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A simple full-screen text editor


23rd June 2010 - Version 15-beta
JDarkRoom version 15-beta has been released - please give it a try.

23rd June 2010 - Website
JDarkRoom has now had over 200,000 hits and over 75,000 downloads.

JDarkRoom has now been downloaded by thousands of people. See some of our JDarkRoom sightings.

[ news archive ]

About JDarkRoom

JDarkRoom is a popular, simple full-screen text file editor with none of the usual bells and whistles that might distract you from the job in hand. If you are writing a speech, novel, essay, thesis or just need to be able to concentrate on your writing, then JDarkRoom may help you.

I have released JDarkRoom under the umbrella of CodeAlchemists. Please donate if you find this software useful - it encourages me to add features and fix bugs.

The development of JDarkRoom was heavily inspired by DarkRoom, an implementation of WriteRoom (which is a Mac-only application) for Windows, but DarkRoom requires the Microsoft .NET framework. I decided to create my own implementation in Java for those that prefer not to use .NET.


  • Change your colour preferences, font and font size - via the settings screen (F6)
  • JDarkRoom remembers the file that you were working on last time
  • Support for central-european character sets
  • JDarkRoom notifies you if you might have forgotten to save your changes
  • Word/line/character count (Ctrl-L)
  • Specify a file on the command-line for JDarkRoom to open it at startup
  • Text antialiasing (where possible)
  • Mouse-wheel scrolling
  • Adjustable margins to fit any screen resolution (F9 to reset)
  • Auto-save backups - so you never lose your work again
  • Text search (F7 / Ctrl-F)
  • A command-reminder strip can be displayed at the bottom of the screen
  • Export to HTML using Markdown
  • Goal feature - displays number of words required to reach a specific goal
  • Inherit indentation
  • Convert tabs to spaces
  • Insert timestamp feature - with configurable timestamp format
  • 'No Delete' mode
  • 'Typewriter scrolling' mode (experimental)
  • A choice of file encodings (default: UTF-8)



JDarkRoom is supported entirely by the adverts you see on the right and by donations. Please consider donating, even 5 €/$/£ helps.

Paypal handles the secure transaction (so we never see your financial details).

(paypal account not required)

Alternatively, we now accept Bitcoin donations:

Donate Bitcoins


To run JDarkRoom, you need to have Java 1.5 or greater installed (Java 6 is recommended). Mac OS X comes pre-loaded with Java so you don't need to worry.

JDarkRoom version 15-beta
Windows (installer)(283KB)
Mac (zipped application)(332KB)
Mac / Linux (JAR file)(216KB)

JDarkRoom version 14 User Guide
Download (PDF, 96KB)

Once the program has fully downloaded, you should be able to double-click on it and it should run straightaway. If you download the JAR version, an alternative is to open a command prompt, navigate to the directory where you downloaded the program, then type
java -jar JDarkRoom.jar
Mac users: You should be able to double-click the downloaded ZIP file, open the JDarkRoom directory, then drag JDarkRoom to your Applications folder, or to the Dock.

AsusTek Eee users: please see the tips section below.

Latest changes:
  • Goal feature - displays number of words required to reach a specific goal
  • Inherit indentation
  • Convert tabs to spaces
  • Insert timestamp feature - with configurable timestamp format
  • 'No Delete' mode
  • 'Typewriter scrolling' mode (experimental)
  • A choice of file encodings (default: UTF-8)
  • Many bug fixes and small tweaks
Feedback on version 15-beta is welcomed via our Google Group. Please report any bugs via our bug tracker.


  • AsusTek Eee users: Download the Linux version and follow the instructions below for Ubuntu Linux. JDarkRoom will work with Java 1.5, but you will need to specify
    as described below. ('suppress.native.look.and.feel=true' is not required)
  • Ubuntu Linux (or Xandros) users: JDarkRoom will work on Ubuntu/Xandros with Java 1.6. You will need to add the following line to your conf/jdarkroom.properties file (create one if it doesn't exist):
    If that doesn't work (and you're using Ubuntu Gutsy) try adding:
  • To override the default 'conf' directory location, set the JDARKROOM_CONF environment variable to (for example) ~/.jdarkroom and JDarkRoom will look for jdarkroom.properties in that directory instead of the default location
  • To switch between JDarkRoom and another program, use Alt-Tab (on Windows) or Command (Apple)-Tab (on an Apple Mac).
  • Another way to temporarily switch out of JDarkRoom is to try pressing Ctrl-K (may not work for all platforms).
  • To upgrade from an old version of JDarkRoom, just copy the new JDarkRoom file you downloaded over the old one.
  • Ctrl-backspace deletes the previous word
  • Press F9 to automatically recalculate font size and margins to something appropriate to your screen resolution
  • Any file specified on the command line will be opened at startup, e.g.
    java -jar JDarkRoom.jar /My JDarkRoom Files/writing.txt
    (as of version 12, they can contain spaces)
  • Backups (enabled by default) are auto-saved every 5 minutes. New files are saved to the directory shown on the settings screen and are called something like .jdarkroom-3765.tmp. Files that already have a filename are backed up in the same directory as the proper file, but are named .yourfilename.backup (for example). The filenames are prefixed with a dot so that they become 'hidden' on some platforms - to see them, you may need to type
    ls -a
  • To enable Emacs-style key bindings, you must shutdown JDarkRoom, add the following to your 'keymap.conf' file (in $HOME/.jdarkroom directory):
    Ctrl-F        = move cursor left
    Ctrl-B        = move cursor right
    Ctrl-N        = move cursor up
    Ctrl-P        = move cursor down
    Ctrl-A        = move cursor to beginning of line
    Ctrl-E        = move cursor to end of line
    .. then start up JDarkRoom.
  • To have JDarkRoom export your file to HTML format, you can use the 'export via Markdown' feature. In the Settings screen (F6), change the export converter to 'Markdown', then use Ctrl-F2 to export your file - give the exported file a name like 'myfile.html'. The syntax used is called 'Markdown' - learn more at http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/

If you have any more tips for using JDarkRoom, please email us.


If you have a question about JDarkRoom, or would like to discuss it with other users, please look at our Google Group.

If you find a bug with JDarkRoom, please report it via our bug tracker. It would help us greatly if you could attach debug information (JDarkRoom can automatically generate this for you via a button on the Settings screen (F6)) and a screenshot of the problem (again, automatically generated if you press Ctrl-F11).

JDarkRoom was written by Duncan Jauncey. To contact the author please email:

Old Versions

If, for some reason, you find a problem with the current version of JDarkRoom, please notify the author and try one of these older versions:

Copyright (c) 2006-2010 Duncan Jauncey.