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System Requirements

  • Mac OSX 10.6.8 or newer
  • Windows Vista, 7, or 8/8.1 (x32 and x64) (installer requires administrator access)
  • Linux Ubuntu 12.04 or newer (x32 and x64)
  • Debian Linux 8 or newer (for Debian 7 compatibility see issue #4816)
  • At least 2 GB of RAM for Live Development

Can't Install Brackets

1. Download the Right Package

Make sure you download one of the "brackets-sprint-XX.dmg" (Mac) or "brackets-sprint-XX.msi" (Windows) installers from the Downloads page.

2. Windows Vista: Nothing happens when launching installer

Some Windows Vista computers will block installers downloaded from the Internet, so nothing at all happens when you try to run the installer. To work around this: right-click the installer file, choose Properties, and click the Unblock button.

3. Windows error: "Installation directory must be on a local drive"

This can happen on some Windows machines. To work around this, try executing the installer from an elevated command prompt:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt using one of the techniques on this page:
  2. cd to the folder containing the installer.
  3. Run the installer using msiexec, e.g.: msiexec /i "brackets-sprint-xx-WIN.msi" (where "xx" is the sprint number)

Can't Launch Brackets

1. Check the File Permissions

If Brackets won't launch, check the permissions of the main executable files (e.g. using ls -l). On Mac:

  • bin/mac/ should be drwxr-xr-x
  • bin/mac/ should be -rwxr-xr-x

To fix permissions, use a command like chmod +x bin/mac/

Some archiving programs, such as Keka don't appear to preserve file permissions when unarchiving zip files. (More info here). If you run into this issue on Mac, try to unarchive the zip file by using Finder.

2. Clear The Cache

If you had previously used Brackets, your cache may have information that is conflicting with the most recent version. Find your cache folder and delete the cache. Warning: this will reset all of your Brackets preferences.

3. Run Brackets From The Command Line

Next, try running Brackets from the command line. Open up a Terminal (or Command Prompt in Windows), navigate to the executable, and run Brackets. (On Mac, type open bin/mac/ Did an error appear? If so, file an issue or find us on IRC or the mailing list and we'll try to figure it out.

Live Preview Isn't Working

CSS, HTML, and JavaScript Editing

Currently, Live Development works differently for different types of files:

  • For CSS, all changes are applied in the browser immediately as you type, without reloading the page.
    • CSS preprocessors are not currently supported - they are treated as "other file types" below
  • For HTML, most changes are applied in the browser immediately as you type. Updating pauses when the page is syntactically invalid (e.g. after you type '<' for a new tag but before you type the closing '>'), and the line number and Live Preview icon turn red. Brackets will resume pushing changes to the browser when syntax becomes valid again.
    • HTML live updating is disabled if you've specified a custom server URL in Project Settings.
  • For JavaScript and other file types, when you save your changes, the page is reloaded to reflect your changes.

See How to Use Brackets for more details.

Files should be in Current Project

You can use File > Open to open any file on your computer, but Brackets' definition of a project are the files in the folder opened using File > Open Folder.... Some (but not all) Live Development features require a node server, which means being in the current project, so make sure the files that you want to use with Live Development are in the current project.

Disable Extensions

The Theseus extension is known to cause problems with Live Preview, and other extensions could potentially interfere also. Use Debug > Reload Without Extensions to quickly see if the problem is being caused by an extension.

HTML Page is not Updating in Browser as you Type

Brackets pauses sending updates to browser when it detects an HTML Syntax Error. In this case, it should color the line number in red (but this can be scrolled out of view) so scroll through entire page to verify that there are no highlighted line numbers.

The Live Preview lightning bolt icon should be also colored red and have a tooltip of "Live Preview (not updating due to syntax error)" in this case, but there's a known bug being tracked as issue #7126 where this sometimes doesn't happen. See issue #7126 for an illustrated description including the line number and icon coloring.

There is an issue regarding "Live Preview can never update if initially launched with syntax error", so after fixing a syntax error, try stopping and restarting Live Preview.

Using a Local Server

To use a local server, you need to specify a Base URL in the File > Project Settings... dialog (see How to Use Brackets for details).

If you're using a local server and are seeing these messages such as "Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to localhost:[port]" (in Chrome) or "Unable to load Live Development page" (in Brackets), verify that your local server has been started.

As noted above, live HTML updating is disabled when using your own custom local server.

Install Chrome For Multiple User Accounts (Windows Only)

If you get the error An error occurred when launching the browser. (error 2) when doing Live Development, installing Chrome for multiple user accounts may solve the issue.

Restart Your Computer

If you keep getting errors when trying to launch Chrome, or if you keep getting prompted to restart Chrome, try rebooting your machine. Rebooting has resolved many odd issues with Live Development.

Keep Chrome Open

Try leaving an extra blank tab open in the instance of Chrome that is launched by Live Preview. This prevents Chrome from shutting down and restarting between each file, so Live Preview will launch faster; this may reduce some intermittent errors.

Check Windows Registry

If Brackets cannot launch the Chrome browser on your Windows system, check the Registry setting here:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\chrome.exe

This is the file path that Brackets uses to launch Chrome. If this is not correct, then try reinstalling the Chrome browser at this location.

Re-install Brackets

On Windows, you may run into issues starting Live Preview if you installed Chrome after installing Brackets. In that case, re-installing Brackets should fix the problem.

Brackets is Running Slow

This section discusses some of the features that can affect performance and possible solutions.

Activity Monitor

On Mac OS 10.9 (Mavericks), Activity Monitor will say the Brackets Helper process is "Not Responding" even when it is working normally (bug #5794). You can safely ignore this unless Brackets is actually failing to respond when you click or type text.


Most Brackets extensions don't impact performance, but some may slow down Brackets (for example Show Whitespace can cause slow typing performance). Try Debug > Reload Without Extensions to quickly check if the problem is being caused by an extension.

File Searching

Using "Find in Files" and "JS Code Hinting" can be slow because of the number of files that are searched. You can try installing the experimental Exclude Folders extension to limit the number of folders that are searched.

Highlight Active Line

This feature can negatively impact scrolling performance, so try turning it off with: View > Highlight Active Line

JavaScript Code Hinting

Collecting the information required to build the JS code hint lists can slow down Brackets. Start by reading the Configuration section of the JavaScript Code Hints guide.

You can disable the hints by moving the JavaScriptCodeHints folder out of www/extensions/default (installed version) or src/extensions/default (Git source) folder and into the extensions/disabled folder, and restarting Brackets.

Having trouble installing extensions?

If your computer needs to use a proxy to get to the web, you'll need to configure the "proxy" setting. Use Open Preferences File from the Debug menu and then add a proxy variable to the JSON file. The value should be the URL of your proxy server.

(Note: this is new in Brackets 37.)

Other: Brackets Is Acting Weird

Disable All Extensions

Use Debug > Reload Without Extensions to quickly check whether the problem is being caused by an extension. To re-enable your extensions, just quit and relaunch Brackets, or choose Debug > Reload With Extensions.

If this fixes the problem, you can identify the problematic extension by re-enabling extensions one-by-one:

  1. Start with all extensions disabled: Choose Help > Show Extensions Folder and move all extensions from the "user" folder into the "disabled" folder (this is similar to what Debug > Reload Without Extensions does).
  2. Move one extension back into the "user" folder, then quit and re-launch Brackets.
  3. Check if the problem has come back. If not, repeat step 2.

Alternative: Select Debug > Show Developer Tools and look at the console. If an error message is present, it may have a link to the code that is failing, which in turn may point out a specific extension.

Debug with Developer Tools

Choose Debug > Show Developer Tools to open an instance of the Developer Tools for Brackets. If you've used the Developer Tools in Chrome this will look familiar. Check the Console tab for errors.

Can't Paste Text Into Brackets

There's a known issue with the Webroot Identity Shield software blocking Paste in Brackets. If you're running Webroot, try the workarounds on their support page. (Fully up-to-date Webroot should no longer treat Brackets as "unknown"; try reinstalling to update your copy).

How do I associate an extension with a type of file?

Let's say you want ".inc" files to be treated like ".php" files. The easiest option today is to install the "Brackets Language Switcher" extension via the Extension Manager. You can also write a really tiny extension to Brackets.

There will likely be a preference for this soon (follow this GitHub issue, if you're interested in that) and possibly a language switching feature in Brackets core soon as well.

Error reading preferences file (release 37)

In Brackets release 37, there's a known issue in which an empty preferences file could cause Brackets to display an error message on startup. If you see this error, Brackets will still start and will open the (empty) preferences file into the editor. Follow these steps, and you'll be all set:

  1. Type this into the editor: javascript {}
  2. Save
  3. Quit and restart Brackets

Starting with Brackets 36, we've added a bunch of preferences that let you tailor how Brackets works for you. Read more on the How To Use Brackets page.

The bug described here is fixed in Brackets 38.

Still Having a Problem?

  • File an issue - be sure to include as many details as possible (see link for specific guidelines)
  • Contact us via one of the channels mentioned in the README
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