-\*- which finds Emacs filetypes.

The GEANY_DEFAULT_TOOLS_TERMINAL default value on Windows is:

cmd.exe /Q /C %c

and on any non-Windows system is:

xterm -e "/bin/sh %c"


Option Description Default
GEANY_BUILD_ERR_HIGHLIGHT_MAX Amount of build error indicators to be shown in the editor window. This affects the special coloring when Geany detects a compiler output line as an error message and then highlights the corresponding line in the source code. Usually only the first few messages are interesting because following errors are just after-effects. All errors in the Compiler window are parsed and unaffected by this value. 50
PRINTBUILDCMDS Every time a build menu item priority calculation is run, print the state of the menu item table in the form of the table in Build Menu Configuration. May be useful to debug configuration file overloading. Warning produces a lot of output. Can also be enabled/disabled by the debugger by setting printbuildcmds to 1/0 overriding the compile setting. FALSE

GNU General Public License

               Version 2, June 1991

 Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
    51 Franklin Street, 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
anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights.
These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you
distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

  For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether
gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that
you have.  You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the
source code.  And you must show them these terms so they know their

  We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and
(2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy,
distribute and/or modify the software.

  Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain
that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free
software.  If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we
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  Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software
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patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.

  The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and
modification follow.


  0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed
under the terms of this General Public License.  The "Program", below,
refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program"
means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law:
that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it,
either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another
language.  (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in
the term "modification".)  Each licensee is addressed as "you".

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act of
running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

  1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the
notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty;
and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License
along with the Program.

You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and
you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

  2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1
above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
    stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

    b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
    whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
    part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
    parties under the terms of this License.

    c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively
    when run, you must cause it, when started running for such
    interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an
    announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a
    notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide
    a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under
    these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this
    License.  (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but
    does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on
    the Program is not required to print an announcement.)

These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole.  If
identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program,
and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in
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distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based
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Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or contest
your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the intent is to
exercise the right to control the distribution of derivative or
collective works based on the Program.

In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program
with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of
a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under
the scope of this License.

  3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
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    a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
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    1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
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  4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
except as expressly provided under this License.  Any attempt
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  5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
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  6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
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infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
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may not distribute the Program at all.  For example, if a patent
license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by
all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then
the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to
refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

If any portion of this section is held invalid or unenforceable under
any particular circumstance, the balance of the section is intended to
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It is not the purpose of this section to induce you to infringe any
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to distribute software through any other system and a licensee cannot
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This section is intended to make thoroughly clear what is believed to
be a consequence of the rest of this License.

  8. If the distribution and/or use of the Program is restricted in
certain countries either by patents or by copyrighted interfaces, the
original copyright holder who places the Program under this License
may add an explicit geographical distribution limitation excluding
those countries, so that distribution is permitted only in or among
countries not thus excluded.  In such case, this License incorporates
the limitation as if written in the body of this License.

  9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions
of the General Public License from time to time.  Such new versions will
be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to
address new problems or concerns.

Each version is given a distinguishing version number.  If the Program
specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any
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either of that version or of any later version published by the Free
Software Foundation.  If the Program does not specify a version number of
this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software

  10. If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free
programs whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author
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Software Foundation, write to the Free Software Foundation; we sometimes
make exceptions for this.  Our decision will be guided by the two goals
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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 Street, 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.