mastern2k3 / helix

A post-modern modal text editor.

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A kakoune / neovim inspired editor, written in Rust.

The editing model is very heavily based on kakoune; during development I found myself agreeing with most of kakoune's design decisions.

For more information, see the website or documentation.

All shortcuts/keymaps can be found in the documentation on the website.



  • Vim-like modal editing
  • Multiple selections
  • Built-in language server support
  • Smart, incremental syntax highlighting and code editing via tree-sitter

It's a terminal-based editor first, but I'd like to explore a custom renderer (similar to emacs) in wgpu or skulpin.

Note: Only certain languages have indentation definitions at the moment. Check runtime/queries/<lang>/ for indents.toml.


We provide packaging for various distributions, but here's a quick method to build from source.

git clone --recurse-submodules --shallow-submodules -j8
cd helix
cargo install --path helix-term

This will install the hx binary to $HOME/.cargo/bin.

Helix also needs its runtime files so make sure to copy/symlink the runtime/ directory into the config directory (for example ~/.config/helix/runtime on Linux/macOS). This location can be overriden via the HELIX_RUNTIME environment variable.

Packages already solve this for you by wrapping the hx binary with a wrapper that sets the variable to the install dir.

NOTE: running via cargo also doesn't require setting explicit HELIX_RUNTIME path, it will automatically detect the runtime directory in the project root.

Packaging status


Helix can be installed on MacOS through homebrew via:

brew tap helix-editor/helix
brew install helix


Contributors are very welcome! No contribution is too small and all contributions are valued.

Some suggestions to get started:

  • You can look at the good first issue label on the issue tracker.
  • Help with packaging on various distributions needed!
  • To use print debugging to the Helix log file, you must:
    • Print using log::info!, warn!, or error!. (log::info!("helix!"))
    • Pass the appropriate verbosity level option for the desired log level. (hx -v <file> for info, more vs for higher severity inclusive)
  • If your preferred language is missing, integrating a tree-sitter grammar for it and defining syntax highlight queries for it is straight forward and doesn't require much knowledge of the internals.

We provide an that should give you a good overview of the internals.

Getting help

Your question might already be answered on the FAQ.

Discuss the project on the community Matrix Space (make sure to join if you're on a client that doesn't support Matrix Spaces yet).


A post-modern modal text editor.

License:Mozilla Public License 2.0


Language:Rust 88.5%Language:Scheme 6.3%Language:JavaScript 1.9%Language:CSS 1.9%Language:Handlebars 1.2%Language:Nix 0.3%