Packages

Overview

A package is a container for resources.

Package Locations (and Abbreviations)

There are three locations for storing packages for different purposes.

  • Packages can be folders under Data/Packages (short: Packages)

  • or zip archives with the .sublime-package extension located under Data/Installed Packages (short: Installed Packages) or any of its subdirectories.

  • Additionally, Sublime Text provides a set of default packages as zip archives in Application/Packages (short: Shipped Packages), where Application refers to the folder where the Sublime Text executable resides.

    This folder is not intended to be modified by the user.

Note

For simplicity, we will occasionally refer to all these directories simply as Packages, and to a package in any folder (.sublime-package or not) as Packages/PackageName. Consequently, a file inside a package may also be referred to as PackageName/a_file.extension.

.sublime-package Packages

Packages distributed as .sublime-package zip archives should be considered read-only containers of resources and never be modified manually. Since they are usually updated as a whole, any manual changes made to them will be lost in the process.

If you do want to modify files in these archives, see Customizing or Overriding Packages.

Interactions Between Packages with The Same Name

If two packages with the same name exist in both Installed Packages and Shipped Packages, the one in Installed Packages will be used and the one in Shipped Packages will be ignored.

Any file in Packages/PackageName takes precedence over an identically named file in Installed Packages/PackageName.sublime-package or Shipped Packages/PackageName.sublime-package.

See also Customizing or Overriding Packages.

Package Contents

Typical resources found in packages include:

  • build systems (.sublime-build)
  • color schemes (.tmTheme)
  • key maps (.sublime-keymap)
  • macros (.sublime-macro)
  • menus (.sublime-menu)
  • metadata (.tmPreferences)
  • mouse maps (.sublime-mousemap)
  • plugins (.py)
  • settings (.sublime-settings)
  • snippets (.sublime-snippet)
  • syntax definitions (.tmLanguage)
  • themes (.sublime-theme)

Some packages may hold support files for other packages or for core features. For example, the spell checker uses Installed Packages/Language - English.sublime-package as a data store for English dictionaries.

Types of Packages

In this guide, we categorize packages for clarity when discussing this topic, but Sublime Text doesn’t use this terminology and you don’t need to learn it.

shipped packages
default packages

A set of packages that Sublime Text ships with. Some of these packages are core packages, while others enhance Sublime Text to support common programming languages out of the box.

Examples: Default, Python, Java, C++, Markdown.

Located in Shipped Packages.

core packages

Sublime Text requires these packages in order to function properly.

Examples: Default, Theme - Default, Color Scheme - Default.

They are part of the shipped packages and located in Shipped Packages.

user packages

Installed or created by the user to extend Sublime Text’s functionality. They are not part of Sublime Text, and are always contributed by users or third parties.

Example: User.

Located in Packages and Installed Packages.

installed packages

A subtype of user packages.

Installed packages are .sublime-package archives and usually maintained by a package manager.

Located in Installed Packages.

Note

Due to the unfortunate name of this folder, talking about installing packages in Sublime Text is confusing.

Sometimes, in this guide, by installing we mean ‘adding a user/third party package to Sublime Text’ (in any form), and sometimes we use the term in its stricter sense of ‘copying a .sublime-package archive to Installed Packages‘.

override packages

A special type of user packages.

Override packages serve the purpose of customizing packages that are distributed as .sublime-package files. They are effectively injected into the original package and do not stand-alone.

See Customizing or Overriding Packages for details.

Located in Packages.

Note that by third party we also refer to users of other editors, notably Textmate, as Sublime Text and Textmate share some types of resource files that can be reused without modification.

Managing Packages

Installing Packages

Note

Regular users rarely need to know how to install packages by hand, as automatic package managers are available.

The de facto package manager for Sublime Text is Package Control.

Packages can be installed in two main ways:

  • by copying Sublime Text resources to a folder under Packages, or
  • by copying a .sublime-package file to Installed Packages.

Disabling Packages

To temporarily disable packages, you can add them to the ignored_packages list in your Packages/User/Preferences.sublime-settings file. Packages will be loaded or unloaded as needed when the settings file is saved.

Enabling Packages

To re-enable a package, remove the package’s name from the ignored_packages list in your Packages/User/Preferences.sublime-settings file.

Removing Packages

If you installed a package with a package manager, remove it using the method provided by the package manager.

If you installed a package manually, follow this procedure to safely remove a package:

  1. Disable the package while Sublime Text is running.
  2. Close Sublime Text.
  3. Remove the package’s resources from the disk.
  4. Remove the package’s name from the ignored_packages list.

In addition to the resources you have placed initially in a Packages folder or in Installed Packages, plugins may create configuration files (such as .sublime-settings files) or other files to store package-related data. Frequently, you will find them in the User package. Therefore, if you want to remove all traces of a package, you will need to find and remove all the additional files that it may have installed.

Warning

Shipped packages are reinstated during every Sublime Text update, so you can’t delete them forever. If you want to stop using a shipped package, disable it.

Customizing or Overriding Packages

Since packages in .sublime-package zip archives are read-only, you cannot modify them directly. However, Sublime Text allows you to create an override package that will effectively inject files into the original archive without modifying the archive itself.

To create an override package, create a new folder under Packages and name it after the .sublime-package file you want to override, excluding the extension. Any file you create in this package will take precedence over any identically named file in the original package.

Python plugins in override packages are able to use relative imports for accessing other modules in the corresponding .sublime-package file as if they were part of it.

Warning

Files in override packages override entire files. If the overriden file in the corresponding .sublime-package is updated, you will not be notified.

Merging and Order of Precedence

Package precedence is important for merging certain resources, for example, .sublime-keymap and .sublime-settings files, and for loading plugins (.py files).

If an override package exists for a .sublime-package package, it will be loaded at the same time as the .sublime-package archive.

Sublime Text loads packages in this order:

  1. Packages/Default;
  2. shipped packages and installed packages, merged and in alphabetical order;
  3. all remaining user packages, except for Packages/User, that did not override anything, in alphabetical order;
  4. Packages/User

Reverting Sublime Text to Its Default Configuration

Reverting Sublime Text to a fresh state solves many problems that appear to be bugs in Sublime Text but are in fact caused by misbehaving packages and plugins.

To revert Sublime Text to its default configuration and remove all your settings and configurations, delete the data directory and restart the editor. Keep in mind that the Installed Packages folder will be deleted too, so you’ll lose all your installed packages.

Always make sure to back up your data before taking an extreme measure like this one!