Building a Basic Text Editor in C


Creating a full-featured text editor in C is a complex task. In this guide, we'll provide a simplified example of a basic text editor to get you started. This example will include fundamental text manipulation and file operations.


Before you begin building a basic text editor in C, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  • C Fundamentals: A solid understanding of C programming, including data structures and file I/O.
  • Development Environment: A C development environment set up on your computer, such as a C compiler like GCC.
  • Basic User Interface Knowledge: Familiarity with console-based user interfaces.

Building a Basic Text Editor

Let's start with a basic text editor that allows you to open, edit, and save text files. Below is a simple code snippet:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
int main() {
FILE *file;
char filename[100];
char ch;
printf("Enter the filename to open: ");
scanf("%s", filename);
file = fopen(filename, "r");
if (file == NULL) {
printf("File not found or unable to open.\n");
printf("File contents:\n");
while ((ch = fgetc(file)) != EOF) {
printf("%c", ch);
return 0;

This code allows you to open and read the contents of a text file. You can expand upon it to implement editing and saving features, as well as more advanced functionality.


Building a complete text editor is a significant project. This guide introduced a basic example to get you started. As you advance in your C programming skills, you can extend this example to create a more feature-rich text editor.