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Lite XL


A lightweight text editor written in Lua, adapted from lite

Lite XL has support for high DPI display on Windows and Linux and, since 1.16.7 release, it supports retina displays on Mac OS.

Please note that Lite XL is compatible with lite for most plugins and all color themes. We provide a separate lite-plugins repository for Lite XL, because in some cases some adaptations may be needed to make them work better with Lite XL. The repository with modified plugins is

The changes and differences between Lite XL and rxi/lite are listed in the changelog.


Lite XL is derived from lite. It is a lightweight text editor written mostly in Lua — it aims to provide something practical, pretty, small and fast easy to modify and extend, or to use without doing either.

The aim of Lite XL compared to lite is to be more user friendly, improve the quality of font rendering, and reduce CPU usage.


Additional functionality can be added through plugins which are available in the plugins repository or in the Lite XL-specific plugins repository.

Additional color themes can be found in the colors repository. These color themes are bundled with all releases of Lite XL by default.

The editor can be customized by making changes to the user module.


You can build Lite XL yourself using Meson.

In addition, the script can be used to compile Lite XL and create an OS-specific package for Linux, Windows or Mac OS.

The following libraries are required:

  • freetype2
  • SDL2

The following libraries are optional:

  • libagg
  • Lua 5.2

If they are not found, they will be downloaded and compiled by Meson. Otherwise, if they are present, they will be used to compile Lite XL.

On Debian-based systems the required libraries and Meson can be installed using the following commands:

# To install the required libraries:
sudo apt install libfreetype6-dev libsdl2-dev

# To install Meson:
sudo apt install meson
# or pip3 install --user meson

To build Lite XL with Meson the commands below can be used:

meson setup --buildtype=release build
meson compile -C build
meson install -C build

If you are using a version of Meson below 0.54 you need to use diffent commands to compile and install:

meson setup --buildtype=release build
ninja -C build
ninja -C build install

When performing the meson setup command you may enable the -Dportable=true option to specify whether files should be installed as in a portable application.

If portable is enabled, Lite XL is built to use a data directory placed next to the executable. Otherwise, Lite XL will use unix-like directory locations. In this case, the data directory will be $prefix/share/lite-xl and the executable will be located in $prefix/bin. $prefix is determined when the application starts as a directory such that $prefix/bin corresponds to the location of the executable.

The user directory does not depend on the portable option and will always be $HOME/.config/lite-xl. $HOME is determined from the corresponding environment variable. As a special case on Windows the variable $USERPROFILE will be used instead.

If you compile Lite XL yourself, it is recommended to use the script

bash <arch>

The script will run Meson and create a zip file with the application or, for linux, a tar compressed archive. Lite XL can be easily installed by unpacking the archive in any directory of your choice.

On Windows two packages will be created, one called "portable" using the "data" folder next to the executable and the other one using a unix-like file layout. Both packages works correctly. The one with unix-like file layout is meant for people using a unix-like shell and the command line.

Please note that there aren't any hard-coded directories in the executable, so that the package can be extracted and used in any directory.

Mac OS X is fully supported and a notarized app disk image is provided in the release page. In addition the application can be compiled using the generic instructions given above.


Any additional functionality that can be added through a plugin should be done as a plugin, after which a pull request to the plugins repository can be made.

If the plugin uses any Lite XL-specific functionality, please open a pull request to the Lite XL plugins repository.

Pull requests to improve or modify the editor itself are welcome.


This project is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the MIT license. See LICENSE for details.