#editor #pepper #modal

bin+lib pepper

A simple and opinionated modal code editor for your terminal

30 releases (9 breaking)

0.10.6 May 25, 2021
0.9.1 May 16, 2021
0.6.0 Feb 7, 2021
0.5.10 Dec 19, 2020
0.1.0 Apr 22, 2020

#8 in Text editors

Download history 3/week @ 2021-02-21 4/week @ 2021-02-28 13/week @ 2021-03-07 2/week @ 2021-03-14 26/week @ 2021-03-21 29/week @ 2021-03-28 29/week @ 2021-04-04 35/week @ 2021-04-11 84/week @ 2021-04-18 14/week @ 2021-04-25 180/week @ 2021-05-02 24/week @ 2021-05-09 106/week @ 2021-05-16 96/week @ 2021-05-23 15/week @ 2021-05-30 40/week @ 2021-06-06

195 downloads per month

GPL-3.0 license

24K SLoC

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A simple and opinionated modal code editor for your terminal

main screenshot

more screenshots

Pepper is an experiment of mine to simplify code editing from the terminal. It's mission is to be a minimal and fast code editor with an orthogonal set of both editing and navigation features.

help page

default keybindings

command reference

defining language syntaxes

config recipes



Pepper is open-source, which means you're free to build it and access all of its features. However, to support the development, prebuilt binaries are available for purchase at itch.


This will not only keep you updated with the latest features/fixes but also support further pepper development!

using cargo

Simply running cargo install pepper will get you up and running.

from source

git clone git@github.com:vamolessa/pepper.git
cd pepper
cargo install --path . --force

NOTE: installing from source still requires cargo (at least it's easier this way).

if you find a bug or need help

Please open an issue


  • small, but orthogonal, set of editing primitives
  • mnemonic and easy to reach default keybindings (assuming a qwerty keyboard)
  • cross-plaftorm (Windows, Linux, BSD, Mac)
  • extensible through external cli tools
  • be as fast and reponsive as possible

non goals

  • support every possible workflow (it will never ever get close to feature parity with vim or emacs)
  • complex ui (like breadcumbs, floating windows, extra status bars, etc)
  • multiple viewports (leave that to your window manager/terminal multiplexer. Instead clients can connect to each other and act together as if they're a single application)
  • undo tree
  • support for text encodings other than UTF-8
  • fuzzy file picker (you can integrate with fzf, skim, fd, etc)
  • workspace wide search (you can integrate with grep, ripgrep, etc)
  • having any other feature that could be implemented by integrating an external tool


  • everything is reachable through the keyboard
  • modal editing
  • multiple cursors
  • caret style cursors (like most text editors, cursors can move past last line character and text is always inserted to its left)
  • text-object selection
  • keyboard macros
  • client/server architecture
  • simple syntax highlighting
  • language server protocol


In the spirit of Handmade, all features are coded from scratch using simple stable Rust code. These are the only external crates being used in the project:

  • winapi (windows-only): needed to implement windows platform layer
  • libc (unix-only): needed to implement unix platform layer

modal editing

Pepper is modal which means keypresses do different things depending on which mode you're in. However, it's also designed to have few modes so the overhead is minimal. Most of the time, users will be in either normal or insert mode.

comparing to vim

Like Vim, you have to actively start text selection. However, unlike it, you can also manipulate selections in normal mode. Also, there's no 'action' then 'movement'. There's only selections and actions. That is, d will always only delete selected text. If the selection was empty, it does nothing.

Pepper expands on Vim's editing capabilities by supporting multiple cursors. This enables you to make several text transformations at once. Also, cursors behave like carets instead of blocks and can always go one-past-last-character-in-line.

In config recipes you'll find some basic "vim-like" keybindigns for more vim comparisons.

comparing to kakoune

Like Kakoune, you can manipulate selections while in normal mode and actions always operate on selections. However, unlike it, normal mode remembers if you're selecting text or nor (think a pseudo-mode). This way, there's no need for extra alt- based keybindings.

Pepper is heavily inspired by Kakoune's selection based workflow and multiple cursors. However its cursors behave like caret ranges instead of block selections. That is, the cursor is not a one-char selection but only a visual cue to indicate the caret location.

development thread

It's possible to kinda follow Pepper's development history in this twitter thread

support pepper development

Pepper is open-source, which means you're free to build it and access all of its features. However, to support the development, prebuilt binaries are available for purchase at itch.

Please consider purchasing in order to support both the development of new features and bug fixing. I'll be forever grateful :)

<iframe src="https://itch.io/embed/810985?border_width=0" width="206" height="165" frameborder="0"> pepper by Matheus Lessa </iframe>