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Another 10 must-know Sublime Text 2 tips

Check out another essential selection of tips for the latest go to code editor Sublime Text 2

01. Distraction-free editing

Sometimes, we need to filter out all of the additional fluff that gets in the way of our coding.Use Distraction Free Mode to take this idea as far as possible. This option is available, via the View menu. Select Enter Distraction Free Mode or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+Cmd+F.

02. Bird’s-eye view

One of Sublime’s stand-out features is its unique side panel that offers a birds-eye view of the current file. This feature can be incredibly helpful for large files, as it allows us to scan a file in seconds, without manually having to scroll the page.

03. Build systems

Sublime’s build system allows you to apply keybindings, which can be piped through to a multitude of external programs, such as CoffeeScript, Sass, Grunt, and more. Rather than switching to the Terminal to run your build command, you can accomplish the same thing from directly within the editor. Let’s use CoffeeScript as an example. Begin by creating a coffeescript.sublime-build file within the Packages/ directory. Next, paste the following code in:

001 {
002 “cmd”: [“coffee”,”-c”, “$file”],
003 “selector” : “source.coffee”,
004 “path”: “/usr/local/bin/”
005 }

cmd specifies the command that should be executed, along with any arguments and flags. In this case, we’re running the current file through the CoffeeScript compile command. Secondly, path is only necessary if CoffeeScript is not installed in your base path.
Once you’ve saved the file, a new optional will be available through Tools>Build System. Choose CoffeeScript, and now when you run the build command with Cmd+B, the current CoffeeScript file will be compiled.

04. Multiple columns

Prefer to edit multiple files within the same window? Sublime offers a handful of options for generating split views, including rows and columns. Browse to View>Layout to view the available choices, and be sure to memorise the keyboard commands as you’ll be using this feature often.

05. Placeholders

There will be many times during development, that we won’t have content for a webapp. In these cases, we typically use placeholder text and images. When considering how frequently this is done, wouldn’t it be smart to create a handful of placeholder snippets? Well, the placeholder plug-in does this very thing. Whether you need a temporary image, a few lorem ipsum paragraphs, or even a definition list with dummy text, this is the plug-in that will be perfect for the job.

06. Live CSS colouring

The Live CSS plug-in, though somewhat simple, can be quite helpful. This plug-in will automatically set the background of any colour value in your stylesheet equal to what you’ve specified. Certainly it’s a small convenience, but it can be quite useful nonetheless.

07. Indentation guides

A surprisingly rare convenience found in Notepad++ is indentation guides. Often, when browsing massive files, it can be difficult to match indentation without a bit of help. Sublime’s indentation guides provide helpful visuals to fix this.

08. Development version

Don’t forget that Sublime Text 2 is still in the process of actively being developed. You’re encouraged to use the development version of Sublime Text, available at sublimetext.com/dev. Don’t worry; even though these are development versions, you’ll rarely come across any bugs.

09. Easy configuration

Sublime Text is sometimes criticised because it does not offer a flashy interface for managing configuration options. Ironically, the fact that Sublime literally displays an editable JavaScript object for configuration is one of its greatest strengths. This makes the process of tweaking Sublime’s settings exactly to your needs as simple as humanly possible.For instance, to disable the Indent Guidelines, open the Default Settings file, search for draw_indent_guides (with Cmd+I), and set its value to false.

10. Live searching

When we need to search a file, we often resort to bringing up a Search and Replace panel, which takes up unnecessary time. Instead, just press Cmd+I to perform a live search on the current file. As you enter your query, the cursor will instantly be repositioned to the next occurrence of the string, saving you time.

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