Introduction: A syntax highlighting, code folding text editor for Java Swing applications.
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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 40+ 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 modified BSD 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.

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

./gradlew build

RSTA requires a Java 8 JDK to compile, but builds classes with Java 6 binary compatibility if possible (and indeed, the artifacts in Maven Central are Java 6-compatible). To that end, the boot classpath will be set to accommodate this if a variable java6CompileBootClasspath is set to the location of rt.jar in a Java 6 JDK. This can be added to <maven-home>/ if desired, to avoid diffs in the project's

Example Usage

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

import javax.swing.*;
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 Runnable() {
         public void run() {
            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.

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