Development of Sublime Text has moved on to version 3.

As a result, this branch for Sublime Text 2 will not be updated any more. Please select the latest branch in the panel on the bottom left and consider updating Sublime Text.

Packages are simply folders under :file:Packages. They exist mainly for organizational purposes, but Sublime Text follows a few rules when dealing with them. More on this later.

Here’s a list of the typical resources living inside packages:

  • build systems (.sublime-build)
  • key maps (.sublime-keymap)
  • macros (.sublime-macro)
  • menus (.sublime-menu)
  • plugins (.py)
  • syntax preferences (.tmPreferences)
  • settings (.sublime-settings)
  • syntax definitions (.tmLanguage)
  • snippets (.sublime-snippet)
  • themes (.sublime-theme)

Some packages may include support files for other packages or core features. For example, the spell checker uses PackagesLanguage - English as a data store for English dictionaries.

Types of Packages

In this guide, in order to talk about packages, we divide them into groups. This division is artificial, and just useful for clarity when discussing this topic. Sublime Text doesn’t use this division in any way.

core packages
Sublime Text requires these packages in order to work.
shipped packages
Sublime Text includes these packages in every installation, though technically they are not required. These shipped packages enhance Sublime Text out of the box. They may have been contributed by users or third parties.
user packages
Packages installed by the user to extend Sublime Text’s functionaility. They are not part of any Sublime Text installation, and always are contributed by users or third parties.
installed packages
Any package that, if deleted, Sublime Text will be able to restore.

Let’s emphasize again that you don’t need to memorize this classification.

Also, it’s worth noting that by third party we mainly refer to users of other editors, such as Textmate.

Installation of Packages

There are two main ways to install packages:

  • .sublime-package files
  • version control systems

Ultimately, installing a package is simply a matter of copying a folder containing Sublime Text resources to :file:Packages. The only thing that changes from one system to another is how you copy these files.

Installation of .sublime-package Files

Copy the .sublime-package file to the Installed Packages folder and restart Sublime Text. If the Installed Packages folder doesn’t exist, you can create it.

Note that .sublime-package files simply are .zip archives with a custom file extension.

Installation of Packages from a Version Control System

Explaining how to use version control systems (VCSs) is outside the scope of this guide, but there are many user packages available free of charge on public repositories like Google Code, GitHub and Bitbucket.

Also, a Sublime Text organization at GitHub is open to contributors.

Packages and Magic

Sublime Text deals with packages quite simply, without much hidden magic. There are two notable exceptions: Macros defined in any package automatically appear under Tools | Macros | <Your Package>, and snippets from any package appear under Tools | Snippets | <Your Package>.

However, as mentioned at the beginning, Sublime Text follows some rules for packages. For instance, Package/User will never be clobbered during updates to the software.

Merging and Order of Precedence

Packages/Default and Packages/User also receive special treatment when merging files (e. g. .sublime-keymap and .sublime-settings files). Before merging can take place, the files have to be arranged in some order. To that end, Sublime Text sorts them alphabetically by name, with the exception of the folders Default and User. Files contained in Default will always go to the front of the list and, those in User, to the end.

Restoring Packages

Sublime Text keeps a copy of all installed packages so it can recreate them as needed. This means it can reinstall core packages, shipped packages and, potentially, user packages alike. However, only user packages installed as sublime-packages are added to its registry of installed packages. Packages installed in alternative ways will be lost completely if you delete them.

Reverting Sublime Text to Its Default Configuration

To revert Sublime Text to its default configuration, delete the data directory and restart the editor. Keep in mind, though, 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.

The Installed Packages Directory

You will find this folder in the data directory. It contains a copy of every sublime-package installed. It is used to restore Packages.

The Pristine Packages Directory

You will find this folder in the data directory. It contains a copy of every shipped and core package. It is used to restore Packages.