Sublime Text for Competitive Programming

Update: Fixed details for Windows users.

Sublime Text is one of the most popular text editor these days. Its shortcuts, user interface, plugins and themes are responsible for its incredible popularity among programmers.

Package Control is the most popular package manager for Sublime Text. You can setup plugins, color schemes, themes, etc. easily after installing Package Control. (Check its website for instructions)

I currently use the beautiful Brogrammer Theme and a few plugins along with it. This is how the UI was when I was debugging my code once.

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I was not able to find any error in my code so I made generator.cpp to generate random test cases and brute.cpp to generate an output file from the test cases using brute force. I then cross checked the output from my code’s output. Yeah, I know, but it worked.

Compiling and Running in Linux

As a competitive programmer, I am always looking for ways to code and test faster. This helps a lot when you are participating in contests where time matters a lot (Codeforces, for example). So as an Ubuntu user, I don’t like it when I have to open Terminal everytime and type this:

g++ randomFile.cpp -o randomFile

Sublime Text has the power of building too! The Build System ‘C++ Single File’ works like a charm but it fails to work when you want to give some input from stdin. So after experimenting with the ‘Custom Build System’ tool, I made a custom Build System. In the ‘Build System’, choose ‘New Build System…’ and enter the following JSON data in the newly opened file.

Note: This might not work for Mac users. Read the next section for this. Also, make sure that you don’t have any folder with an space in between its name.

  "cmd": ["g++", "-std=c++0x", "$file", "-o", "${file_path}/${file_base_name}"],
  "file_regex": "^(..[^:]*):([0-9]+):?([0-9]+)?:? (.*)$",
  "working_dir": "${file_path}",
  "selector": "source.c, source.c++, source.cxx, source.cpp",
      "name": "Run",
      "cmd": ["bash", "-c", "g++ -std=c++0x '${file}' -o '${file_path}/${file_base_name}' &&  xterm -e bash -c '\"${file_path}/${file_base_name}\" ; read'"]  

Save it by some random name and now choose that Build System for building it. Now Ctrl+Shift+b will give you the option to compile and run the file you just wrote.

For copying and pasting test cases into the terminal, copy it first from your source, and then in the terminal use Shift+Insert to paste in into the terminal.

Note: You can change the terminal from xterm to any other of your choice as well. I personally, use terminator.

Mac Users

(This will work for Linux users too.)

If the above mentioned method did not work, then there is another way of providing input to your code!

Sublime Input is a very popular plugin that provides input to your program via comments. This works for other languages as well!

For Sublime Input, choose ‘C++ Single File’ as your Build System. And to provide input, add your input as comment and then run it! For Mac users, Command+Ctrl+b will do the trick.

Here is a sample C++ code that uses Sublime Input plugin.


#include <iostream>

int main()
	int n;

	std::cin >> n;
	std::cout << "You entered: " << n << "\n";

	return 0;

If you now run the program, you will see You entered: 42 in the Sublime Text console.

Windows Users

First, let’s install g++. Follow these steps even if you have g++ installed.

Download this self-extracting archive: Click here to download MinGW

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Extract the files to C:\ and all the files will be copied to C:\MinGW.

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Now head over to Sublime Text and make a new Build System (Tools > Build System > New Build System...). Now copy over this JSON data to the newly created file and save it.

    "cmd": ["C:\\MinGW\\bin\\g++", "${file}", "-o", "${file_path}\\${file_base_name}"],
    "file_regex": "^(..[^:]*):([0-9]+):?([0-9]+)?:? (.*)$",
    "working_dir": "${file_path}",
    "selector": "source.c, source.c++",
    "shell": "true",
            "name": "Run",
            "cmd": ["start", "cmd.exe", "@cmd", "/k", "${file_path}\\${file_base_name}"]

Now choose this particular build system (Tools > Build System > yourBuildSystem) and you’re done! Now, you can code up in C++ and after saving the file, use Ctrl+Shift+B and press Enter to compile. And after compiling, use the same key combination and choose the Run variant and command prompt will run with your program.

If you face any issues, make sure that you have g++ setup correctly. Also, feel free to comment.

Credits to for their awesome MinGW Distro!

Build System for other languages

You can go through these links for more knowledge about Custom Build Systems in Sublime Text:

Some other overkills?

There are too many shortcuts in Sublime Text! You can read about some of them here:

Other Text Editors?

These are other popular text editors and IDEs, competitive programmers use:

  • Vim (Very popular due to many shortcuts and plugins)
  • Emacs
  • Code::Blocks (Compiles and runs without any problems)
  • Gedit
  • Visual Studio
  • Notepad++
  • Geany

P.S.: It is always better to solve more questions than solving easy questions very fast.