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Elastic Notepad

Wouldn't it be nice if we could use proportional fonts to write code and still have things line up? Well, thanks to elastic tabstops, now we can. This editor implements that invention, and should serve as a reference for anyone who wants to implement it in other editors.

The reference implementation of the core elastic tabstops algorithm can be found in elasticTabstops.scala.


This program requires Java 10 or later.

The current version's settings default to using the fonts Merriweather and Inconsolata. If you don't have them installed, your system's default Serif and Monospaced fonts will be used instead, and you can change Elastic Notepad's settings to use whatever fonts you like, but I recommend trying it with these fonts first.

Since Elastic Notepad is written in Scala, you'll also need to have Java installed to run it, and sbt installed if you want to build it.

On Windows at least, if you install Java for the sake of running this, it seems you'll need to restart your system before Java can use logical fonts properly. (So restart your system if you notice that toggling elastic mode off doesn't switch to a monospaced font and text doesn't appear lined up as a result.)

Running it

To run the jar file, use this:

java -jar elastic-notepad.jar

Changing it

First, cd into wherever you cloned this project and download a mill bootstrap script (Linux/Mac only):

curl -L > mill && chmod +x mill

From then on, it can be run with:


If you are using IntelliJ IDEA, its project config files can be generated (and regenerated should the build definition change) with:

./mill mill.scalalib.GenIdea/idea

You can build a new jar file with:

./mill clean && ./mill app.assembly

Ugly font rendering?

Some systems do a poor job of rendering fonts in Java GUIs. On my Linux system I've added the following line to $HOME/.profile to fix this:

export _JAVA_OPTIONS="$_JAVA_OPTIONS -Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings=on"


Text editor with elastic tabstops




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