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RSyntaxTextArea is a customizable, syntax highlighting text component for Java Swing applications. Out of the box, it supports syntax highlighting for 50+ programming languages, code folding, search and replace, and has add-on libraries for code completion and spell checking. Syntax highlighting for additional languages can be added via tools such as JFlex.

RSyntaxTextArea is available under a BSD 3-Clause license. For more information, visit

Available in the Maven Central repository (com.fifesoft:rsyntaxtextarea:XXX). SNAPSHOT builds of the in-development, unreleased version are hosted on Sonatype.

Please see the wiki for an overview of features and a deep-dive into the code!


RSyntaxTextArea uses Gradle to build. To compile, run all unit tests, and create the jar, run:

./gradlew build --warning-mode all

RSTA 3.0 and newer requires Java 8 to compile and run. If you need Java 6 compatibility, you'll need to use a 2.6.x version.


There are several simple demo applications in the RSyntaxTextAreaDemo submodule. To run the "main" one, which shows off syntax highlighting and code folding for several languages as well as several common configuration options, run:

./gradlew RSyntaxTextAreaDemo:run

Example Usage

RSyntaxTextArea is simply a subclass of JTextComponent, so it can be dropped into any Swing application with ease.

import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.BorderLayout;

import org.fife.ui.rtextarea.*;
import org.fife.ui.rsyntaxtextarea.*;

public class TextEditorDemo extends JFrame {

    public TextEditorDemo() {

        JPanel cp = new JPanel(new BorderLayout());

        RSyntaxTextArea textArea = new RSyntaxTextArea(20, 60);
        RTextScrollPane sp = new RTextScrollPane(textArea);

        setTitle("Text Editor Demo");


    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Start all Swing applications on the EDT.
        SwingUtilities.invokeLater(() -> new TextEditorDemo().setVisible(true));


Sister Projects

RSyntaxTextArea provides syntax highlighting, code folding, and many other features out-of-the-box, but when building a code editor you often want to go further. Below is a list of small add-on libraries that add more complex functionality:

  • AutoComplete - Adds code completion to RSyntaxTextArea (or any other JTextComponent).
  • RSTALanguageSupport - Code completion for RSTA for the following languages: Java, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, JSP, Perl, C, Unix Shell. Built on both RSTA and AutoComplete.
  • SpellChecker - Adds squiggle-underline spell checking to RSyntaxTextArea.
  • RSTAUI - Common dialogs needed by text editing applications: Find, Replace, Go to Line, File Properties.

Getting Help