Text Editors in F-Droid

The free repository F-Droid contains numerous text editors which all have their individual bugs. I go through those bugs and argue that it would be easier to write a single good editor for Android.

Previously, when I collected tasks for my todo list, I would point my mobile browser to my installation of note-capture and enter the task. Later on, I would download those captured notes into Taskwarrior.

This worked, did not need any devices to be in the same place at any time. However, I needed a mobile internet connection. It was also pretty slow since it was loading a page. There is no app for Taskwarrior yet, which would be a good way, I think.

At some point, it hit me, and I do not understand why I did not think about this earlier: Create a text file on the phone, one line is one task. With the android-sync script from backup-scripts, I could import them into Taskwarrior, eliminating the need for a server and mobile internet access altogether.

I was thinking about using the todo.txt syntax, but I am now just writing it in the task add syntax of Taskwarrior, making it really easy in the android-sync script.

Now I need a plain text editor for Android, Cyanogen Mod 9 to be specific. With F-Droid being my primary resource for apps, I have access to a handful of free text editors. And frankly, every one has one bug or incompatibility with my phone that makes it not worth using. I will grant you the physical keyboard of my phone is rare, but some editors get that part to work, so it seems to be possible.

These are the editors that I tried. Listed below the screenshots are the issues that I found. What I do not get: Those are free apps, usually under the GPL. Why create yet another editor that is not better, just lacking in other ways. One could join in and make an existing editor better. If they had their good sides merged together, I would be pretty happy.

On the phone, I have Android 4.0.4, on the tablet I have Android 4.3.1.

920 Editor

920 Editor -- Text Editor (12.11.23)

Encoding issues

All my files are UTF-8. Sometimes, a file gets opened with a different encoding. By now, I just do not want to deal with encodings any more, so this bugs me a lot.

Crash on tablet

On the tablet, it just crashed when I try to open it.

File Manager

File Manger -- CyanogenMod file manager backport (

Lacks undo

This is a catastrophe, as I am able to select text with the hardware keyboard. When I enter text while this happens, the previous content of the document is just gone.

Variable width font

The text is displayed with a variable width font. This is not a huge issue for my purpose, but I would prefer a monospace font in my text editor.


Ted -- Lightweight text editor (1.8.1)

Line numbers for wrapped lines

When lines are long and get wrapped softly (just for the current view) they should not get new line numbers. This editor gives them new line numbers, making them useless.

Text Edit

Text Edit -- A text editor (1.5)

Spelling pop-up

Whenever I try to move the cursor, and it happens to be onto a misspelled word, it will show spelling suggestions. Since computer programs have all sorts of new words in them, virtually everything is wrong. Moving the cursor is not great at all. And you cannot disable this in the settings.


TextWarrior -- Text editor (0.93)

Wrong default umlauts

There is an umlauts menu, but it does not start with the German ones. So I either have to take the hands away from the keyboard and tap on the right one, or use the arrow keys. Both is awkward.

No sticky shift

In every other app, I can press the hardware shift key and the letter after each other and still get a capitalized letter. Here, I have to hold both keys, which can be a little frustrating on the small keyboard.

Turbo Editor

Turbo Editor -- Simple text editor (1.3)

Exits with error

When I try to enter umlauts with the menu, it just exists. I lost some text with it, so I am not willing to use it any more.

Vi IMproved Touch

Vi IMproved Touch -- Text editor (2.3)

No umlauts on hardware keyboard

Usually, I can enter umlauts by holding a vowel. It will show a list of possible accents that can go onto that character, with the German umlaut first. In this editor, this menu does not show up.