I just become a Mac user and I've been looking for a decent free code editor, thus I found Textwrangler.

However, I like it a lot, I only have one problem with it. How does one open a new file in a new tab rather than a new window?

I open a directory with it and have the tree, but each time when I click on a file it closes the current file I am viewing and opens the new one.

enter image description here

Is it possible to have things open in a new tab as when you one a link in a new tab in Chrome or more exactly how you open a new file in Notepad++ on Windows.

4 Answers 4


Command + Option + [


Command + Option + ]

to navigate between open documents in the single window.


Forgive me if it this is off-topic, but have you tried Sublime Text yet? I used to use textwrangler, but I haven't looked back since I switched to Sublime. A must have for me is the multiple cursors, which I have not seen anywhere else. By the way, Sublime is not (technically) freeware, but they let you download and install it for free, just bugging you from time to time, asking you to buy, but without limiting any features. Off course, in case you adopt it it would be fair to purchase it, but if you are on a budget it is ok to postpone. Hope it helps.

  • I thought about Sublime Text. I actually managed to download it right after I posted this. I don't know if it's my luck or not, but I still don't manage to open files into a new tab. On top of that Sublime Text doesn't offer support for .less files, thus I tried 2h to add support for it and no success. Also, I didn't manage to make the Package Manager work. Thanks for the answer tho! Much appreciated! Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 5:18
  • Not to mention Sublime Text is $70 rather than free. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 6:18
  • @DragosRizescu : every file opens in its own tab, and you can rearrange the tabs as you would do on a browser window. you can also grab the tab on the window that you have open and move it over to another window as well. If you open a folder using Sublime, you will see a sidebar just like in TextWrangler. Clicking on a filename once will display it, and double-clicking on it will open it as a new tab.
    – Marcello
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 22:52
  • @TonyWilliams : Yes, the paid license for Sublime is $70 , but other than bugging you from time to time to buy it, the unregistered version has no limitations.
    – Marcello
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 22:53
  • I know this is an older thread, but I came across it for the same reason as the OP; wanting a Notepad++ type code editing experience on my Mac. To that, I use TextWrangler for quick edits or when I just want to mess with one or two files, but when I'm dealing with larger projects, I actually use Visual Studio Code .. Tabs on top, dark theme, C/C++/C#/etc. support, tab-to-space, and so much more. It's actually quite a nice experience when you're switching between Windows, Mac and Linux to edit code.
    – txtechhelp
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 17:08

I realize I'm necroposting a little, but to do this is BBEdit (which ate TextWrangler a while back):

When you have a file open, you want to use the View >>> Window Appearance >>> Show Sidebar menu option or hit Command-0 (zero).

picture of BBEdit menus open to the option for Show Sidebar

Then profit. (See "Currently Open Documents" tab showing, below.)

image showing BBEdit Currently Open Documents sidebar

Sublime is a great app, as is VIm, as is whatever Panic calls Coda next, as is WebStorm, as is VS Code, as is...

... but if you want to use BBEdit with tabs, that's how. ;^D

  • 1
    It's all good man, I appreciate the answer. To be frank, since then I moved to WebStorm (and generally IDEA IDE family) and VS Code for everything else and Nano when in terminal quick edits. Thank you! Commented May 31, 2020 at 13:01

TextWrangler has a separate disk browser and editor view.

In your image above you are in the disk browser. From the disk browser press return when you are showing the file you want to edit. It will open in a new window.

Go back to the disk browser and when you hit return it will load a second document into the same editor window.

Now you will see a sidebar that allows you to move between your open documents. There are also menu commands and keyboard shortcuts galore to move between documents in the current window and move documents between windows.

  • What do you mean by press return? Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 21:08
  • Press the return key or alternately, double click on the file name. This open the currently selected/displayed file from the disk browser in the edit window. Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 23:18

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