Some time ago I made a list of recommended packages for atom, now I will do the same for Sublime Text 3 (ST3).

Sublime Text 3 (ST3) is a lightweight, proprietary cross-platform source code editor, editor very similar to atom (supports plugins, typically community-built) and known for ease of use, strong community support [1] and it's pretty fast (much better than atom in opening, closing, searching, etc. is very smooth and fast since it is written in C ++ and Python for plugins).

General information

  1. URL:
  2. Developer(s): Jon Skinner (former Google Engineer) and Will Bond
  3. Platforms: mac OSX (10.7 or later), Windows and GNU/Linux
  4. License: Proprietary software
  • unlimited free trial, with pop-up remembering to buy (like winrar does).
  • license costs $80 at the time of writing this post (One-time payment).

It’s an incredible editor right out of the box, but the real power comes from the ability to enhance its functionality using Package Control and creating custom settings.

In this post I have picked some useful and/or "most interesting" ST3 packages I've found.

Built-in Features

Sublime Text 3 has some features included by default (that in other editors we have to add them with plugins), among them the most important we have:

  1. Minimap: display a condensed preview of your code for quick navigation.
  2. Split Layouts: allow you to arrange your files in various split screens. This is useful when you are doing test driven development (Python code on one screen, test scripts on another) or working on the front end (HTML on one screen and CSS/JavaScript in another).
  3. Vintage Mode: provides you with vi commands for use within ST3.
  4. Automatic loading of the last session re-opens all files and folders you had open when you closed the editor the last time.
  5. Code Snippets: giving you the ability to create common pieces of code with a single keyword. There are a number of default snippets. For example, open a new file, type lorem, and press Tab. You should get a paragraph of lorem ipsum text.

Note: You can also create your own snippets: Tools > New Snippet. Refer to the documentation for help.

SublimeText Custom Settings

You can fully configure Sublime Text using JSON-based settings files (for the base and language-specific settings), so it’s easy to transfer or synchronize your customized settings to another system.

General settings

First, we need to create our base customized settings. To set up a base file, in Sublime Text click Preferences > Settings - User. This opens the default preferences (on the left) and a empy JSON object to write our personalized preferences (on the right, called Preferences.sublime-settings - User).

For example this is my (mimimalist) Preferences.sublime-settings - User:

// Settings in here override those in "Default/Preferences.sublime-settings"
// and are overridden in turn by syntax-specific settings.
    // Columns in which to display vertical rulers
    "rulers": [80],
    // Tabulation options.
    "tab_size": 4,
    "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true,
    "draw_white_space": "all",
    // Highlights.
    "draw_indent_guides": true,
    "highlight_line": true,
    // Used when saving new files
    "default_encoding": "UTF-8",
    "ensure_newline_at_eof_on_save": true,

In this configuration we established the following setings:

  1. The "rulers": [80] insert a vertical ruler in the column 80. For the oldest coding practice is to keep line width 80 chars (better for diff and small terminal screens).
  2. The "tab_size": 4 to set tabs length to 4 spaces (common in some languages like Python) and the "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true will convert tabs into spaces automatically when tab key ↹ is pressed.
  3. The draw_white_space": "all" is to show invisibles (spaces,tabs, etc.) in the text. Other possible values: "selection" to draw the white space only in the selected text and "none" to turn off.
  4. Others: "default_encoding": "UTF-8",``set the default coding for new files and ``"ensure_newline_at_eof_on_save": true is useful in unix systems. [2]

Language specific settings

In sublime text you can set a specific configuration for each language independently.

For language specific settings, click in Sublime Text: Preferences > Settings - More > Syntax Specific - User. Then save the file using the following format: LANGUAGE.sublime-settings.

You can obviously configure your settings to your liking. However, I highly recommend starting with settings and then making changes as you see fit.

HTML and CSS Preferences:

At the beginning we set tab length to 4 spaces, for me HTML and CSS projects need 2 spaces for indentation (because HTML tends to nest very deeply and anything more than two spaces tends to start pushing HTML off the right edge of an 80-column screen pretty quickly).

So let's set different tab size for HTML. In Sublime Text go to: Preferences > Settings - More > Syntax Specific - User to create an empty configuration. Copy the following configuration to the empty file:

    // tabs and whitespace
    "draw_white_space": "all",
    "tab_size": 2
    // Automatically close HTML and XML tags when </ is entered
    "auto_close_tags": true,

Then save the file as HTML.sublime-settings (go to file > save as and rename the file as HTML.sublime-settings Save and close it).

For the CSS we are also going to leave the tab length to 2 spaces, for that go to: Preferences > Settings - More > Syntax Specific - User to create an empty configuration. Copy the following configuration in the empy file:

    // tabs and whitespace
    "draw_white_space": "all",
    "tab_size": 2

Then save the file as CSS.sublime-settings (go to file > save as and rename the file, Save and close it).

Python Preferences:

This is my Python-specific settings. In Sublime Text go to: Preferences > Settings - More > Syntax Specific - User to create an empty configuration. Copy the following configuration to the empty file:

    // tabs and whitespace
    "draw_white_space": "all",
    "auto_indent": true,
    "smart_indent": true,
    "tab_size": 4,
    "trim_automatic_white_space": true,
    "use_tab_stops": true,
    "word_wrap": true,
    "wrap_width": 80

Save the file as Python.sublime-settings (go to file > save as and rename the file, Save and close it).

A good reference for settings can be found at the Sublime Text Unofficial Documentation.

Package Control

Now is time to install some additional plugins and themes but for that first we have to install the package manager called Package Control. Once you have it installed, you can use it to install, remove, and upgrade other ST3 packages.

Installing Package Control

To install the Package Control you have two alternatives:

  1. If you got a recent build [3] of Sublime text 3, go to Tools > Install Package Control
  2. If you do not have the previous option (or you are using an old version of sublime text) you simply have to open the Sublime Text console (menu View > Show Console), go to the installation page on their website, and copy some strange Python code, paste the code into the console, press Enter ↵ and... Presto! You can now install any package easily from within Sublime.

After you install it, you’ll be able to get packages right from Sublime Text. Forget about manually searching and installing stuff!

Package Control Usage

  1. Open the Command Palette: Press Ctrl+Shift+P (Windows or GNU/Linux) or Cmd()+Shift+P (Mac OS X).
  2. Type "Package Control" and select "Package Control: Install Package".
  3. A list of available packages will display in the Palette. Double-click on the Package name to start installing this package.

UI and Themes

Themes are subjective, and I’d normally avoid recommending one. However, in Atom I liked the Seti theme and sublime text has a port of this theme. Others Themes that I personally like are:

After installing a theme (using the Package Control), make sure to update your base settings through Sublime Text Preferences > Settings - User and add the theme lines in your user settings, for example:

  "theme": "ayu-light.sublime-theme",
  "color_scheme": "Packages/ayu/ayu-light.sublime-color-scheme"

General Packages

Like Atom, Sublime has a lot of packages and themes! For me the essentials are:

Bracket HighLighter

This plugin gives a great visual hint to where is a tag or bracket ending. Helps a lot, especially in debugging by highlighting the scope

Color HighLighter

HighLighter is a package for displaying as a highlight of the hex, gba, rgba, hsl, hsla, etc. code. with their real color. When you click on that particular code it fills it with color.

In addition y comes with it’s own color picker, just press ctrl +Shift + C and pick your colour.

Code​ Formatter

Code​ Formatter will turn messy (or minify) code into neater and more readable. It has support for programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JSON, PHP, Python and VBScript.


Sublime Linter is a framework "base" for ST3 linters plugins for major languages, providing the top level API for linters. After installing this main package, you need to install the specific linter for language you work on.

Web development Packages


Emmet (formerly known as Zen Coding) is a plugin available for popular text editors (ncluding Sublime Text, Visual Studio, Eclipse, Atom, etc.) that let you write native HTML code without having to directly write HTML tags, instead use Emmet’s shortcuts. For example you would type this string into your editor:


And then the hit the expand Abbreviation" key (default the Ctrl+e). The code is magically transformed into valid HTML:

<div id="content">
  <ul id="nav">
    <li><a href=""></a></li>
    <li><a href=""></a></li>
    <li><a href=""></a></li>
    <li><a href=""></a></li>


A page reloading plugin for sublime text 3.


Just run this and it will automatically add add every CSS prefix. Simple and blazing fast!


Minify for Sublime Text allows you to quickly minify and/or beautify CSS, JavaScript, JSON, HTML and SVG files

linters CSS and js

CSS and js Lint error reports for your editor (require Sublime Linter)

Python Packages

linter flake8 and pydocstyle

Next, we’re going to install a Python Linter package, to help us detect errors in our Python code. This package is called linter-flake8 and it’s an interface to flake8 (Simply speaking flake8 is "the wrapper which verifies pep8, pyflakes and circular complexity").

If you installed the linter-flake8 package, you already have automatic PEP8 validation but another package is missing to validate docstrings according to the semantics and conventions in PEP 257. This is solved with linter-pydocstyle which can be used side-by-side with the flake8 linter.

Another interesting package alternative is Pylint which is a tool to verify modules and packages used for multiple files to finish.


Another option is Anaconda. It adds a number of IDE-like features to ST3 including the following:

  • Autocompletion: works by default, but there are a number of configuration options.
  • Find Usage: quickly searches where a variable, function, or class has been used in a specific file.
  • Goto Definitions: finds and displays the definition of any variable, function, or class throughout your entire project.
  • Code linting: uses either PyLint or PyFlakes with PEP 8. I personally use a different linting package (mentioned above) so I disable linting altogether in the user-defined Anaconda settings file (Anaconda.sublime-setting), via the file menu: Preferences > Package Settings > Anaconda > Settings - User adding the line {"anaconda_linting": false} to the file, Anaconda.sublime-setting
  • McCabe code complexity checker: runs the McCabe complexity checker tool within a specific file.
  • Show Documentation: shows the docstring for functions or classes (if defined, of course).

Bonus Packages


[1]an example of this is the unofficial documentation for the Sublime Text that is better than the official.

According to POSIX, every text file consists of a series of lines, each of which ends with a newline character (\n), including the last one.

Some programs have problems processing the last line of a file if it isn't newline terminated. For example GCC warns about it not because it can't process the file, but because it has to as part of the standard.

Reference: The GCC/GNU mail archive. and how the POSIX standard defines a line (see 3.206 Line).

[3]SublimeText 3 Build 3124 o higher.